The word "budgie" is short for budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus), a type of wee parrot that comes from Australia. These well-known pet birds are also frequently referred to simply as parakeets. Budgies are fixtures in households all over the world for an array of reasons, including their vivid coloration and vibrant temperaments.
Budgies are markedly smaller than other species of parrots, and usually only grow to between 7 and 8 inches long. They also generally weigh not much more than an ounce. Although captive budgies exist in many colors, their freely roaming counterparts are, for the most part, yellow and green. The genders of these delicate and slight parrots are simple to tell apart, as the girls possess tan or light brown "ceres," while the boys have blue ones. The ceres are the segments of skin on the top portions of the beaks.
Out in the wild, budgies are serious seed eaters, extracting them mostly from agricultural crops and grass. As pets, budgies generally consume seed blends that cater specifically to their species. Aside from seeds, these parrots also feed on small pellets and fresh produce. Some of the fresh fruits and veggies that are suitable for budgies include cut-up apples, broccoli and carrots. Always consult an avian veterinarian regarding any foods you plan on bringing into your budgie's diet, whether veggies, seeds or anything else.
Budgies that live out in nature tend to gravitate to dry settings. They're common fixtures on agricultural sites and in scrublands and grasslands. In captivity, they require cages that are a minimum of 30 inches in width and height. Ample and diverse safe toys are a must -- think mirrors, rattlers and swings. Before adding any new toys to your pet's cage, consult with a veterinarian. Toys that contain tiny parts may present a choking hazard to your budgie. Inside the cage, numerous branches and perches are both also "must haves." Play gyms are essential for ensuring that budgies receive sufficient daily exercise.
To keep budgies in optimal health, veterinary appointments are vital -- a minimum of once a year. If you ever notice hints of sickness in your bird, however, take him to a veterinarian without hesitation. Some indications of ill budgies are swollen bills, runny noses, pulling out feathers, decreased interest in eating and difficulty breathing, among others. With the right care, budgies often live for around 21 years.
Attention from People
Budgies adore being on the receiving ends of favorable attention courtesy of humans. These companionable, skilled conversationalists enjoy copying sentences and words, although they're not too noisy in general. In terms of vocalization, high-pitched "gabbling" sounds are common in these small birdies.
- BirdLife International: Budgerigar
- World Parrot Trust: Budgerigar - Species Profile
- Natural History Museum: Melopsittacus undulatus
- World Parrot Trust: Budgerigar - Care in Captivity
- BirdChannel.com: Budgerigar Birds
- BirdChannel.com: Top 10 Pet Budgie/Parakeet Vet Questions & Answers
- University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web: Melopsittacus undulatus
- BirdChannel.com: Top 9 Best Pet Birds for Kids
- Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images