Budgie Parakeet FAQ (frequently asked questions)
What is a budgie parakeet’s personality like?
We’ve fallen head over heels for one of the best pets for city living, and I should know because I’ve owned and cared for almost every pet critter available. What is it? The parakeet — also known as a budgie, which is short for Budgerigar. Budgies are the most popular pet parrot in the world. They are intelligent, lively, comical, affectionate, social, expressive, funny, entertaining little lovebugs. They don’t squawk loudly like other parrots can — instead, they express themselves with a cheerful little chatter and can be taught to talk. When imprinted and tame, they sit on your finger, ride on your shoulder, cuddle with you, fly around your home, come to you when called and give you kisses. They don’t pee on the carpet, disturb the neighbors with noises or odor, or require walks in the rain.
Budgies are jovial little birds that love to play and explore their surroundings. While they look forward to time spent with their human companions, they can be quite independent, making them perfect for novice bird owners. These magnificent little creatures are simple and inexpensive to care for and they rarely require veterinary care. And you won’t break the bank to buy one, either — they typically cost between $10 and $125 each. They are oodles of inexpensive, low maintenance love and fun.
In spite of their small size, Budgies are big on brains and personality. They are just as intelligent as some larger bird species. Many have been taught to talk and whistle tunes. Male budgerigars are considered one of the top five talking champions amongst parrot species. A budgerigar named Puck holds the world record (1995 edition of Guinness World Records) for the largest vocabulary of any bird, at 1,728 words!
Some dedicated owners have trained their parakeets to do amazing tricks such as play fetch, ride mini skateboards, and navigate agility obstacles like tunnels, slides and ladders. See our training, talking and tricks page for videos!
What are the differences between an American Parakeet and an English Budgie?An American Parakeet aka “pet” type (left) compared to an English Budgie aka “show/exhibition” type (right). These two boys are best buddies in our aviary.
American Parakeets and English Budgies are the same species (Melopsittacus Undulatus). But through years of selective breeding, the two varieties look (and sometimes behave) differently:
American Parakeets are more similar to their wild cousins. They are smaller and more agile than the English variety so they tend to be better fliers and acrobats. Sometimes they have a more nervous disposition when compared to the English variety. Most pet stores carry the smaller American Parakeet. Because the American variety is more active, they tend to live longer. Average length: 7 inches. Typical weight: 25-40 grams.
English Budgies are often shown in bird shows. The English (or “show”/”exhibition”) budgerigar is larger, heavier and has more feathering. They tend to have puffy head feathers, which sometimes obscures their eyes when you view them from the front. English Budgies tend to be more mellow and calm when compared to the American Parakeet. The English have a tendency to become overweight, which can shorten their lifespan if not provided with ample opportunities for flight and exercise. They are typically more expensive than American Parakeets. Average length: 9-10 inches. Typical weight: 40-65 grams.
Visit our budgie flock photo page to see many examples of the 3 types we raise: English, American, and crosses (splits) between the two!
What colors and mutations do budgie parakeets come in?This clutch of four week old babies are American x English crosses.
They come in a rainbow of colors — everything except red and pink. Please visit our colors and varieties page for a variety of photos and descriptions.
How do I tell a male from a female budgie parakeet?You can tell mature males from females by the color of their cere (the fleshy part above their beak and around their nostrils): A male’s cere is usually blue (American Parakeet on left); a female’s is tan, brown, white, or white with a little pale blue (American Parakeet on right).
The color of the cere (the fleshy area containing the nostrils) differs between the sexes:
Immature parakeets of both sexes have purplish-pink ceres, sometimes with a pale blue tint. A young male’s cere is usually a more even, translucent color, while young females can often be identified by a subtle chalky whiteness that starts around the nostrils.
A mature male has a cere that is usually light to royal blue, but males that are Albino, Lutino, Dark-eyed Clear or Recessive Pied retain the immature purplish-pink cere color their entire life.
A mature female has a cere that ranges in color from white, white with pale blue tinge, beige or pale brown (non-breeding) to dark, crusty brown (breeding condition).
Which makes a better pet: male or female? What are the behavioral differences between the genders?
Neither gender is better; they’re just different. Male budgie parakeets are typically extroverted, flirtatious, vocal, cheerful, and usually get along equally well with other male or female cage-mates. Both males and females sing and can learn to mimic sounds and words although they tend to be more pronounced in males; males can typically acquire larger vocabularies. But not every parakeet talks so don’t expect it! In my experience, females tend to bond more intensely to their human companion. Whereas males tend to be less discriminant of who they’re with, females are usually the first ones to fly over and cuddle with their favorite human.
Can a male and female parakeet live together in the same cage without laying eggs?
Generally speaking, yes. For parakeets to come into breeding condition they need long daylight hours (or full spectrum indoor lights), a nest box (or nest-like spot), and at least one or two other pairs within their near vicinity to convince them that it’s a good idea to start a family. Avoid these 3 things and your male and female will most likely live together happily ever after… without eggs.
Should I keep one, two or more?Budgie parakeets are highly social animals and crave companionship. (American x English cross chick on left; American chick on right)
A solo budgie is a depressed budgie. So unless you can spend hours every day keeping one bird company then I HIGHLY RECOMMEND MORE THAN ONE. Some people worry that if they keep more than one budgie, the birds won’t bond with them. But consider this: wild budgies are social flock animals who live in large communities — they have lots of friends! As long as you spend ample time with them, they will consider you a part of their flock family and bond with you as well. Two or more budgies can come out of their cage and play with you, then keep each other company when they have to go back ‘home’ to their cage. And watching budgies interact with one another is VERY entertaining — it’s one of the highlights of budgie keeping! Without exception (that I can recall), everyone who has adopted one budgie has soon come to the conclusion that two would have been better.
Can I train my budgie parakeet to talk and do tricks?
Yes! Parakeets are small parrots with big brains! Take a look at the videos we’ve posted on our training page.
Lifespan: How long will my budgie parakeet live?
In captivity, budgerigars live an average of 4 to 10 years, with some living 15-20 years. The maximum recorded lifespan is 26 years. Their life expectancy depends on genetics and health and is highly influenced by exercise and diet. Birds get hardening of the arteries and heart disease just like people. Obesity can decrease a bird’s lifespan by 70 percent. As responsible breeders, we do everything in our power to create budgies that will live long, healthy lives. When you take one home, the rest is up to you; their fate rests in your hands. Feed them a balanced and nutritious diet, provide regular opportunities for exercise, and consult with an avian vet if needed.
Diet: What should I feed my budgie parakeet?
Malnourishment is a leading cause of premature death in pet birds. Furthermore, “Avian veterinarians estimate that poor nourishment is the underlying cause of about 75 to 80 percent of the medical problems they see.” (Source: Bird Talk April 2010) We provide lists of healthy foods and tell you exactly how to feed your budgie parakeets on our food and nutrition page.
Housing: What kind and size of cage do I need for my budgie parakeet?
We provide complete specifications and detail everything you’ll need to make your feathered friend healthy and happy on our budgie cage and care page.
Origin: Where did budgie parakeets come from?
Common Names: Parakeet, Budgerigar, Budgie.
Scientific Name: Melopstittacus undulatus.
Wild budgerigars are found throughout the drier parts of Australia, where the species has survived harsh inland conditions for the last five million years. Budgerigars in their natural habitat in Australia are noticeably smaller than those in captivity. Bred in captivity since the 1800′s, they are widely acknowledged as the most popular pet parrot in the world and possibly the most popular caged bird.
More Budgie Parakeet Pages:
Hand-fed Budgies and Parakeets available in Colorado!: Our family raises, hand-feeds, trains and adores Budgie Parakeets. Learn more about our selective breeding program and view our gorgeous, tame birds.
Inside Our Aviary: See where our birds live — flight enclosures, breeding room, play gyms.
Our Flock of Adult Budgie Parakeets: Take a peek at our gorgeous feathered friends. Lots of photos!
Adorable Pictures of Our Hand-fed Babies: Come ooh and aahh over all the cuteness and watch them grow up!
Pre-Adoption Questionnaire: If you are interested in adopting one (or more) of our parakeets when they become available, please respond to these questions.
Budgie Baby Waiting List: I know how hard it is to wait when you’re excited but I promise you, the wait is worth it!
FAQ (frequently asked questions): What is a Budgie Parakeet’s personality like? What are the differences between American Parakeets and English Budgies? How do you tell a male from a female? Should you keep one, two or more? How long do they live? Where did the species originate?
How To Care For Your Pet Budgie Parakeet: Learn about housing, cages, homemade aviaries, cleaning tips, health, safety, nutrition, exercise, playtime activities, toys, and more.
Bird Nutrition and Food Recommendations: Malnourishment is a leading cause of premature death in pet birds. We provide lists of healthy foods, and tell you how to grow your own sprouts.
Training, Talking, Tricks: Entertaining video demonstrations and informative tips.
Colors, Varieties, Mutations, Genetics: Budgie Parakeets come in a rainbow of colors. This page has beautiful photos and variety descriptions.
Bird and Parrot Playgyms, Stands and Perches for Sale: Learn how to make your own — or order a custom one from us.
Homemade Aviaries and Flight Cages: How to converted used furniture into large flight cages and beautiful indoor aviaries.