Budgies - General

By Gregory Rich, DVM; Laurie Hess, DVM; Rick Axelson, DVM

General Information

The budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulates), also referred to as a parakeet or budgie, is perhaps the most popular pet bird worldwide. This beautiful, small bird originates from the drier regions of Australia. Escaped budgies are establishing themselves as an introduced population in Florida, USA. Their natural habitat is dry open plains, wood lots bordering waterways, and sparsely wooded grasslands.

Budgies are generally very social, gentle, and affectionate in nature. These loving companions interact well with most members of the family. Budgies are inquisitive, active, free spirits who enjoy flying, playing, and chewing. Non-toxic, pet-safe toys should be provided for your budgie's entertainment. Although their voices are not as clear as some of the larger parrots, budgies can develop extensive vocabularies. Talking or mimicking requires some effort and training. Males seem to talk better than females, although both are capable. One endearing trait of a budgie is its cheerful whistling and chatter. With time and effort, budgies can be finger trained, and some even enjoy head scratches and petting.

Purchasing a Budgie

Budgies may be purchased from a pet store, a reputable breeder, or adopted from rescue centers. Young budgies may be easier to tame, train, and adapt readily to new environments and situations. Older, wild, or colony/parent-raised birds may prove more challenging to tame. Hand-raised babies may make better pets since they have been completely socialized with humans. New birds should be exposed early to different events (children and adults, males and females, other pets, car trips, visits to the veterinarian, etc.) to help make them calmer and better adjusted. A lively, alert bird that is not easily frightened is most likely to be a healthy bird. After you obtain a new bird, you should have it examined by a veterinarian experienced with birds.

Veterinary Care

Budgies require semi-annual veterinary health checkups. Your veterinarian can perform a physical examination, grooming (nail or feather trims as necessary), and diagnostic tests when needed. During these checkups, health, nutritional, and maintenance issues can be identified and addressed. Veterinary checkups can help prevent disease, uncover hidden illnesses, and aid in the maintenance of a long-lasting, healthy relationship between you and your bird.

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