Pair of Green and Yellow Budgerigars preening each other and kissing on tree branch

BUDGERIGAR

Scientific Name: Melopsittacus undulatus

Other Common Names:  Budgie, Common parakeet or Shell parakeet

Native Country: Australia

Habitat:  Scrublands, Woodlands, and Grasslands

Height (Head to Tail): 17-20cm, Small Size

Lifespan: 5 – 8 years in captivity

Weight: 30 – 40 grams

Flock of Budgerigars Breeding with wooden rectangular nest boxes

BudgerigarAppearance:

Budgerigars have two base colors – white (recessive) and yellow (dominant). White based birds are usually mixed with shades of sky-blue, grey, cobalt, mauve and violet whereas the yellow based birds are mixed with shades of green, olive and yellow.

Another distinguishing feature is the small blue patch on their cheeks as well as black markings on their mantle (wings and back).

Budgerigar – Diet:

70% High Quality Seed Mix – Seed mix should have french white millet, hulled oats, pannicum, Japanese millet as well as fortified omega fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Budgies only eat the contents inside the seed and discard the husk. Most seed mixes already contain grit e.g. oyster shell grit, as it aids with digestion. It is optional to offer grit but should only be offered in small amounts.

Popular brands specializing in budgie diets include ZuPreem, Passwell, Dr Harvey’s or Vetafarm.

20% Fresh Fruit and Vegetables – Chopped apple, carrot, beans, bananas, melons, berries, papaya, peas, corn, broccoli and spinach.

10% Nuts or Millet Spray – Almonds, pistachios, peanuts, walnuts or pecans

Dr Harveys Parakeet Budgie Food SeedsDr. Harvey’s Parakeet Blend, All Natural Daily Food
ZuPreem Natural with added vitamins mineral amino acids essential nutritionZuPreem Natural Bird Food for Small Birds (Pack of 2)
higgins vita seed for budgiesHiggins Vita Seed Parakeet Food

Budgerigar – Essentials:

When bringing your little birdie home for the first time, you will need to ensure you have the basics sorted beforehand.

  • Bird Cage – at least 45cm x 45cm x 60cm (W x L x H) – plenty of room for toys and exercise; best to line the cage with newspaper to easily clean their droppings/mess.
  • Cage Cover – any cloth that covers 90% of the cage so the bird can sleep in darkness e.g. blanket
  • Perch – at least two perches, preferably native Australian branches of gum, grevillea, bottle brush, lilly pilly or eucalyptus. Perches provide a form of enrichment and allow the budgie to forage.
  • Toys – 1 or 2 toys to begin with for mental stimulation/entertainment; highly recommend rattling or ringing toys e.g. bells, colorful beads, ladders
  • Bowls – 3x bowls (one for seeds, one for fresh fruit/vegetables and the other for water); your bird might use the water bowl to bath too, that’s completely fine!
Yellow-green and yellow-blue budgerigar pair eating seeds out of human owners hands
Image: Pair of Budgerigars eating seeds

Still not sure? Click here to download our 100% FREE bird care checklist here.

Budgerigar – Behavior:

  • Socialization: Budgie’s are highly affectionate and playful birds. They are regularly seen preening other flock members, so it’s best to keep them as pets as a group of 2 or more. They require very little maintenance and perfect for beginner pets.

  • Vocalization: Not too loud however chatterbox birds that chirp and click. With the right amount of patience, budgies can be taught to talk, whistle and perform tricks.

Budgerigar – Breeding:

Budgies reach sexual maturity at approx. 5 months of age but should ideally start breeding at 10 months. You can easily distinguish a budgies gender due to their dimorphic nature – males have a blue or pink cere whereas females are brown/tan. Young budgies all have pink cere so the dimorphic color variation is only evident after 8 months of age.

** Cere – nostril looking area above the beak

Pregnant yellow-green Budgerigar with white mate sitting on top of cylindrical nest box
Image: Pregnant yellow-green budgerigar

Other requirements for breeding are mentioned below:

  • Requirements:
    • Rectangle shaped Nest box made from pine or chipboard (min. dimensions 13x14x21cm – HxWxL)
    • Nest box filling – non-toxic wood shavings, coarse saw dust
    • Ensure a well rounded healthy diet of pellet mix, fruit and vegetables
  • Mating Partner: monogamous – one partner for life
  • Breeding Season: June to September (in Australia: winter – early Spring)
  • Clutch Frequency: 2 – 3 clutches per year
  • Clutch Quantity: 6 – 8 eggs per clutch
  • Incubation Period: 18 – 21 days
  • Weaning: Fully weaned at 30 days

Budgerigar – Health:

Common IssueSymptoms Causes
Psittacosis Appetite loss, fluffed feathers, vomiting, nasal/ocular discharge, diarrhea or pale green feces, breathing difficulties, conjunctivitis, minimal physical movement, tremorsBacteria: Chlamydia psittaci contracted via infected dried saliva, feathers, mucous and feces
Feather PluckingForm of self mutilation by plucking their own feathers, leaving bald patches of skinBoredom, lack of mental stimulation, poor diet, illness, stress
Psittacine Beak & Feather DiseaseSharp, clubbed or abnormally short feathers, pigment loss in colored feathers, bloody feather shafts Beak & Feather Disease Virus (BFDV) contracted from other infected birds e.g. oral – parent feeding young or ingestion of virus particles in dust feces
AspergillosisWeight loss, lethargy, constantly fluffed feathers, difficulty breathing, cloudy eyes, droopy wingsAspergillus fungus: exposure to spores found in dust, mold, soil – mainly affects malnourished or immunocompromised birds
MalnutritionNasal discharge, sneezing, wheezing conjunctivitis, poor feather quality, weakness, egg binding, embryonic death Vitamin A or Calcium deficiency
WormsDiarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, malnutrition or blood in fecesAscaris roundworm or flatworms – eggs passed in droppings

Did You Know?

1. A budgie by the name of “Puck” was taught to learn 1,728 words – the most words spoken by any parrot that he made it to the Guinness Word Records!

2. Male budgies can produce a song called a warble – melodic vocalization sung over a few minutes for females during mating/courtship

3. Budgie plumage is fluorescent under ultra-violet light – suspected for mate attraction and courting


Sub-Species Gallery: