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Budgerigar FAQ

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Budgerigar FAQ

Postby Kathleen » Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:41 pm

What exactly is a Budgerigar?

A Budgerigar is an Australian parakeet, with an average mass of about 35 grams, and an average length of about 7 inches. The species has been given the scientific name Melopsittacus undulatus. Melopsittacus comes from the Greek word meaning musical, and undulatus comes from the Latin word for a wave pattern. (answers.com)

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Image from http://www.animal-world.com.

What is the difference between a Parakeet and a Budgie?

Budgerigars are improperly called "Parakeets", or "American Parakeets". The term parakeet is a general term for a large group of small, long-tailed parrots and it is not the true name for this species.

Budgerigars, or Budgies for short, are probably the most commonly owned companion parrot. The source of the name Budgerigar has been speculated to come from a combination of words from Australian English slang. "Budgery", slang for "good" and "gar", slang for "Cockatoo". (encyclopedia.com) I have also heard that budgerigar means "good to eat".

Parakeets and Cockatoos are both from Australia, are they related?

Despite the origin of the name and the location, Budgies are true parrots and not related to Cockatoos, while Cockatoos are not true parrots. Genetic studying of the species Budgerigars has revealed that this type of parrot is closely related to Lories and Fig Parrots. (answers.com)

Budgies are true parrots because of phylogeny. In the order of Parrots called Psittaciformes, two families exist: the family Psittacidae of True Parrots, and the family Cacatuidae of Cockatoos. Cockatoos are unlike True Parrots because of their ability to move their crest, a gall gladder, and other features. Cockatoos are typically larger than True Parrots, and generally white, pink, black or blue. (feathers.org)

Image
Image from http://www.answers.com.

What does a typical Budgie or pet parakeet look like?

Budgerigars are generally green and yellow colored parrots with blue or black tail feathers, a blue or brown cere, black throat spots, and blue cheek patches. Typically, there are black wavy lines featured on the wings, heads and shoulders of these parrots. Selective breeding in these companion parrots has led to a variety of new colors. Genetic mutations in the plumage color of gametes of captive Budgerigars have been selectively bred to produce albino or white, dark eyed clear, lutino or yellow, cinnamon or lacewinged, clearwinged, greywinged, opaline, blue, violet, pied, spangled, dilute and other varieties that cannot be found in wild flocks. Wild Budgerigars with certain genetic mutations would be more susceptible to predators and that is why these genetic mutations are not seen in wild Budgiergar populations. In addition, English budgies or show Budgies, are twice the size, have a higher price and live a shorter life span than the normal Budgerigars. (answers.com)

Like many parrots, the plumage of Budgies reflects UV. It is has been shown that female Budgerigars prefer the male Budgerigars that reflect the UV and that the UV reflectiveness of the plumage can influence mate selection in this species of parrot. (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)

How do you tell if a budgie is male or female?

The cere typically indicates sexual dimorphism in Budgerigars. Both genders of budgies under a year old generally have light pink ceres. The cere on a Budgie usually changes within the first year of the budgie's life. Typically, the cere in a male Budgie is blue and the cere of a female Budgie is crusty and brown. Recessive pied, albino, lutino and dark eyed clear Budgies will not experience a change in their cere colors because of their genetic mutations. Some Budgerigars also experience color changes in their ceres during their breeding seasons. (answers.com) A cere color change during breeding season is likely due to changes in hormone levels.

Where do Budgierigars originally come from?

Image
Image from http://www.enviro-map.com.

Wild flocks of Budgies live in the central, hot and dry areas of shrubland, woodland and grassland habitats of Australia. Their flocks form enormous swarms or clouds of birds, and they are nomadic birds which follow food and water sources in Australia. The wild flocks eat mostly grass seeds in Australia. (answers.com) Budgerigars adapt to the desert like climate of Australia because of their ability to conserve water and their resulting droppings are very dry.

Is a Budgie a suitable choice if you are a beginner with parrots?

Budgerigars are underestimated because they are parakeets. They are small, inexpensive, and widely available. With patience and proper training techniques, they are just as capable of learning many tricks, they can be just as entertaining, they are enjoyable pets and they are a great alternative to a bite from a larger bird's beak.



This video depicts petting a Budgie. Budgies participate in a behavior called allopreening. Allopreening is simply mutual preening of feathers, usually around the neck, head and face, areas where a Budgie cannot reach to groom itself. Allopreening is usually a courtship behavior with a mate or flock member and a Budgie will accept petting from someone they trust. (answers.com)

Where can I buy a Budgie?

Budgies are readily available birds sold in most pet stores, especially in chain pet stores. Budgies can also be obtained from a budgie breeder or an animal shelter (or rescue).

I want a Parakeet from a pet store, which one should I choose?

When acquiring or buying your Budgie, look for signs of health and illness and choose a healthy looking bird. A healthy budgie will be perched upright calmly and attentively, preening or grooming itself, perching on one foot, actively playing with a toy and chirping. A Budgie that may be sick with an infection or disease may be hunched over, drooping, weak, have swollen eyes, bleeding, have discharge from eyes, cere or vent, laying on the bottom of a cage, continually fluffing up to keep warm, and vomitting. (letstalkbirds.com)

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How long is the average life expectancy of a Budgie?

With proper care, Budgerigars live for about 15 to 20 years. However, their average life expectancy is only about 5 to 8 years long. (answers.com) Unfortunately, these birds are often subjected to improper treatment and care. Many companion or pet budgies are poorly raised and fed unsuitable diets, resulting in premature deaths because of fatty tumors.

Is a Parakeet a good pet for a child?

Pets are not good for any child without the supervision of an adult. An adult needs to be sure that any pet is fed, groomed and taken care of properly. A pet is a fun and exciting method to teach a child responsibility, but since a child can barely care for itself, a a pet should not be neglected. Any pet's life should not be put in danger by irresponsibility, immaturity and boredom.

Image
Image from http://www.petco.com.

What basic pet supplies should I get for a Budgie?

The basic supplies needed for a pet Budgie are a suitable cage, natural wood perches, a few suitable sized and safe toys, a cuttlebone, food and water dishes (or a water bottle), newspapers to line the bottom of the cage, a travel carrier, kwikstop, and a cage cover (thin blanket or sheet).

What size cage should I get for a Budgerigar?

As for all parrots, the larger the cage size the better. Budgies should not have a cage with bar spacing greater than 1/2 of an inch and any cage with large bar spacing would be a safety hazard. Budgies typically fly or jump between their perches, so a cage that is wider would be more suitable to allow for very short flights. A wider cage is important in allowing a Budgie to sufficiently exercise, and a cage with guillotine doors is not recommended for safety reasons. If a guillotine cage must be used (because most suitable sized cages for Budgerigars have these doors), it is highly recommended to put clasping locks/key chain locks on the doors for secure but easy opening and closing.

Image
Image from http://www.petco.com.

What should I feed my pet parakeet?

A diet suitable for a Budgerigar is a diet higher in seeds than some other parrots, but a diet of only seeds is extremely unsuitable. A Budgie's diet should consist of as much variety as possibe. What is recommended is a noncolored pellet, vegetables, fruits, grains and seeds. Some toxins that should be avoided for all companion parrots are chocolate, alcohol, avocado, caffeine, lactose (milk products), onions, garlic, and foods high in salt, fat, or sugar. A cuttlebone or mineral block can be a good source of calcium as well for a Budgie.

How loud do parakeets get?

One lone budgie will not be an extremely noisy pet. Budgies do occasionally chirp, and on a rare occasion, make a sort of screeching sound. It must be understood that all parrots make noise. However, these parrots are extremely suitable for apartments or condos because they are generally quiet. Multiple Budgies (3 or more) may increase the volume by a large amount because the Budgies will communicate with each other with constant chirps and occasional screeches.

Image
Image from http://www.listeningearth.com.

Do Budgerigars talk or mimic sounds?

Yes, Budgies do talk and mimic sounds. Although these parrots are able to learn a great amount of words, they have a squeaky type of voice. Male Budgies are generally more talkative, more social, more submissive, and more active while Female Budgies are generally less talkative, more dominant and more aggressive. A male Budgerigar holds the record since 1995 for the largest vocabulary of any bird, with 1,728 words. (answers.com)

Why doesn't my Budgie play with toys?

Some Budgies do not seem to enjoy playing with toys that they are provided with. Some of them don't know what toys are for. Toys should be appropriately sized for a Budgie's beak, nontoxic and safe. If your Budgie is not playing with the toys you have put in their cage for them, try showing your Budgie how to play with a toy. If the toy has a bell, show it to them and ring it for them. If the toy is supposed to be shredded, shred it a little for them (to start it off) and show them the shredded part of the toy. See if they become interested. Other Budgies may be scared of their toys. To introduce a new toy, leave the toy out of their cage but in sight for a few days so that the Budgie isn't scared of a new toy.

I'm afraid one Parakeet will be lonely, should I get two?

Getting a second budgie is a common mistake. Budgies, like all parrots, are highly social animals. If you intend to get a bird, you should commit yourself to spending time with it so that it does not become lonely. If you don't spend time with your Parakeet, it will be lonely. If you intend to have a bond with your budgie, you should only get one Budgie. While multiple captive Budgies can be housed together, they usually bond to each other more than to their owner.

Can Budgies be taught tricks?

Budgies can be more difficult to train tricks to than a larger parrot because they can be hyperactive and they have a lower attention span. They are small, fast moving, and have a quick metabolism. Their size makes it difficult to teach some typical parrot tricks such as wave because their feet are so small and they are ground feeding birds who do not lift their feet to hold food and eat it.

However, this type of Parakeet can learn to do many tricks.



This video depicts a Budgie targeting, jumping through a hoop, running through different sized tubes, running through a slinky, spinning around or turning around in a circle, hanging upside down like a bat, and sliding down a slide. Other tricks that Budgies are capable of which are not featured in this video are to fetch or retrieve objects, to wave, to open their wings, to recall fly (fly somewhere or to someone on cue), to give kisses, to climb up a rope and more.

How do I teach my Parakeet to step up?

To teach your bird to step up on your finger, hold your finger up to your bird's abdomen. If your budgie doesn't step onto it, gently press your finger against its abdomen and your budgie will become unbalanced. In order to correct its balance, it will step forward onto your finger. Before your Parakeet steps up onto your finger, say "step up" or "up", and after it is perched on your finger, tell your budgie it is a good bird, and reward it with some attention and praise. You may have to repeat this again and again, but with some practice, your bird should learn that a finger near its abdomen with the verbal command "step up" is a cue to step onto your finger.

How can I get my Parakeet to stop biting?

If your Budgie is aggressive or afraid of you, it may try to bite you, jump away from you, run away from you, or fly away from you. Parrots respond to a stress with a fight or flight reaction. This means that your budgie is probably going to fly away from you if it can. If it cannot and feels trapped, it will try to bite you as a last resort or as a last defense. Your parrot would prefer to fly away from you if it is scared of you, but if it is aggressive, if it is afraid for its life, if it is clipped and cannot fly, and if it is trying to defend its territory or its mate, it will probably bite you. Fortunately, Budgerigars don't nip very hard. Their beaks are very small and their bites are equivalent to a pinch. They would probably have to nip you in the same spot many times in order to break the skin. You can't stop your Parakeet or Budgie from biting you. Your bird has to figure out on its own that biting you is a waste of time, that you are nice to it, and it has no reason to bite you. You have to ignore any bites by not reacting to a bite. Don't ever give your bird what it wants as a result of a bite or it will continue to try to bite you to get what it wants.

My Budgie just keeps nipping me instead of stepping up, what should I do?



This video depicts a Budgie during a target training session. Every time the Budgie touched the very tip of a chopstick, the Budgie heard a click, and received a treat.



This video depicts an effective hands off approach to get your bird to go where you want it to go. This technique can be used to get your Budgie to come out of its cage, step onto your finger, fly to you, step onto a stranger's finger, etc. without biting you.

This method is called targeting, target training, touch training or stick training. To learn about this method, go to this article which explains how to begin clicker conditioning, overcoming severe aggression, target training, how to get your bird to step up and more in full detail: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=227

How do you hold a Parakeet properly?

To hold your Budgie properly, simply wrap your hand around your Budgie's back and leave its chest open and free to move. Essentially, wrap your fingers around the sides of your Parakeet. You may hold its neck in place to prevent it from moving its head around to bite you (but not squeezing). You can do so by wrapping your thumb (gently!) around and pushing up a little on the head to prevent it from moving its head around to nip you. Never hold your Budgie around its chest and never squeeze your Budgie or it may not be able to breathe. It is safer to let go of your Budgie if it is squirming than to grip or squeeze your Budgie too hard.

Image
Image from http://members.cox.net.

This image demonstrates one way to hold your Parakeet during wing clipping, but it can also be used to cut nails, examine your Parakeet, or simply hold it if you need to.

Sources:
http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O27-Budgerigar.html
http://www.answers.com/topic/budgerigar
http://www.feathers.org/Cockatoos.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1088876/
http://www.answers.com/topic/allopreening
http://www.letstalkbirds.com/budgie.htm
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Re: Budgerigar FAQ

Postby TheNzJessie » Fri May 07, 2010 5:08 am

thanks kathleen very informational, my budgie sometimes bites when i put my finger up to him to come out but yes they dont bite hard. i have been bitten by so many different types of parrots working at my local zoo and pet store. the worst one would of been a cockatoo biting my pinky finger and not letting go that was the most painful put reacting to it is the worst part even yelling ow! the bird may think its a game and carry on doing it. best thing to do it carry on like nothing happened....my pinky finger is not permentaly bent from the bite its quite wicked how hard they bite

(ps i was going to get quil out to pose for the camera but its kinda late and hes sleeping)
Last edited by TheNzJessie on Wed May 25, 2011 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Budgerigar FAQ

Postby gillandro » Sat May 22, 2010 10:50 am

I have two budgies, I got them at the same time. one of them is super tame, but the other seems to be more skitish. why is that and how do I get the other one to relax? thanks :-)
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Re: Budgerigar FAQ

Postby BirdieBird » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:08 pm

Hey, everyone! I know I'm being a troublemaker and posting in an older thread, but I wanted to come on here to thank Kathleen for all of this generous info! I just so happened to be looking for information on various types of parrots/parakeets and stumbled upon this Budgerigar info. My, oh my -- we've got ourselves a walking dictionary. :lol: Really, I'm glad that you managed to accumulate all of this info and throw it together.

Y'see, I'm looking to get a parrot (maybe an eclectus parrot)sometime soon and I'm looking into all varieties. I DO have 2 canaries (whom I love so dearly), but I want to add at least one or two more friends to the family. Obviously, they would be in separate cages, but you get the gist. I'll certainly come back to this page (should I choose to get a Budgerigar and I'll be good to go! Thanks, Kathleen!

Anyway, it's great to be here! Hope to meet you all soon! =D

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Re: Budgerigar FAQ

Postby parrotlover » Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:40 am

Thanks this really helped! Thanks Kathleen! :thumbsup:
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Re: Budgerigar FAQ

Postby kiwitheparakeet » Tue Jul 26, 2011 6:37 pm

MAH BIRD CAN STEP UP NAOW THANKS KATHLEEN!!!!!!
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Re: Budgerigar FAQ

Postby parrotlover » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:20 pm

That's great! :thumbsup:
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Re: Budgerigar FAQ

Postby Jorge » Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:42 am

Kathleen, you're just brainiac! thank you so much!
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Re: Budgerigar FAQ

Postby parrotlover » Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:20 pm

Jorge wrote:Kathleen, you're just brainiac! thank you so much!


She's just good like that LoL! :lol:
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Re: Budgerigar FAQ

Postby laducockatiel » Thu Dec 08, 2011 2:12 am

parrotlover wrote:
Jorge wrote:Kathleen, you're just brainiac! thank you so much!


She's just good like that LoL! :lol:


:lol:
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