Animal of the Issue: Budgerigar

"Budgies" have been selectively bred to possess plethora of colorations. Photo Credit / Rebecca Carroll
"Budgies" have been selectively bred to possess plethora of colorations. Photo Credit / Rebecca Carroll

“Budgies” have been selectively bred to possess plethora of colorations.
Photo Credit / Rebecca Carroll

By Briana Magistro
SC Staff Writer

Parrots are known for their bright colors, incredible intelligence, and amiability toward humans.

Did you know that there are many kinds of parrots? Some of these include larger parrots, like Macaws, and also smaller birds, like parakeets.

The parakeet group is one of the smaller parrot groups. This contains birds like lorikeets and this week’s animal, the budgerigar.

The budgerigar, or budgie, is from Australia. It has lived in dry climates for longer than humans have even been around!

They are nomadic and will travel to wherever food is available. Their diet consists of different kinds of seeds and grains.

Since they travel consistently, they don’t typically spend time making their own nests. They simply rest in holes in trees or wood where available.

Budgies tend to stay inland and in open areas unless a lack of food sources pushes them to forests.

These birds typically form flocks, which can be big or small, depending on the availability of resources.

Like most birds, budgies are very social and require a lot of attention when kept as pets. Toys and companions are required to have a happy pet.

Teaching parrots to talk has become popular throughout the years.

Most parrot species, including parakeets like the budgie, have the capability to mimic speech. They possess a number of vocal chords, which allow them to produce many different sounds.

They are highly intelligent and can recognize and repeat some human sounds and songs. Research shows that males have the most speech capability.

Like many other birds and reptiles, budgies are able to see light in the UV range. This is due to the number of cone types in the birds’ eyes. Cones are the part of the eye that helps recognize light.

This adaptation helps birds to see prey from far away, and it also helps to protect them from flying into obstacles.

They are not, however, able to see glass very well.

Budgies are best known for their various colorations.

In the wild, budgies typically have green bodies, black patterns on their wings, and purple cheeks. Color mutations are possible, but not common in wild birds.

Budgies have been selectively bred for over 150 years. They are now available in a plethora of colors, including blue and purple, and they can have various patterns.

Captive breeds are also bigger than the wild type, and they can have more feathers, giving them a fluffier look.

Males and females are easily differentiable. Males typically have a blue beak, while females have a brown beak. This is not always the case in artificial colorations.

The sex of a chick is undistinguishable, as both have pink beaks until they reach maturity.

Budgies form mating pairs. Their breeding season can be either summer or fall, depending on their habitat’s climate.

During the breeding season, budgies do not follow a strict breeding schedule, meaning that all of the budgies in the flock do not have to mate at the same time.

Courtship behavior mostly includes partner feedings, and usually the male will feed the female. Eggs hatch within three weeks.

Chicks are very vulnerable to attacks from non-parent budgies. Typically, this occurs when another mating pair wants the same nesting site.

Chicks may also be born with crippling leg disorders, making it difficult for those affected to compete for food.

Captive birds tend to live shorter lives than wild birds, typically less than 10 years.

Without proper care, budgies can develop many health problems. Some are genetic.

When buying a pet, research the breeder and consult a professional to assure that your budgie has been given proper care and is healthy.

Released birds have been recorded to flock in very warm climates, but these populations do not typically last.

Budgies can be found at most pet store chains. Some zoos, such as Zoo Atlanta in Georgia, exhibit these birds. Due to the budgie’s docility toward humans, some exhibits offer feeding encounters with them!

Remember to always check with a professional when purchasing an exotic pet to ensure healthy conditions and proper animal care practices.

Do not release pets into the wild, as they may become an invasive species and threaten native species in the area.

Visit a friend or relative who has birds to become familiar with the lifestyle of a bird keeper.

Birds can make great companions and even better singers!

Email Briana at:
bmagistro@live.esu.edu

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