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The Budgerigar Parakeet

by Felipe Leon
The Budgerigar Parakeet

The Budgerigar or better known as the budgie parakeet is thought as an “entry-level” bird but despite of that, this social bird needs as much care and attention than its bigger parrot cousins.  They are known to have healthy appetites as well as being playful and talkative.  These characteristics make the budgie the most popular pet bird in the world but in the United States it is second to the cockatiel with 45% of pet birds in the country being a budgie.

In the past the species has been also known as the canary parrot, shell parrot, zebra parrot, warbling grass parakeet and undulated parakeet.

The smaller size budgie’s primarily colors are blue, green, white or yellow and they tend to live up to 10 years.  In the wild the budgie is a bit smaller than the pet birds sold in stores and are only found in the color of green.    

Originally from Australia, the budgie was not massively bred until they found their way to Europe and Australia banned their exportation in the late 19th century.  In the early 1900s the bird was brought to America with its popularity exploding mid-century.

The budgie’s diet is delicate and can develop fatty tumors, foot disorders and intestinal parasites.  They eat seeds, plants and bird pellets.  The diet must be varied and not seed only or they are prone to scaly face/leg mites which are scabs around the nare and eyes and legs.  If this develops the bird needs veterinarian care. 

Budgies are social birds and need constant companionship.  It is recommended for you to talk to your budgie every day and it is recommended to have more than one so they can thrive.  They tend to be quite intelligent and are known to actually know how to add up to the number three. 

The species is considered the best talking bird among the parrot species.  It can learn words, phrases and whistles.  Males are better than female in speech and sound but the females can learn a few words and whistles.  Interestingly the budgie does not know the meaning of the words or phrases it says but it is great at mimicking sounds in specific orders.

The gender of the bird can be determined at about six to eight months of age.  The flesh above the beak of the male is generally blue while the female is pink or brown. 

There is actually two types of budgies, the Australian and the English with the latter being a bit smaller.

by Felipe Leon

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