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Information About the Budgie Bird with Pictures

Smita Pandit
Native to the dry or arid regions of Australia, budgerigars, which are commonly called budgies, are colorful birds. Besides their pleasing appearance, their intelligence is another reason behind their popularity as a pet bird. This story presents interesting facts about the budgie bird along with pictures.

Did You Know?

Owned by an American named Camille Jordan, a budgerigar called Puck made its way into the 1995 edition of the Guinness World Records, holding the record for 1,728 words, the largest vocabulary of any bird in the world. Puck died in 1994.
Endemic to Australia, budgerigars belong to the Melopsittacus genus. Their scientific name is Melopsittacus undulatus. An English zoologist and botanist named George Shaw first described this bird in 1805. John Gould, an English ornithologist, brought the first budgerigar to Europe in 1840. These pretty birds have been kept as pets since 1850s.
John Gould also coined the scientific name of budgies. The Greek term Melopsittacus means melodious parrot, whereas the Latin term Undulatus refers to the wavelike pattern.
In their natural habitat, budgies are green and yellow in color, with some black markings. The wild ones are smaller than the ones that are bred for animal shows.
Known to have been bred in captivity since the 1850s, budgerigars now come in a wide range of vivid colors and different patterns on the nape, back, and the wings. All these variations in the color and markings are a result of genetic mutations.
Though the average lifespan of pet budgies is 7 to 9 years, they have been known to live up to 15 years. They make excellent pets due to their bright plumage, intelligence, and sociable nature. Moreover, they can even be taught to speak, mimic, or whistle.


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Superfamily: Psittacoidea
Family: Psittaculidae
Subfamily: Loriinae
Tribe: Melopsittacini
Genus: Melopsittacus
Species: M. undulatus

Physical Characteristics

Length: 18 cm
Average Weigh: 30-40 g
Wingspan: 10-14 inches
Markings: Yellow undulations and black markings, black spots on both sides of the throat

Breeding and Lifespan

Gestation Period: 18-21 days
Age of Sexual Maturity: 3-4 months
Clutch Size: 4-6 eggs
Lifespan: 10-15 years


The natural habitat of wild budgerigars includes open woodlands, grasslands, and Australian scrubland. In the wild, budgies are nomadic by nature, and fly several hundreds of kilometers in search of food and water.
As these birds are quite active, playful, and curious by nature, their cage should be large enough for them to fly or hop around. It should be fitted with several perches. These birds should be kept entertained by providing them with the right kind of toys.


In their natural habitat, budgerigars feed on wild millet, spinifex grass, mitchell grass, wild oats, canary grass, and tussock grass. In the wild, they chew on the bark, fruits, buds, or leaves of several trees. Though budgerigars feed on insects in the wild, they are primarily vegetarians.
In case of domesticated budgies, the owners should ensure that the bird is getting a balanced diet, which includes fresh fruits and vegetables/dehydrated fruits, whole grain bread, millet, pasta, seeds, or pellets that are specially meant for small parrots. Refrain from feeding them chocolates and avocados, as these are considered to be potential toxins.

Facts about the Budgie Bird

✦ The mantle, which refers to the back and the wings of the budgie, is characterized by yellow and black wave-like markings.
The color of the face is yellow, and small patches are found on their cheeks. Also, black spots lie on either side of their throat.
✦ Until they get their adult plumage, immature budgerigars have black-colored stripes that extend from their foreheads to their noses.

✦ A budgie's tail is dark blue or cobalt in color. However, while stretching or taking flight, the yellow color of the outside tail feathers becomes visible.
✦ Budgerigars display sexual dimorphism, which means that the males and females can vary in terms of physical characteristics or other attributes. For instance, the color of the ceres, which is the area above the beak that contains the nostrils, can help differentiate a male budgerigar from a female.
The ceres of an adult male is royal blue in color. The ceres of an adult female is pale brown or white (when not breeding), and brown while breeding.
✦ The wild budgerigars nest in hollow tree trunks or cavities. These are social in nature, and they might nest in colonies. Thus, several budgies might lay eggs and care for their chicks in different cavities in the same tree.
✦ Their calls include warbling chirrups, whistles, and screams. They give off a loud chattering or screeching sound when alarmed. In captivity, they can be taught to whistle or mimic.
✦ It must be noted that English budgies and American budgies belong to the same genus and species. These are just terms used in the pet industry. English budgies are show birds that are bred for exhibitions or shows.
They have a bigger head and chest, along with other markings that have appeared as a result of crossbreeding in the captive population. American budgies are the ones that can be seen at the pet stores.
✦ English budgies are 22 - 24 cm long, in comparison to the wild budgies that are about 18 cm long. Budgies that are sold as pets are almost the same size as that of wild budgerigars.
✦ Budgies are known by several names. In the United States, these are referred to as parakeets. These are also called warbling grass parakeets or shell parakeets. However, the term 'parakeet' includes all small and slender, long-tailed parrots.
✦ There are several varieties that have markings that are not black. The terms used for the ones with the brown marking are cinnamon, fallow, lacewing, and brownwing.
✦ At times, the markings might be pale or absent. The terms used for such varieties include graywing, dilute, faded, and clearwing.
✦ Immature budgies, whether male or female, have a pink-colored ceres, but young males could be identified by the purplish-pink ceres.
✦ Whether young or old, albino or lutino males have a purplish-pink ceres.
✦ Budgerigars have tetrachromatic color vision, which implies that they possess four types of cone cells in the eye.
✦ The plumage of these birds exhibits fluorescence under ultraviolet light, which is believed to be a mechanism for attracting a sexual partner.

✦ In the wild, budgies breed when there is availability of food and water. These birds are monogamous, and express their affection by feeding and preening each other.
✦ When the female is ready to lay eggs, the color of the cere becomes brown. The female lays an egg every two days. The color of the eggs is white. The length of the eggs is between 1 and 2 cm.
✦ After laying 2-3 eggs, she incubates each egg for a period of 19 days.
✦ While the female is incubating the eggs, the male takes on the task of feeding her.
✦ The eggs begin to hatch after 18-20 days. It is usually after the tenth day that the chicks open their eyes. Till this time, they are completely dependent on their mother.

✦ After three weeks, the chicks begin to develop feathers.
✦ Once the chicks develop feathers, the father might help in caring for the little ones.
✦ After the fifth week, the chicks are capable of taking care of themselves, and the parents can leave the nest. They try to fly by stretching their wings.

✦ It must be noted that the female budgerigars seldom learn to mimic. If paid a lot of attention, male budgies can learn several words.
✦ It must be noted that the heart of a budgie beats seven times faster than that of humans. The resting heart rate (number of heartbeats per minute while resting) is around 274.
✦ Budgie birds have zygodactyl feet, which means that two toes (second and third) are pointing forward, and the other two (first and fourth) toes are pointing backward. This allows them to perch and climb easily.
✦ The upper portion of their beak is larger than the lower portion. In fact, it gets completely covered when a budgie closes its beak.
✦ Active as they are, these birds are known to stretch. They also preen themselves to stay clean.
✦ As their beaks continue to grow, they are always chewing on things. It is for this reason that their owners are asked to keep a cuttlebone in their cage.

✦While sleeping, budgies trap warm air by fluffing up their feathers.
✦ Budgies can live with zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Other birds that can be kept with budgerigars include double-barred finch (Stizoptera bichenovii), nutmeg mannikin (Lonchura punctulata), java sparrow (Padda oryzivora), cordon-bleus (Uraeginthus spec.), and white-backed munia (Lonchura striata).
With proper training, budgies can prove to be excellent pets. If you are planning to bring one home, make sure that you learn all about caring for the budgie bird. Make sure that you place the bird in a large-sized cage or aviary. Provide your pet with the right type of food.
Also, spend time with your bird. Provide it with toys to keep it busy. It must be noted that budgies can have different personality traits. Some might be easier to tame than others. Also, remember that young budgies are easier to tame. So, bring a young budgie home.