Common names

Budgerigar, Budgie, Parakeet

Scientific name

Melopsittacus undulatus

Origin 

Budgerigar’s actually originated in Australia over 5 million years ago and are found throughout the mainland (exception of East Coast, north of the Northern Territory, Tasmania and far south west). Flocks, which can range from 3  to the tens of thousands (huge difference… yes), usually reside in mangroves and grassy plains.  They are never located far from a water source. 

Picture

Photo Credit: PuppiesAreProzac via Compfight cc
To distinguish between a male and female, you need to analyse the colour of the cere (the area containing the nostrils). Before reaching maturity (at six months), a budgies’ cere is pink in colour which makes it difficult to figure out whether they are male or female. Some breeders claim that if the cere is more of a purple pink tinge, then it is highly likely that the bird is male. Furthermore, if there is a subtle, chalky whiteness around the nostrils then the budgie is possibly female. Other ways to distinguish the sexes is by analysing their behaviour (boy budgies are generally more boisterous and lively) and their head shape. When budgies have reached maturity their cere’s become either royal blue (male) or pale brown to white or brown (female). 

Temperament

Budgies are easy to handle, active and very social. These birds are really interested in their surrounding environment and are keen explorers. Although they love the company of humans, they are perfectly fine being left to their own devices. If you want to form strong ties with your budgie, it is preferable not to acquire more than one. If you have a few budgerigars they are less likely to interact with humans and more with each other. 

Exercise

It is imperative to exercise your parakeet daily in order to keep them healthy. If you have a budgie that is in a cage, we suggest letting them fly around the room under careful supervision for a couple of hours a day. This allows them to stretch out and flex their wings. 

Training

Budgies are very intelligent and can be easily trained to talk.  When you first acquire your budgie, simply speak to him/her in a warm and comforting voice to gain his/her confidence. After your budgie is used to your presence, start regularly expressing a word or phrase over and over again to him/her. In a few days or months, your budgie should start saying the word or phrase back to you. Cute eh? 

Feeding

The commercial budgie food available at the supermarket is usually comprised of just seeds which is not enough for a growing pet budgie! We recommend to regularly feed your budgie fresh fruit and vegetables such as leafy greens, pears and apples.  It is also advisable to feed them cuttle fish as it is is a good source of calcium and a perfect treat to nibble on from time to time. Simply clip the cuttlefish to the side of your budgies cage (powdery side facing up) for easy access. 

Budgies need regular fresh water (especially in the Summer). Depending on where your budgie is located, such as an outdoors aviary or in the house, it is extremely important to keep an eye on their water tray so they do not get dehydrated! 

Cost

The positive aspect about budgies is that they are not expensive in comparison to other popular birds (Cuckatoo’s or McCaws). You could buy one from your local pet shop for $25.

Are budgies an ideal pet for you?

Budgerigars are perfect for first time pet owners of any age group, especially for families with small children. They are relatively low maintenance birds and their upkeep is not a financial burden.  Since they are quite petite, they can be housed in any dwelling i.e. apartments, houses, caravans. Their light hearted and clever personality will definitely be a hit in any household!