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.
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