While it's true that budgies are parakeets, they are only one of the hundreds of bird varieties that can be classified as such, not all parrots are parakeets. The parrot/parakeet debate is confusing to even seasoned aviculturists and is one that many bird experts disagree on.
In general, birds that can be called parakeets are those hookbills that exhibit a long tail and are generally smaller than the large types of parrots, such as Macaws, Amazons, and Cockatoos. Parakeets are typically highly intelligent and easy to train, and most are excellent talkers -- some are even more proficient at mimicking human speech than the larger parrot species.
There are a few different groups that certain types of parakeets can be divided into. One of these groups is known as the Asiatic Parakeets, which contains birds such as the Indian Ringneck Parakeet, the Moustache Parakeet, the Alexandrine Parakeet, and the Plum-Headed Parakeet. These birds all originate near India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and other nearby lands. They are all related species, classified as Psittacula, and all exhibit similar traits in body build.
Another group of parakeets is referred to as the Grass Parakeets. These birds originate from areas in and around Australia and include species such as the Bourke's Parakeets, the Scarlet Chested or Splendid Parakeets, and the Rosellas. Member of the Grass Parakeet group also shares similar body structures and traits, as the Asiatic Parakeets do.
There are many, many different types of parakeets that do not fit into either of these categories, however. Examples of these include the Lineolated Parakeet and the Red Rump Parakeet. Some bird experts even like to classify Conures as Parakeets, although this is a highly disputed point among aviculturists.
Common Parakeet Traits
One thing that parakeets of all varieties have in common is their high intelligence and extremely social nature. In fact, their propensity for interaction is what makes them a great choice for people who want a pet birds. Parakeets tend to bond very strongly to their owners when hand fed as babies and handled often to stay tame. They can be extremely loving and affectionate, preferring to spend the majority of their time with their human flock mates.
Adopting a Parakeet
If you are thinking about adopting any type of parakeet, it's important to make sure that you have ample time to handle and socialize with your bird every day. Leaving any parakeet to its own devices can result in boredom and depression, which can manifest as health and behavioral problems. If you can make a commitment to properly caring for one of these birds, however, you'll be rewarded with a devoted lifelong companion that will bring you many years of joy and friendship.
To learn more about keeping pet parakeets, contact your local aviculture society and speak with some breeders and seasoned bird owners about the types that you are interested in. These experts will be able to guide you toward the species that would be the best fit for your lifestyle.