Budgie birds are some of the most common pets anyone can have, all over the world, being in third place after dogs and cats. It shouldn’t be a surprise though, as aside from bird cages for parakeets, you don’t need much to take care of them and they are really fun to have around.
Are budgie birds good pets?
Given the fact that they are the third most popular species of animals to have as pets in the world, we can assume just from that they are quite good pets as otherwise, millions of people wouldn’t bother with having them as companions. There are many advantages that come with this specific pet.
The bird is known for being affectionate and really cute. It is small so you won’t have to worry about space with it. Buying one and keeping it fed and happy are also very cheap affairs so you have another reason why people go for it. Also, with some proper training, a budgie can learn how to mimic human talk!
What’s in a name, anyway?
The exact origin of this bird’s name is not known exactly as it seems it co-existed with Indigenous Australians for around 70,000 years so history has erased the definitive answers from its books. Regardless if you call it a budgie or a budgerigar (the actual full name of the bird), you must know a budgie is a parakeet.
But don’t make any confusion, as while a budgie is a parakeet, not all parakeets are budgies. A parakeet can come in various shapes, colors, and sizes (such as the Indian ringneck parakeet which can reach 16 inches from head to … tail) so to avoid confusion, just call budgies, budgies.
While budgies aren’t the smallest ones in the parrot family (the parrotlet wins that title), you wouldn’t call them big anyway. When kept in captivity, a budgie reaches a maximum of 8 inches in lengths, but they can be much smaller as well. The native birds of Australia that don’t live in captivity are much smaller than that also.
Because there are sometimes an awful lot of differences between all the budgies you see in a pet store, you wouldn’t think that there are actually two different types of budgies. One is the original Australian budgie and the other one is the English variety which was created for the pet trade and bird shows.
They are both budgies, beak to tail, but there are some notable differences as well, which you can observe if you look at them side by side. The English ones are about 2 inches longer than the Australian version, plus their head is larger and the feathers are much puffier around the crown and the face.
Another thing that you most likely didn’t know is the fact that despite being used to see both green and blue budgies, the natural color of them is the green with yellow variety. Any other color of budgie, including the equally popular blue variety, were all created via breeding and color mutation for pet trading.
This doesn’t mean a blue or white budgie will be more susceptible to a disease or anything of the sort. Aside from having a different color, there is no other difference between budgies so you can choose which color you like better.
Can a budgie learn how to speak?
One of the main attractions of having a bird from this family is the potential of teaching them how to talk. Yes, budgies can learn how to speak and can be better at it than some of the biggest parrots, but you can never have a complete guarantee that any of these birds will really learn how to speak.
Still, it should be noted that budgies seem to have a sort of advantage over this whole speech thing as they often have a bigger vocabulary and speak much clearer when compared to other parrots like the cockatoos or the macaws which are much larger in size.
The voice of a budgie is gravelly-sounding and not very loud, but they have a good ability when it comes to picking up various human words or phrases. They even have presented the ability to use them in the proper context at times! This is why they are absolutely great pets and if you want a parrot that talks, a budgie may be just the option.
In fact, the largest vocabulary known for any bird belonged to a budgie named Puck who knew 1,728 words. He passed away in 1994, but his record appeared in the next year’s edition of the Guinness World Records.
Another budgie, named Disco, became a viral sensation with the pop culture phrases it could quote such as Richard Nixon’s “I am not a crook” and “Nobody puts Baby in a corner”, an adaptation of the famous line from “Dirty Dancing”.
The feeding process
Because of the small size, a budgie is really inexpensive to take care of, especially when it comes to feeding it. But, even if people tend to think a diet of only seeds is a-ok, it can actually lead to health problems to the bird.
Doctors will recommend you try more variety in the diet and add some fresh fruits, vegetables or pellets and leafy greens to your budgie’s menu. You can still feed it seeds, just make sure you also give it nutrients that come from other types of food as well for a balanced meal.
When did we take the budgie home?
As mentioned humans and budgies have shared the same habitat for a long period of time, but it was only in the 1850s that we decided to bring them in. Around that time breeders started working on creating budgies with different colors and patterns which is when we got the blue and white budgies.
The English type is also known as an “exhibition budgerigar” and is twice as big compared to the wild type. Their feathers can be much longer so they can cover the beak and eyes. They are also more expensive but only live between seven and nine years, less than the typical budgie.
The budgie that you will find at a pet store is more similar to the wild Australian one than with the British made-for-exposition one. Because a budgie is a social animal, it will need company as it would suffer if it were to spend all of its time alone. They also need stimulation from toys and activities so you can’t just put one in a cage and call it a day.
Budgies are known for liking to chew on things with wood being their favorite thing to chew on. Females are the ones who enjoy this activity the most, but plenty of male budgies also love it.
Budgies don’t love chewing on things without a reason as this activity will also keep the beak trimmed. You can offer it softwood, mineral blocks that contain iodine and cuttlebone. This last one is good because it gives them a dose of calcium which, as we all know, is good for solidifying the bones, but also for helping to form the eggs properly.
You can tell if your budgie is feeling threatened as it tries to perch as high as possible while also bringing its feathers as close as possible to its body which makes them look much more thinner.
Budgies and humans
A budgie that was tamed can be taught to play with us humans, to speak and whistle. Both genders can sing, mimic sounds, repeat words and do some simple yet adorable tricks, but it seems that mimicry and singing are more common in males. While females rarely learn over a dozen words, males can learn a couple of hundred ones.
A male budgie kept as a pet, especially without a companion, is considered as having the highest chances of learning how to speak.
The life span of a budgie can vary greatly between five and eight years to 15 – 20 years. How much they live depends on several factors such as their breed, from what lineage they come from, their general health, etc. The health of a budgie, like with a human, is made of exercise and a proper diet.
Now that you know more about the budgie birds, you’ll surely be an expert among your friends on this topic.