Classification Order Psittaciformes, Family Psittacidae Scientific Name Melopsittacus Undulatus Other Common Names N/A
Species Description Budgerigars in their natural-habitats of
Australia average 18 cm (7 in) long, weigh 30-40 grams, and display
a light green body color (abdomen and rumps), while their mantle
(back and wing coverts) display pitch-black mantle markings
(blackish in fledgelings and immatures) edged in clear yellow
undulations. The forehead and face is yellow in adults but with
blackish stripes down to the cere in young individuals until they
change into their adult plumage around 3-4 months of age. They
display small purple patches (called cheek patches) and a series of
3 black spots across each sides of their throats (called
throat-spots) of which the 2 outermost throat-spots are situated at
the base of each cheek-patches. The tail is cobalt (dark-blue);
outside tail feathers display central yellow flashes. Their wings
have greenish-black flight feathers and black coverts with yellow
fringes along with central yellow flashes which only becomes visible
in flight and/or when the wings are stretched. Bills are olive grey
and legs blueish-grey, with zygodactyl toes.
in their natural-habitats of Australia are noticeably smaller than
those in captivity. This particular parrot species has been bred in
many other colors and shades in captivity (i.e. blue, grey,
greygreen, pieds, violet, white, yellow...) although they are mostly
found in pet stores in blue, green and yellow. Budgerigar plumage is
known to fluoresce under ultraviolet light (as most other parrot
species do as well), a phenomenon possibly related to courtship and
The color of the cere (the area
containing the nostrils) differs between the sexes; royal blue in
males, pale-brown to white (non-breeding) or brown (breeding) in
females and pink in immatures of both sexes (usually of a more even
purplish-pink colour in young males). Some female budgerigars
develop brown cere only during breeding time and later disappears.
Young females can often be identified by a subtle chalky whiteness
that starts around the cere nostril holes. Males that are either
Albino, Dark-Eyed-Clear, Lutino and/or recessive pied (aka
Danishpied aka Harlequin) always retain the immature purplish-pink
cere colour their entire life.
It is usually easy to tell
the sex of a Budgie over 6 months old, mainly by the cere colors but
behaviors and head shape also help indicate Budgie's genders.
Mature males' ceres are usually light to dark blue but can be
purplish to pink in some particular color mutations (DarkEyedClears,
Danishpieds aka Recessivepieds and Inos) and usually display much
rounder heads. Males are typically cheerful, extroverted, highly
flirtatious, most peacefully social and very vocal. Females' ceres
are pinkish as immatures and switch from being beigish or whitish
outside breeding condition into brown (often with a 'crusty'
texture) in breeding condition and usually display flattened back of
heads (right above the nape region). Females are typically highly
dominant and more socially intolerant.
Habitat The birds are normally found in small flocks,
but can form very large flocks under favourable conditions. The
species is extremely nomadic and the movement of the flocks is tied
to the availability of food and water.
Distribution Budgerigars are nomadic birds found in open
habitats, primarily in Australian scrubland, open woodland and
Captivity The budgerigar is one of the few parrots to be
domesticated as a pet. Believed to be the most common pet parrot in
the world, it has been bred in captivity since the 1850s. Breeders
have worked over the decades to produce a wide range of colour and
feather mutations, such as yellow, blue, white, violet, olive,
albino and lutino (yellow), clearwing and spangled. Feather
mutations can produce crests or overly long shaggy feathers known as
Modern show budgerigars, also called English budgerigars, are larger
than their wild cousins, with puffy head feathers, giving them an
exaggerated look. The eyes and beak can be almost totally obscured
by feathers. Such birds are reported to be more prone to genetic
mutations because of inbreeding. Most budgerigars in the pet trade
are not of the show variety and are similar in size and body
conformation to wild budgerigars.
Budgerigars can be taught to speak, whistle tunes, and play with
humans. They are intelligent and social animals and enjoy the
stimulation of toys and interaction with humans as well as with
other budgerigars. A common behaviour is the chewing of material
such as wood, especially for female budgerigars.
In captivity, budgerigars live an average of five to eight years,
but are reported to occasionally live to 15 if well cared for. The
life span depends on the budgerigar's breed (show budgerigars
typically do not live as long as the common budgerigars) and the
individual bird's health, which is influenced by exercise and diet.
Summary It is widely acknowledged as the most common
pet parrot in the world and possibly the most common cage bird. The
budgerigar has been bred in captivity since the 1850s. Breeders have
worked over the decades to produce a wide range of color, pattern
and feather mutations, such as albino, blue, cinnamon-ino (aka
lacedwings), clearwinged, crested, dark, greywinged, opaline, pieds,
spangled, suffused, and violet.
English or "show") budgerigars are about twice larger than their
wild-type (natural form and sized) counterparts. Their overall
larger sizes and puffy head feathers give them boldly exaggerated
looks. The eyes and beak can be almost totally obscured by their
fluffed head's and forehead's feathers. Most captive budgerigars in
the pet trade are similar in size and body conformation to wild
occurring budgerigars and thus aptly called wild-type budgerigars.
Budgerigars are intelligent and social animals and enjoy the
stimulation of toys and interaction with humans as well as with
other budgerigars. A common behavior is the chewing of material such
as wood, especially for female budgerigars. Tame budgerigars can be
taught to speak, whistle tunes, and play with humans. Both males and
females sing and can learn to mimic sounds and words and do simple
tricks. Both singing and mimicry are more pronounced and much more
perfected in males. As a whole, females rarely if ever learn to
mimic more than a dozen words or so. Males can very easily acquire
vocabularies ranging between a few dozen to a hundred words.
Generally speaking, it is mostly pet budgerigars (and even more so
lone pets) and thus, receiving the most attention which talk the
best and the most.
In captivity, budgerigars live an
average of five to eight years, but are reported to occasionally
live to 15-20 if well cared for. The life span depends on each
particular budgerigar's breed (show budgerigars typically do not
live as long as wild-type budgerigars), lineage and overall health,
which is highly influenced by exercise and diet.
Budgerigars (as do most other parrot species) and most particularly
females love to chew on anything they can find in their cages and
environments. This comes from the females' instinct in adapting by
gnawing the all around interior of existing wild bird's nests.
Mineral-blocks (ideally enriched with iodine) and cuttlebone and
soft wooden pieces must be provided to help them satisfy their
desire to chew and keep their beaks trimmed.
often comment on the differences in personality in each individual
bird. Budgerigars each have their own unique ideas about how much
they like to be handled, which toys are their favorites, and even
what music they like or are indifferent to.
have been shown to cause "bird fancier's lung" in sensitive people,
a type of hypersensitivity pneumonitis. This is primarily an issue
with people keeping large numbers of budgerigars within a bird room.