Budgies, commonly and somewhat inaccurately known as parakeets, are small parrot natives of Australia.
There are two types of budgerigars. One is the common budgerigar and the other, slightly larger version is the English budgie. Both are very popular, but English budgies are usually only kept by exhibitionists or breeders.
The budgie is probably the most popular and most widely bred of all the caged pet-birds throughout the world. They come in a variety of colors that including their wild color (green), yellow, blue, lutino, white, and gray.
They are very spunky little birds with strong personalities, are easy to handle and care for, and are very reliable breeders – typically laying between four and six eggs.
In the wild, budgies are colony breeders, adapting very well to pair breeding or even if kept as a single pet. These small little creatures are very intelligent and can even learn to mimic the human voice and other sounds.
A budgerigar can live 12 to 14 years. It’s up to the individual to choose how many to keep, whether a single bird, pair or flock.
For the most part, budgies are sexually dimorphic, but there are some exceptions that are difficult to recognize.
Here are a few things to look for when purchasing a bird:
Young or Adult. For the beginner breeder it is always recommended to start with younger birds. A young bird can be identified by several characteristics, such as a shorter tail than the adult, or completely dark eyes (black or red) at less then six months. After six months they will develop a light iris ring.
One can also distinguish a young bird from the color of the cere. The colors of the cere (area above the the beak where the nostrils are found) in young males have a uniform bluish-pink cere; adult males (with the exception of a few color varieties) have a bright blue cere.
Young females have a bluish white cere and a whitish border is always present on the inside of the nostrils.
Adult females exhibit a dark brown or chalk white cere.
A cage should be big enough for the bird to fly a short distance and stretch, be easy to clean and have enough room to add a perch and toys.
There are several varieties to choose among: seeds, pellets, or a mixture of both. Always make sure that there is plenty of clean water, vitamins, minerals and calcium block, (cuttlebone) as laying budgies will deplete their own calcium to make up for the egg production.