The budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulates), also referred to as a parakeet or more commonly a Budgie, is the most popular pet bird worldwide. This beautiful, small bird originates from the drier regions of Australia. Escaped Budgies are currently establishing themselves as an introduced population in Florida, USA. Their natural habitat is dry open plains, wood lots bordering waterways and sparsely wooded grasslands.
Budgies are generally very social, gentle and affectionate in nature. These loving companions interact well with most members of the family. Budgies are inquisitive, active, free spirits who enjoy flying, playing and chewing. Non-toxic pet-safe toys should be provided for your Budgie’s entertainment. Although their voice is not as clear as some of the larger parrots, Budgies have the capacity to develop extensive vocabularies. Talking or mimicking requires some effort and training. Males seem to talk better than females although both are capable. One endearing trait of a Budgie is its cheerful whistling and chatter. Budgies can be finger trained and some even enjoy head scratches and petting.
Purchasing a Budgie
Budgies may be purchased from a pet store or a reputable breeder. When selecting a Budgie, try to choose a young bird, as it may be easier to tame and train. Older, wild, colony or parent raised birds may prove difficult to tame. Hand raised babies often make better pets since they have been completely socialized with humans. Young birds are easier to tame and adapt readily to new environments and situations. Your new bird should be exposed early to different events (young and old people, males and females, other pets, car trips, visits to the veterinarian, etc.) to help promote a calm, well-adjusted pet. The lively, alert bird that is not easily frightened is more likely a healthy bird. After purchasing your new bird, have it examined by a veterinarian familiar with birds.
Budgies require regular, routine veterinary health check-ups. Your veterinarian can perform a physical examination, grooming (beak, nail or feather trim) and laboratory tests as needed. During these semi-annual check-ups, health, nutritional and maintenance issues can be identified and addressed. Veterinary check-ups help prevent disease and will aid in the maintenance of a long lasting, healthy relationship between you and your bird.
The wild bird is basically green with yellow on the face. Black and yellow barring is found on the wings and head, black spots across the throat.
Domestic varieties show infinite combinations and shades of green, yellow, blue, mauve, slate and white.
Eye (iris) is white
Legs gray/blue with a reptilian pattern
Duller color, black barring on forehead, throat spots may be absent
Iris dark gray
Feathering between sexes is similar
The male’s cere (featherless area around the nostrils) is rich blue in color
The female’s cere is pale blue, pinky blue or brown and sometimes crusty in the breeding female
Cere color may not identify the sexes 100% and may vary with domestic color variations
Difficult to sex
Weight Average 1.0 – 1.2 ounces (30 – 35 grams), large varieties 1.2 – 1.6 ounces (35 – 45 grams)
Size Average 7 – 7.5 inches (18 – 19 cm) in length
Life-span 6 – 10 years (maximum 18 years)
Diet Consult your veterinarian.
Breeding Sexual maturity 6 months old
Gregarious birds that breed best if several pairs are kept within sight and sound of each other
Naturally breeding in the spring but most will easily breed any time of year
Brood Size 3 – 6 white eggs will hatch in 18 days on average, young leave the nest in 4 -5 weeks