The budgerigar, also known as a parakeet or budgie, originate from the grasslands and of central and southern Australia. They're related to other parrots, but stay much smaller, typically around eight inches in length from beak to tail. Their average lifespan is between five and nine years, but in captivity they may live even longer.
Budgies are jovial little birds that love to play and explore their surroundings. While they look forward to time spent with their human companions, they can be quite independent making them perfect for novice bird owners. Those that wish to form an especially strong bond with their pet budgie should resist the temptation to add other birds to the home, as budgies can sometimes be less enthusiastic about people in a flock environment.
In the wild, Budgies are striped green and yellow, with dark green flight feathers that appear almost black. Captive breeding programs, however, have produced budgies in just about every color of the rainbow, with more appearing every day. Budgies are known as dimorphic, meaning that the sex of the bird can be determined by the bird's coloration. Male budgies develop bluish-purple ceres in maturity, while adult females have ceres that are tan or brown.
While many commercial budgie diets consist of only seeds, they alone do not provide adequate nutrition for pet birds. Most veterinarians recommend that budgies are placed on a diet of a variety of vegetables. They should also be fed a formulated pelleted diet as they contain important vitamins and nutrients and can be fortified with additional supplements. Budgies should also be offered a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, including leafy greens, root vegetables, and grains. They tolerate seed more readily than other species but seed should not be fed as their only source of food. An all seed diet can be dangerous and even fatal. Chop is easily made and frozen and can be helpful in keeping these charming and lovely birds healthy.
Budgies are active little birds and need exercise every day to keep themselves in top shape. Captive budgies, particularly those that live in small cages, should be allowed out for at least a couple of hours daily in a secure area so they can explore and stretch their wings. Invest in a cage that is longer than it is wide. This allows your budgie to flit from perch to perch and get plenty of exercise inside of the enclosure as well as the freedom to spend time with you in your home.
Budgies as Pets
Budgies are such wonderful birds that it seems every bird enthusiast has owned at least one. Bred in captivity since the middle 1800's, they remain popular and common as pets around the world today.
Because of their small size, they are fairly easy to keep and care for. This makes them a wonderful option for those that prefer a smaller species or those that lack the time required to maintain a larger bird. They are a tad easier to clean up after as they are a smaller species. They are relatively less expensive to feed due to their size and appetite and they can easily be kept in a small condo or apartment. While the smaller species seem to be easier to care for, they have a tendency to require extensive vacuuming as they do indeed toss food around like they were seeding a lawn.
In spite of their small size, budgies are big on brains and personality. Many have been taught to whistle tunes and talk, and are just as intelligent as some larger bird species. With proper training and socialization, they can be a delightful addition to most any family. Do not discount their value as a species because of their size. They are every bit a parrot as a hyacinth macaw and make wonderful companions. They are full of personality, loaded with playfulness and can bond with you like no other if you spend the time to get to know them.