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Budgies (Melopsittacus undulates) Species Profile: American and English Budgerigar
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith
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Budgerigars are often, and mistakenly, referred to as parakeets. Originating in Australia, Budgies were imported to England where breeders took painstaking measures to develop color strains and bloodlines that were as pure as possible. As a result, English Budgies are often referred to as an Exhibition Budgie. What is commonly referred to as the American Budgie is considered in the trade to be more of a pet than a breeder exhibiting pure lines. They are the same species and both are a good deal larger than their native Australian counterparts.

The Budgie, called "bet-cher-ga" by the Aborigines, was a favorite menu item in their native land. Betcherga literally means "good to eat." Extensive exportation of the Budgie resulted in Australia's limiting the number of birds allowed to leave the country. This has stimulated, over the years, extensive breeding programs all over the world to support a market for one of the most popular of all pet birds. The average cost of a Budgerigar can range from $10 to $100; the cost is generally higher for an English Budgie.

Quick Stats:   Budgerigar
(English & American)
Family: Psittacidae
Origin: Western Australia, New South Whales, Victoria
Size: 6"-8"
Coloration: Green in the wild; however, extreme range of color variations exist among pet birds
Diet: 65-80% pelleted food, 15-30% vegetables, and 5% fruits. Use many varieties of fruits and vegetables, washed thoroughly. See Basic Nutrition for Psittacines (Parrot Family) for more information.
Cage Size: Width is more important than height; the bigger the better as long as bar spacing is not greater than 5/8".
Grooming: Trim nails and beak (although beak trims may not be necessary).
Compatibility/Disposition: Social; however, patience is necessary in acclimating to handling and acquiring trust. Best to acquire at an early age, but not younger than 4 weeks.
Vocalization: Males are excellent talkers and can develop quite extensive vocabularies, some may whistle; females are often less vocal.
Playfulness: Play with toys and shiny objects. Require flock and/or human interaction, especially if only keeping one.
Life Span: 6-18 years
Age at Maturity: 6 months
Nesting Sites in the Wild: Tree hollows, especially decaying eucalyptus.
Breeding Season: August to December, although often breeds opportunistically.
Sexing: Male: Cere is lavender to dark blue.
Female: Cere is pinkish-brown to light blue.
Special: Unlike most parrots, prefers to eat on floor of cage (in a bowl). Are prone to obesity.
Click here for a pdf version of this article.  See related products at Pet Supplies  
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