Budgies (budgerigars) are an extremely popular pet bird, and for good reason. These small parrots make delightful pets, and are usually friendly and easy to tame. While they can sometimes be difficult to understand, they are quite capable of mimicking.
Budgies are sometimes also called parakeets (specifically shell parakeets) as they are members of the parakeet family. There are also two types of budgies – the American budgie or parakeet, and the English budgie. The American variety is the one most commonly found in pet stores, while the English Budgie is often seen in exhibitions and shows. English budgies are larger and have a different appearance than American budgies, but all budgies belong to the same species.
Parakeets- a word meaning certain small parrots. They are one of the top ten talking birds of the world. A Parakeet has approximately 90 variations of its breed as there are as many varieties of its color. The most common colors are green with blue.
*Life span; 10 – 15 years (up to 20)
*Colors; The normal wild coloration is green with black bars on the wings, back and head. Mature females have a tan or beige cere (the fleshy part around the nostrils) and the males have a bluish cere, but this is unreliable in some color variations, in young birds of both sexes you will find they have pink cere. Young budgies have bar markings on their forehead that recede with age, and their eyes have dark irises that gradually become grey with age, but this doesn’t necessarily hold true for all colors.
*Gentle and docile bird, easy to tame if acquired at a young age. However a female parakeet does not tend to make as good of a pet as a male parakeet. They can be very aggressive at times towards other birds and become little bullies. They will even beat up larger cockatiels and kill their young. Female parakeets also do not speak and are much quieter by nature.
* You need to look at your budgie's "cere". The "cere" is the area above the beak and surrounding the nostrils. With adult budgies if the cere is bright blue the budgie is a male and if the cere is brown the budgie is a female. When a female is in breeding condition her cere will be dark brown and may become rough and crusty.
The above applies for most adult budgies except some color varieties such as the albino, fallow, lutino and recessive pied. With young budgies the cere of both sexes are the same color, a purplish shade, so it is difficult to decipher their sex until they have been through their first molt at three to four months of age. Only then will the adult color show. To the experienced eye the sex of a young budgie may be differentiated. The cere on a young male budgie tends to be more notable than a young female's in that it is fuller and brighter. It takes on a pinkish shade whereas a female's will have a bluish shade. Another tip is that a young female tends to be more aggressive and bites harder than a young male.
*Pairs of birds make good company for each other, but usually will not bond as well with their owners or mimic speech as well. A single bird is fine, as long as you spend a significant amount of time interacting with the budgie on a daily basis.
*Very playful and active, and quieter than some other parrots. (Although they can be noisy)
It is better to choose a bird that has been hand fed or one that has been handled regularly. You can expect to pay more for a hand reared or very young bird, but it is worth the extra cost. When purchasing from a pet store, you have an unknown history of the bird, and if they are older they will be more challenging to bond with and tame.
These are not to be confused with the English budgie. English budgies look quite a bit different than the native Australian parakeets. They are much larger, have a large crested head, and get a funny sort of grandpa look to their faces (they sometimes appear a little grouchy) because the feathers grow over the eyes. They come in a variety of stunning colors. They have been bred over the years for these characteristics. They are often called exhibition budgerigars because they are the types of budgies seen in bird shows.
The cost of a Parakeet can range from $10 to $25, depending on the type of bird you buy, and where you buy it from. They eat almost anything green, mostly fruits, mix of grains — like oat groats, hemp and buckwheat. They like to eat the smaller grains. Parakeets can breed as young as six months of age. Their average clutch size is four to five eggs, but seven is not uncommon. They lay one egg each day, instead of every other day like the bigger birds, and it takes about 2 ˝ weeks for the eggs to hatch. They nest in wooden boxes, roughly eight inches front to back, and six to seven inches, left to right. The babies leave the nest at about five to seven weeks of age. A parakeet will breed year-round, except for the three hottest months of the year, typically June, July and August. While nesting in the box, the mother bird will stay inside with the babies while the father bird will feed the mother. Then, in-turn, the mother will take the food from the father and feed the babies. When the babies leave the nesting box, then the father takes care of the babies about 80% of the time. Parakeets often mate for life, but the male will colony breed if a lot of females are in the cage. *Picture to the left is of my baby keets just starting to eat on their own. *Middle picture is of my baby keets peeking out of their nesting box, aren't they sweet!
*I care about the quality of my birds and guard my reputation as a breeder, my Parakeets are hand-raised, and I will not let any bird leave my home without being fully weaned.
This page last updated 10/29/08