Budgerigar Facts

It's easy to fall in love with a budgerigar. For one thing, the moment when it first makes the leap from its perch to your finger is magical. It's proof that your bird has bonded with you and has come to trust you. 

Later, when your precious budgie begins to repeat the words and phrases that you've been reciting to it, the experience can be funny and touching at the same time. Now, not every budgie will speak, but those that do are often stunningly good at it. They can have relatively big vocabularies and are able to pronounce words clearly. 

In addition, the similarities between budgies and human beings are startling. Those beautiful creatures enjoy singing, stretching, scratching, snacking, and napping, and they can chatter away when they're around people and fellow birds. Indeed, they really draw energy from other budgies just as we might become enthusiastic when we're around our friends. What's more, if you usually spend quite a while in front of the mirror before heading out, you'll appreciate how your budgerigar can groom itself for long periods of time. 

On top of that, if you own a couple of budgerigars, you'll understand why scientists describe this animal as monogamous. Yes, those two will be inseparable, and they'll often straighten and clean one another's feathers with tenderness. 

Children tend to adore budgerigars. Youngsters identify with their friskiness and talkativeness. Plus, when a budgie accepts a morsel from a child's hand, he or she might burst out in laughter and feel a surge of pride. 

In short, budgies ― which can see colors, count as high as three, and possess as many as 3,000 feathers ― are astounding. If you're intrigued by what you've read so far, you're sure to find the following budgie facts to be equally compelling.

Genus: Melopsittacus

Species: Melopsittacus undulatus

Native Country: Australia

Alternate Names: Budgie, parakeet, canary parrot, lovebird, shell parakeet, grass parakeet and scallop parrot

Height: Approximately 7 inches

Weight: 1 ounce to 1.4 ounces

Wingspan: 10-14 inches

Common Coloring: Light-green feathers, yellow face, blue-gray legs and black striping

Color Variations and Mutations: Violet, albino, blue, gray-green, clearwing, gray-winged, spangled and opaline

Distinctive Features: Fluorescent pigmentation in feathers, scalloped patterns on bodies, two forward-facing toes, two backward-facing toes and spotted throats

Special Traits: The ability to see ultraviolet colors, remarkably strong beaks and the ability to twist their heads 180 degrees 

Characteristics of Domestic and Show Budgerigars: Can be twice as big as wild budgies, have more interesting color variations and may have larger heads with crests and puffier feathers

Gender Differences: The blue upper beak of the males and the brown one of the females

First Description on Record: Made by botanist George Shaw in 1805

First in Captivity: During the 1850s

Conservation Status Ranking: Least concern

Main Enemies: Birds of prey, snakes and hunters

Average Lifespan: 5-10 years

Migration Pattern: Nomadic

Flight Preference: Typically in large flocks

Habitat: Grasslands, woodlands and hot, arid and dry areas across the continent of Australia

Foraging Habits: Migratory flights across the plains and long-distant searches for food

Nesting Behaviors: Several couples bringing up chicks in colonies and chewing holes in trees rather than making nests for egg laying

Nesting Preferences: Eucalyptus trees

Domestic Nesting Preferences: A wooden box

Social Behaviors: Require stimulation, are highly sociable, curious and playful, and love to be near other budgies in the wild and in domestic situations

Diet in the Wild: Grass seeds, wheat, wild millet and insects

Diet in Captivity: Grains such as flax, couscous, oats, barley, millet and wild rice, vegetables and occasionally nuts and legumes

Mating: Usually monogamous, showing affection by feeding and preening each other

Breeding: Will breed in the wild where there is easy access to food and water, often after long rain periods 

Incubation: Done by the female for approximately three weeks

Laying Eggs: Typically five or six eggs in a batch coming at different intervals

Hatched Eggs: Babies born blind and need food, care and warmth from mother 

Fledgling Development: Open eyes around 10 days, develop actual feathers around three weeks, become more independent and active around five weeks and can leave the nest by six weeks 

Intelligence: Highly intelligent, can learn tricks and can whistle and mimic words and phrases 

Communication with Other Birds: Speak to each other by using a wide range of loud warbles

Healthy Behaviors: Shredding or chewing things to file down teeth, preening and fluffing the feathers, grinding their beaks, stretching, yawning throughout the day and being very active

Common Ailments: Molting, scaly legs or face, tumors, respiratory and digestive symptoms related to parrot fever, goiter, infection or inflammation of the foot and polyomavirus, which is a disease that affects new chicks

Unique Features of the Females: Occasionally will eat her eggs, can lay unfertilized eggs that never hatch, will fight with other females in close quarters and rarely leaves during the incubation period 

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