Sunday, December 19, 2010

Budgie blog on Christmas Holiday!

There won't be any posting during the next two weeks, because it's time for Bika's Christmas Holidays :)

The next post will be somewhere between January 5th - January 9th. I am going to tell you the story of one of the most amazing budgies that ever lived. Can you guess who that is?

I want to wish all budgie friends a merry Christmas and a very happy 2011!

PS I also want Erlend for Christmas ;) <3

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A day in the life of a wild budgerigar

A nice summary of the behaviour of wild budgerigars, from the Encyclopedia of Life:

"Budgerigars aggregate into large flocks and are strongly social. Their grouping allows for greater success in feeding and also helps in protection from predators. There does not seem to be any hierarchy in groups based upon the relatively few battles among individuals, but females are generally more aggressive than males.

Their activity, like most birds, begins just before sunrise with preening, singing, and movement within trees. After sunrise, the birds fly to the foraging area and feed throughout the day. They do not forage during midday or in extremely hot weather, instead they take shelter under shade and remain motionless. At the end of the day, they congregate by calling loudly and flying at high speeds around the trees. They then return to their roosting site just after sunset and remain at rest until the next morning (Kavanau, 1987)."

Image (c) Karenstock on Flickr

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

100 x budgies

To celebrate my 100th post, I gathered some more epic/funny budgie pictures:

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Budgerigar Quote

In The Birds of Jamaica: Being a History of the Bird, Its Structure, and Habits by Philip Henry Gosse, Alfred Edmund Brehm, Richard Hill (1874), there is a nice quote that describes the sweetness of budgerigars well:

"The male and female grass Parakeet (Melopsittacus undulatus) chirp together and caress each other in the prettiest way imaginable."

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Economic Importance for Humans

Budgerigars are both seen as a benefit and a possible threat to humans.

Negative: a budgerigar flock can consume a large number of seeds at the same time and that concerns farmers.

Positive: budgerigars are the most known pet bird in the world. There are about 5,000,000 budgerigars in the world, allowing scientists to study them well. In fact, more is known of the budgerigars' biology than of any other parrot.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Vegetable Poll

A healthy, balanced diet is good for everyone, also for budgies.

Today I put up a poll, to remind all budgie owners in the world to give their budgies at least one vegetable a day, and to find out which vegetable your budgie likes best. You can find the poll on the top right of my blog.

Can you help me?

TIP: if your budgie doesn't want to eat his vegetables, you can mix it with the seeds. YUM!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Budgie" in different languages

We all know our little feathered friends by the common names budgerigar, budgie, grass parakeet, shell parakeet or just keet.

Do you know how people call budgerigars in other parts of the world?


Alemannic German: Wällesittich

Arabic: الطائر الطيب

Basque: Perikito

Belarusian: Хвалісты папугай

Bulgarian: Вълнист папагал

Catalan: Periquito

Chinese: 虎皮鸚鵡

Croatian: Tigrica

Czech: Andulka vlnkovaná

Dansk: Undulat

Dutch: Grasparkiet

Finnish: Undulaatti

Flemish: Grasparkiet

French: Perruche Ondulée

German: Wellensittich

Hebrew: תוכון

Hungarian: Hullámos papagáj

Ido: Perucho

Italian: Melopsittacus

Japanese: セキセイインコ
Korean: 사랑앵무

Lithuanian: Banguotoji papūgėlė
Navajo Language: Tsídii yáłtiʼí yázhí

Norwegian: Undulat

Persian: مرغ عشق

Polish: Papużka falista

Portuguese: Periquito-australiano

Romanian: Peruş

Russian: Волнистый попугайчик

Sami Language: Unduláhtta

Scottish Gaelic: Buidsidh

Slovak: Papagájec/Andulka

Slovenian: Papagájec

Swedish: Undulat

Tagalog: Melopsittacus Undulatus / Budgerigar

Telugu: మెలోప్సిట్టాసిని
Turkish: Muhabbet kuşu

Ukrainian: Хвилястий папужка

Urdu: بجریگر

If you know their name in even more languages, please let me know! Thanks!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Can budgerigars and cockatiels live together?

As a general rule, people advise not to mix any parrot species at all, due to various reasons.

The majority of people who've had both cockatiels and budgies in the same aviary, say the following things (based on personal experience) :
  • Cockatiels have a different diet and need more space than budgies
  • Budgies would play with the cockatiel, while cockatiels prefer to be left alone (this may result in a fight)
  • A weak or breeding bird of one species will be teased by the birds of the other species
  • Any conflict between a cockatiel and a budgie is in the budgie's disadvantage, since cockatiels are bigger and generally more aggressive (one example is the horror story of a cockatiel who bit off a budgie's foot during a fight)
So it's probably not a good idea. Of course, each bird has its own personality and some are more peaceful and tolerant than others. If you want to take the risk to keep budgerigars and cockatiels together, you should introduce them slowly to each other on neutral ground. This way, none of the birds will see each other as an intruder and start a fight. Keep them in apart cages and take them out together so that they can play and become friends. When everything goes well, you could risk putting them together, as long as you make sure there is plenty of space in the cage. When they fight, you will have to keep them apart because they might not stop and hurt each other. But it's not all bad news. Some people had a budgie and a cockatiel. The cockatiel loved to preen the budgie and talked to it a lot. He even taught the budgie to sing a little. So it really depends on the personality of the bird, and how careful you are as an owner.

Other posts in this series:
Can budgerigars and lovebirds live together?
Can budgerigars and canaries live together?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dancing Budgie

The title says it all ;)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Budgerigar Health

You always have to keep a close eye on your budgie's health. Be sure to weigh him regularly, as weight loss is one of the easiest ways to find out your budgie is sick.

It's very important that your budgie has a balanced and healthy diet of seed, fruit and vegetables and pellets (without preservatives, artificial flavourings, added sugars or colorings).
Budgerigars need plenty of time out of their cage in order to stay healthy and fit. Many budgies don't grow older than 5 or 10 years because most people give the wrong diet to their budgies, or keep them locked up in their cage.

How to recognize a healthy budgie?

A healthy budgie has bright clear eyes, a slim acrobatic shape and strong shiny bright feathers.
Healthy budgies also have a shiny beak (non-flaky or crusty cere). Another good sign is when they're very lively and enthusiastic and fly about all day long, chattering happily.

How to recognize a sick budgie?

If your budgie sits huddled up on the floor, you can be sure he is ill. Or when he just sits on the perch with his eyes closed, using both his feet to rest. It's always better to take your budgie to the avian vet quickly in that case, although they don't always know the answer. My mum was told once that one of our budgies had cancer and that he wouldn't last longer than 2 weeks. Today it's almost one year later, and he is the healthiest budgie of the whole flock!

Other symptoms:

  • poop change, runny/lack of droppings
  • poop stuck to vent
  • decrease talking/activity
  • picking/plucking at feathers (not regular preening)
  • feathers dirty/stuck together/ratty
  • discharge from eyes/nose/beak
  • abnormal breathing
  • dull/swollen/runny/cloudy eyes
  • falling off perch
  • hunched over
  • lumps/bumps/sores or swelling
  • weight loss
  • not eating
  • weak/fluffed up
  • tail bobbing
  • bleeding
  • convulsing
  • runny/inflamed cere
  • vomiting (not the regurgitation they do as part of bonding)
Symptom list (c)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Wing Clipping

Do you want to be your budgie's friend? Do you want to be there for him, comfort him and gain his trust, so he can be sure that he is in safe hands?

I suppose the answer is yes, otherwise you wouldn't decide on buying a budgerigar.

Some people like to clip their budgie's wings. Their main reasons are so that the budgie can't escape or hurt itself while flying in the room. There are also stories of budgies with an "agressive" behaviour that get a lot calmer after their wings are trimmed. Some other people just like to clip their budgie's wings because they want their budgies to be tame. That's the "easy way", you know.

My answer to this is very simple: you can avoid all this trouble without even touching their wings.

Budgies are airborne creatures that need to fly around every day. But you can't let them escape out into the wilderness where they will only perish. So you must let them do it indoors.

Here you can find a checklist to make sure the rooms are clear of hazards when your budgie wants to fly around inside. Don't come up with lousy excuses like "I don't want my budgie to get hurt so I have to keep him in the cage", just clear a safe path for him. If you don't allow your budgie to fly around freely, you're not suited to be a budgie owner.

If you have an "aggressive" budgie, don't just brutally clip his/her wings but try to get to the source of the problem. The budgie may be stressed, or jealous (e.g. when you're keeping two females and one male). Or maybe they're living in a space that is too small? After you find out what the problem is, get to the solution. Remove the element that causes the budgie to be stressed (this could be an annoying noise like a barking dog, the rattling of a child toy, the buzzing of a lawn mower) or just move your budgie to a quiet room. In the case of jealousity, you can temporarily keep the two females apart until they both calmed down. Of course, when you clip their wings, they calm down because they're too scared to make a wrong manoeuvre and fall down without being able to fly back up again. Wouldn't you be?

Besides, there are very few to no conflicts between budgerigars. They love playing and they might go as far as playfighting, but they would never injure each other. When it comes to breeding, they might be a bit more aggressive. But then again, it usually doesn't go any further than a single peck that serves as a warning.

If you want to tame your budgie, you have to do it kindly. Clipping their wings is not kind at all. There's not only a high risk of hurting them, but you're also horrifying your budgie while you are doing it. For the rest of your life, he will regard you as the monster who stole his wings so that he cannot be a real budgerigar anymore. Real budgerigars need to fly.
With doing it kindly, I mean that you have to gain his trust. Whisper soft words to him, feed him little tidbits of food, just talk to him and tell him you're there for him and care about him. After a while, he will come to you automatically and offer you his friendship in return for your kindness.

Do you want to know why I'm writing this? Today, my mum bought a young dark green budgie in the local pet store. The little budgie is not even eight months old. When I saw him, I immediately saw the horrible thing they had done with his right wing. His breeder has cut HALF of his wing off. It looked so ugly that I was amazed that the budgie had survived it. If you still want to have your budgie's wings trimmed - consider all of the above facts first. The budgie that my mum brought in today is not able to fly and flutters around like a drunk hurricane. This can be just as dangerous as letting a budgie fly around in the room - and much harder to avoid accidents.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Budgie Body Language (3)

Despite their enthusiastic and lively nature, budgies can be shy too. When you're making a budgie shy, you will notice how he suddenly looks the other way, a little confused. He might start preening his feathers, scratch himself or peck at some random grains. Amazing how much this resembles our human body language!

Other posts in this series:
Body Language of a sleeping budgie
Body Language of a preening budgie (Budgie Body Language 1)
Budgie Body Language (2)

Budgie Body Language (4)

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Here's another funny budgerigar comic (click on image to enlarge) :

I actually really enjoy listening to singing budgerigars :) they make me happy.

Comic by a certain Matthew a.k.a. "meta"

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Budgerigars are still Free

A lot of wild budgerigars still live in the Australian Outback, facing many dangers.

But they are free. Australia has banned the catching and trading of wild budgerigars in 1894.

Image (c)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Beneficial Effects of Millet and How Budgies Worship it

Budgies absolutely go crazy for spray millet (NL "Trosgierst"). They love it like most people love chocolate. But too much of this seed will make them avoid other healthy food like fresh fruit and vegetables. They will overeat and become addicted to it if given the chance, so offer it only a few times a week.

Millet, however, can be very healthy if they don't eat too much of it. It has a whole range of beneficial effects and can even cure budgies that are ill.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Budgie Calendar

I've been looking for a budgie calendar among all the animal calendars for 2011, but couldn't find any. They sell it on Amazon, though :) Look at the cute budgie on the cover!

This could be a nice Christmas gift! :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Good nutrition is the foundation of your budgie's health.

"How many times have you heard someone say, “You are what you eat”? Indeed, it’s an old saying, but in this health-conscious era, it’s one that still holds meaning. While good nutrition is an important adage for humans to heed, it is perhaps even more important for budgies. With birds, every meal is significant and should be as balanced and as healthy as possible."

- Nikki Moustaki,

Image (c)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Are Albino/Lutino budgies blind?

I've read some rumors that say that Albino/Lutino budgies (budgies that are all white or all yellow with red eyes) are possibly blind or suffer from extremely diminished vision. This is merely a myth. Albino and Lutino budgies are able to see just as much as other budgies.

The "ino" gene in Albino and Lutino budgies removes all the melanin (substance that creates the dark colours) in the budgie's colour scheme. The dark color of the eye is gone, leaving a red eye with the white iris ring. You can see this clearly on the budgie on the left.

Information and images (c)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Draw a Budgie

I like budgies and I like drawing, so I tried to mousedraw two sweet budgies on
I know it looks like total crap, but what matters is that those budgies get better.
The budgie on the left is called Neo and on the right is Ni-Elv a.k.a. Het Wit Zingbeest ("the White Singing Beast"). They are both ill right now and I really want them to get better.

Image created at
Wanna try drawing a budgie yourself? Go HERE!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Budgie locks up Cat in his cage

It looks like a Sylvester and Tweety cartoon, but this is reality: one day, a budgie decided to leave his cage to taunt his feline playfellow. He hopped on the sleeping cat, trying to get his attention, but the cat simply ignored him at first. After being repeatedly pecked on, the cat's hunting instinct started stirring and so he jumped to his feet.
This was just the moment the budgie had been waiting for: as the cat gave chase, the budgie led it straight into his cage. Just like in the cartoons, the bird wins from the cat. But this game may not last and will become dangerous once the cat grows up.

The game has only started: cheeky budgie pecks on the dozing kitten

This is where the kitten gets annoyed and loses his patience with the budgie

The budgie led the kitten straight into the cage, where he is now locked up. On top of the cage, a victorious budgie looking down on the kitten.

Information and pictures (c)
Read the full story here!

Friday, November 19, 2010

How old is my budgie? (3)

Age test 3/3

If you buy your budgie, he may have an ID band around one of his legs. If you take a closer look, you can see numbers and letters. If there aren't any numbers or letters on it, then it's a family band or "split band" - a coloured band that is split on one side so it can be placed and removed on a bird at any moment in his life. Breeders use this to keep track of the family line of the budgie. But it won't tell you anything about the budgie's age.

Left leg: ID band. Right leg: family band. The ringing itself often happens before the budgie is 10 days old.

On the ID ring, you can read the following information in this order:
  • The company who distributed the band
  • The breeder's number and/or initials
  • The year the budgie was hatched in (usually the two last digits of the year are displayed)
  • Serial/pedigree number of the budgie (example: if it says "29", then this budgie is the 29th budgie hatched that year)
You can also check the ID band colour. Different colours represent different years, it's an easier but less reliable way to find out how old your budgie is. You can find a short list on the ID band colours here. For the new six-year cycle that started in 2009, go here.

In Belgium, the system is pretty much the same. There are the so-called "open rings" (family bands) to keep the different families apart. To get hold of the "closed rings" (ID bands), you have to be a member of a bird/budgerigar club. On these rings, you can find the following information:
  • Serial/pedigree number, chosen by the breeder (max. 3 digits and 3 letters)
  • The initials of the budgerigar/bird club the breeder belongs to
  • A digit or number that says how many rings the breeder already owns (if it says "17", it is your 17th ring)
  • The year that the budgie was hatched in
You can choose between a regular, silver or coloured ring.

Information and images (c);

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How old is my budgie? (2)

The second age test involves the colour of your budgies' eyes.

The eyes of young budgies will mostly be black. As they get older, the iris gradually becomes light grey/brown and then eventually turns to very light grey/brown.

Left: Baby budgie's eyes will be black for most varieties. Age: 0-4 months old.
Right: A budgie with a dark grey iris. Age: around 4-6 months old

Left: A budgie with medium grey irises. Age: approximately 6-8 months.
Right: A budgie with very light-coloured irises. Age: 8 months and older.

Again, there are exceptions:

  1. Lutino/Albino, Lacewing and Fallow: these red-eyed varieties always have a light-coloured (pink) iris.
  2. Recessive Pied and Dark-Eyed Clear: these varieties always have dark eyes.
Images and information (c)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How old is my budgie? (1)

There are at least three ways to approximate the age of your budgie.

Age test 1/3: check the budgie's cap feathers.

Young budgies have bars on their head running all the way down to the cere. When a budgie is about 4 months old, he will go through his first molt. The top feathers on the head will be replaced by feathers that are no longer striped. Therefore you can determine that a budgie with a striped cap is less than 3 to 4 months old, while a budgie with a clear white or yellow cap is older than 3 to 4 months.

Exception! Lutino or Albino budgies don't have the usual feather markings and therefore this age test cannot be applied to them. The same goes for Recessive Pied budgies.

Left: compare the older bird on the left and the younger one on the right
Right: this age test cannot be applied on a recessive pied budgie

Information and pictures (c)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Happy Budgies - The Sounds of Wild Budgerigars

"Recorded in the deserts of Australia - the home of the Budgerigar - this album presents the calls and songs of wild Budgerigars.

Communally roosting Budgies awake at first light, chattering amiably, before fluttering off in small groups to feed. Throughout the day they are heard communicating socially while interacting, feeding and preening, including contented, quiet subsong.

As well as Budgies, you will hear a range of Australia's inland birdlife. Budgies are very social and vocal birds, and this recording is intended to bring health-promoting stimulation to pet birds and relaxing listening for their owners."

Huge flock of twittering budgies!

The ancestors of our pet budgerigars live together as one flock in their natural surroundings in Australia. As long as there is no danger, they are twittering and singing happily. The voices of other budgies indicate that your budgie is in a safe place and comforts him, because after all, he is in a strange world as a pet. Budgies know instinctively that there is no danger as long as the other budgies keep on singing. If you have budgies, you probably heard them go quiet sometimes, sometimes very abruptly, in the middle of a song. This means your budgies are alert or sense danger. If you want to make your budgies happy and less stressed, you should listen to "Happy budgies" together with them, to make them feel safe and at home. On the website of Listening Earth , you can learn more about the record and buy the mp3-download of the album.

Information (c)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

"Parakeet" vs. "Budgerigar"

From the encyclopaedia Britannica:

"PARAKEET, also spelled PARRAKEET can refer to any of numerous seed-eating parrots of small size, slender build and long, tapering tail. In this sense, the name is given to some 115 species in 30 genera of the subfamily Psittacinae (family Psittacidae) and has influenced another parrot name, lorikeet." The Loriinae (lories and lorikeets) are also considered to be a subfamily of the True Parrot family - the Psittacidae.

Left: the True Parrots are about 330 species of bird belonging to the Psittacidae family
Right: a Lorikeet drinking. They have specialized brush-tipped tongues for feeding on nectar and soft fruits.

"PARAKEETS occur worldwide in warm regions; they are abundant from India and Sri Lanka to Australia and the Pacific Islands, throughout Southeast Asia, and in tropical America. Typically they form large flocks and may be serious pests in grainfields. Most species lay four to eight eggs in a tree hole. Dozens of colourful kinds are kept as pets. All are highly active and need much room; most are pugnacious—notably when paired—toward other birds; and a few become good, though small-voiced, mimics. Many colour varieties and intergeneric hybrids are known in the wild as well as in aviaries."

Picture: a trained Indian Ringneck Parakeet plays basketball with his owner

"The most popular caged PARAKEET is the BUDGERIGAR, or shell parakeet (Melopsittacus undulatus). Mistakenly called "lovebird", this 19-cm (7.5-inch) parakeet has hundreds of colour mutations from the green and yellow basic stock; but cheek spots and close barring on the upper parts usually persist. Sexes look alike but may differ seasonally in colour of the cere, the bare skin at the base of the bill. Budgerigars are seed eaters; in the wild, they form large flocks in Australia’s grasslands. They breed colonially, in tree holes, laying six to eight eggs twice a year. Most budgerigars are hardy, surviving for 5 to 10 years."

Picture: a budgie and a lovebird, sharing a meal. These birds are often confused with each other, and in most cases they are even enemies.

"The Australian parakeets, or rosellas, Platycercus species, have scalloped backs and underparts, black shoulders, distinctive cheek and throat markings, and long, broad tails that are centrally greenish or bluish with a blue and white margin. The seven species, averaging 26–36 cm (10–14 inches) in length, are also called harrakeets. The smaller broad-tailed parrots are the five species of Psephotus, which have no specific group name."

Left: Platycernus Eximius or Eastern Rosella
Right: Psephotus Dissimilis or Hooded Parrot

Information (c) Encyclopaedia Britannia
Pictures (c) Wikipedia