What is a Budgie?

Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders

Although budgies are often called parakeets, they are actually birds of the species Melopsittacus Undulatus. The term parakeet is a generic label used to describe any small, parrot-like bird that has a long tail. Generally, the color of the cere — the fleshy area above its beak where its nostrils are — is the best indicator of a pet budgie's sex. A male budgie will typically have a blue cere or it may be pink or pinkish purple in color. A female budgie will usually have a brown, white, light beige, or a reddish cere. Female budgies also have whitish rings around their nostrils.

The budgerigar is also known as the common parakeet.
The budgerigar is also known as the common parakeet.

Budgies are popular pets because they are relatively easy to care for. A budgie needs a cage that is at least 12"x18"x18" (30.48 x 45.72 x 45.72 cm), although larger cages are preferable if you have the extra room. Many experts recommend you purchase a cage with securely locked doors, since it’s common for pet budgies to learn how to open a basic lift-up door.

You can feed your budgie special bird seed purchased from a pet store or make your own homemade budgie cookies and biscuits to provide a fun treat. Pet budgies do not need grit in their diets, although a budgie should be offered cuttlebone or other types of mineral blocks on a regular basis. Budgies should also be provided with fruits and vegetables daily.

Budgies are very intelligent and adaptable birds. They are highly active and love to play with toys made from leather string, stainless steel clips, key rings, and wooden spools. Budgies are generally good around children, although you’ll need to provide close adult supervision in order to ensure that your child doesn’t accidentally injure the bird while playing.

In most cases, a pet budgie will live between ten and twenty years. The most common causes of death for budgies are poisonings from household chemicals and accidents resulting from owner carelessness. To keep your budgie safe, keep all cleaning or personal care products in a secure area and never allow your budgie out of his cage when unattended.

When you have a pet budgie, it’s very important to develop a close relationship with a local avian veterinarian. Although budgies are very susceptible to tumors, many people fail to catch their pet’s initial signs of illness and don’t get treatment for their budgie until it is too late. Seek immediate medical care for your bird if you notice that your budgie is chirping less than usual, sleeping excessively, not eating properly, or losing interest in playing with his toys.

Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders

Dana holds a B.A. in journalism and mass communication from the University of Iowa. She has loved being part of the wiseGEEK team ever since discovering the joys of freelance writing after her son was born. Dana also hones her writing skills by contributing articles to various blogs, as well as creating sales copy and content for e-courses.

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Discussion Comments


I have recently bought two budgies. I am a first time budgie owner. Lola is the female, an English budgie, and Lemon, male, is an American budgie. They are getting on great in their cage (58X36X51cm) which I believe is a very good size for two budgies. We do not intend to breed them and we don't have a nesting box, so it's very unlikely that they will. Any tips for first time budgie owners?


I let my budgie out of cage as much as I can supervise him and after a couple hours of frolicking and flying around the apartment he returns to his cage voluntarily to eat, drink and rest. He also likes to play with his cage toys.

Because of such relative freedom I have no problem putting him in the cage whenever I need to - just by offering him my finger and carrying him there. The bird has to perceive his cage not as a prison, but as a home. Moreover, all creatures need exercise and allowing the bird to fly a minimum of 1 hour a day is essential for its happiness and longevity. Of course, it also calls for precautions and supervision.

Before opening the cage door, make sure there are no containers with water deep enough for the bird to drown, check if all windows are closed or protected by mosquito screen, keep doors open and (very important!) look under your feet at all times and never run around the apartment. Make sure other family members are consistent on that.


spasiba, you have to train your bird right. my birds come out the cage freely when i open it, and go back for food and water when they want.


Some people mistakenly believe that letting their pet bird out of the cage and letting them fly in the room is a good exercise. It can prove to be problematic on many levels.

The bird might not listen and return to the cage.

Since birds need to drink and eat frequently they can get exhausted rather quickly and collapse. Add to that the clean up of their droppings, it is just not worth risking the well being of the pet, and the comfort of the owner.

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