Budgerigar birds (Melopsittacus undulatus) are small, brightly coloured and seed eating birds. They belong to Psittaculidae family. They are also called as “Common Parakeet” and “Shell Parakeet”. They have been given the nickname called “Budgie”. They are native to Australia. They live in trees. Budgerigar birds are the only species in Melopsittacus genus.
These birds have green and yellow appearance with black markings on wings, back and nape. They are highly social and serve as excellent pets. They love talking with humans because they exhibit excellent vocabulary.
These birds form their nests in knots or other depressions. They breed in the form of pairs in both the wild and captivity. They have nomadic lifestyle. Their primary diet includes grass seeds. Some fruits are also included.
They have average size of about 15 centimeters to 20 centimeters or 5.9 inches to 7.8 inches, average weight of about 30 grams to 40 grams, average wingspan of about 25 centimeters to 35 centimeters or 10 inches to 14 inches.
Some of the predators of these bids are snakes, humans and large birds. They are listed as least concerned by International Union for Conservation of Nature. Their population is increasing because they reproduce frequently. They can live up to 6 years.
Budgerigar birds are omnivores. Their primary diet includes seeds. They rely on grass seeds for most of their nutritional needs. They can also eat some fruits like berries, vegetation and some insects. Huge consumption of fruit is not healthy for Budgerigar birds.
The average lifespan of Budgies is 3 to 6 years.
The average cost of budgie is $25. The easiest way to buy them is from local pet store but they can also be bought from breeders.
Budgies are small Parakeets that have friendly nature. This makes them great pets. As, these birds are social birds so they require a lot of social interaction. They also make some noise.
Budgerigar as pets:
Budgies or Parakeets are one of the smallest parrot species.
They are the most popular pets in the world. Following are some reasons,
- Budgies are affordable.
- They are extremely friendly.
- They are easy to tame.
- They are gentle and docile.
- They have the ability to mimic their owner’s speech.
- They are also very active, playful and quieter as compared to other birds.
- They can live in small cages due to their small size.
- They are easy to transport.
- They produce less mess as compared to other birds. Their cages are easy to clean.
- It is easy to train them at young age so that they will become more and more social.
However, there are some disadvantages as well. These are,
- They sometimes become very noisy.
- They have short lifespan.
- They have fragile health. They can easily get sick even by slight temperature variations.
- They require regular exercise to remain healthy.
So, before owning any pet the pros and cons should be considered.
Some of the adaptations exhibited by Budgies are as follows,
- Budgies or Melopsittacus undulatus have been surviving from 5 million years. They lay eggs and have feathers that’s why they are called as birds.
- They are indigenous to Australia. They are able to survive in harsh Australian desert.
- They have short but powerful beaks. These beaks help them in breaking seeds and fruits.
- They exhibit variety of bright colours. This helps them to mimic other more powerful birds and also cause enemy confusion. They exhibit almost 32 colour mutations.
- They always live in the form of groups.
- Their diet includes seeds, fruits and vegetables. They remove seed hulls before consumption.
- They require large amount of water that’s why wild budgies mostly stay near water sources. Domestic budgies consume Parakeet diet.
- Budgies trim their beaks by chewing on wood in the wild. The owner owning budgies as pets should provide these birds with wooden toys for chewing purposes.
Budgies are highly social and live in the form of flocks. One group contains approximately hundred birds. This helps them in feeding and protection from predators. Females are generally more aggressive than males.
They start their day after sunrise and exhibit preening, singing and certain movements within trees. After sunrise, they start foraging. They don’t exhibit foraging at midday because of extremely hot weather. They remain motionless under shade at midday. At the end of the day, they return to their roosting sites while making loud calls.
As pets, these birds are active, playful and friendly. They can mimic their owner’s speech.
Budgies are short and delightful birds to be kept as pets. Following are some tips to take care of a budgerigar,
- The bird’s cage length should be 50 centimeters so that the bird fulfills its need of stretching its wings and playing.
- Make sure to add a mini bath tub in the cage so that the bird will be able to clean itself. Budgies like to stay clean.
- Add some toys and perches in the cage.
- Keep your pet in warm room. There should be no temperature fluctuations.
- You should bring the food in metal bowls. The plastic bowls should be avoided because of bacterial contamination. Budgies food consists of seeds, fruits and vegetables. Some foods like avocado, onion, garlic and chocolate should not be given because these are toxic to the bird. The bird should also be provided with enough water and cuttlebone. Cuttlebones contain magnesium, calcium carbonate, iron and zinc. They are important source of calcium that is necessary for budgie’s health.
- The cage should be cleaned once a week to avoid any health risk.
- The bird should be provided with a blanket when it’s time to sleep.
- Take your bird to a veterinarian once a year for a proper checkup.
Some of the common diseases of Budgies are as follows,
Avian Gastric Yeast (AGY) infection:
AGY infection is also called as macrohabdiosis or megabacteriosis. This disease is difficult to spot at early stages. Symptoms include weight loss, undigested food in bird’s droppings, listlessness, vomiting. This disease Caused by yeast known as Macrorhabdus ornithogaster. Treatment includes drugs to combat AGY, healthy diet, avoiding all yeast-feeding food items.
Candidiasis is a yeast infection. The organism known as candida can bloom anywhere in the digestive system of Budgie. Symptoms include loose droppings, vomiting, listlessness and shaking fits. Treatment includes healthy diet excluding yeast-feeding sugars.
Budgie Sour Crop:
This disease is also caused by yeast. Symptoms include sour smelling vomit and swollen crop. Treatment includes specific drugs to treat the infection.
Psittacosis (Parrot infection):
A bird-borne disease that is caused by the organism known as Chlamdydophia psittaci. This disease can transmit to humans. Mostly the bird shows no symptoms at all. However some rare symptoms include ruffled feathers, listlessness, loose green droppings etc. The disease is passed through droppings and saliva. Treatment includes drugs and frequent cleaning of cage.
Canker is the disease which is caused by a parasite called as Trichomonas gallinae. It affects bird’s digestive system. Symptoms include fungal growth on legs, eyes and beak. Treatment includes specific drugs.
It is a protozoan disease. In this disease the intestinal tract is infected. Symptoms include brick red coloured droppings due to extreme internal bleeding, microbe burrows in stomach lining etc. Treatment includes Sulphonamide drugs.
Air Sac Mites:
Also called as Sternostoma tracheacolum. These are parasites that infect bird’s respiratory tract. Symptoms include asthma. Treatment includes spraying bird’s cage with mortine.
Red mite and Bird lice:
Red mites can be found crawling on the skin and feathers of birds at night. They suck the blood of bird and make them restless and itchy. Treatment includes sprays such as mortine and pea beau.
Some of the facts about Budgies are as follows,
- Budgerigars are native to Australia.
- They can easily be tamed.
- The most distinctive features of these birds include warble communication calls and bright coloured feathers.
- They inhabit grassland and open woodland near water.
- They are omnivores and can eat seeds, fruits, insects and berries.
- They live in the form of flocks.
- They form their nests in tree cavities.
- They reach to the age of molting at about 3 to 4 months.
- They have almost 1000 possible colour combinations.
- Some of the predators of these birds include large birds, humans and snakes.
- Their average lifespan is 3 to 6 years.
- They are listed as “least concern” by IUCN.
Budgerigar gender differences:
Males and females are quite similar. However, some differences are as follows,
- The only difference in appearance between males and females is on the “cere” or “nostrils”. Males have blue coloured cere and females have white, brown, tan or pink coloured cere.
- Males are more social. They talk more and sing more often as compared to females.
- Females are bossy, louder and often found making holes in trees for nesting.
- Females suffer more from health risks. Egg bounding (eggs stuck during laying) is a serious life threatening condition.
Budgerigars (Budgies or Parakeets) are small sized , bright coloured birds that are native to Australia. They make excellent pets because of their ability to be easily tamed, they are social and friendly. They live in the form of colonies for protection against predators. They have quite stable population and it’s even increasing day by day because of their ability to reproduce frequently.