Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus)


Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Family:    Psittacidae
Size:    Length: 7 to 9 inches (18 to 23 cm)
Weight: 1 to 2 ounces (28 to 56 g)
Diet: Seeds, grasses and plants
Distribution: Australia
Young:  4 to 8 chicks, twice per year
Animal Predators:  Unknown
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: Young: Chick
Lifespan: 10 to 14 years



·     Budgies are Australia’s most common parrots.

·     The name budgerigar comes from the Australian Aboriginal word betcherrygah.

·     The first captive breeding took place in the 1850s, leading to various colour variations.

·     Pet budgies are happier if they live in pairs, due to their social nature.



In the wild these birds are mostly yellow and green with a bright blue cheek flash and stripes and black barring on the upper parts. Budgerigars are extremely attractive birds and in captivity, where they are mainly called budgies or parakeets, they come in a variety of colours. Although females and males look similar, there is a band above the nose that is blue in males and beige in females.



Budgies live in open plains and wooded grasslands in the interior of Australia. They are rarely found on the coasts unless there is a drought. They migrate from the north to the south, following the rainy seasons. They have been successfully introduced throughout Florida.


Feeding Habits

Budgies eat seeds, grasses and plants, and can go up to one month without having a drink because of the moisture in the food they eat. To get a drink, they usually land on water, drink while floating with their wings outstretched, and then fly away again. 



Budgies are monogamous and mate for life. They can breed at anytime, but usually do so when there is an abundance of seeds in their environment. The couple share a close bond and can often be seen grooming and feeding each other. The female chooses the nesting site, usually in the hollow of an old tree. She lays four to eight  round, white eggs in intervals of one or two every other day and incubates them while her mate brings food back to the nest. The eggs hatch in 17 to 20 days in the order in which they were laid. The female feeds her youngest and smallest chicks first to ensure that her entire brood is healthy and survives. The chicks are fed regurgitated, protein-rich food. In a little more than a month, they begin to fly, and at three to four months, the chicks attain adult plumage. 



Budgerigars belong to the parrot family and are extremely social, living in flocks of 20 to 60 birds. They flock together in the hundreds during migration time. Like other parrots, budgies are extremely talkative (especially the males) and are capable of mimicking human speech.



Budgerigars are not of conservation concern.







Budgerigar Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US

Harrison, C. and Greensmith, A. (1993). Birds of the World. London: Dorling Kindersley Limited

National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Third Ed. (1999)