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image: budgie.jpg

Common Name: Budgerigar
Scientific Name: Melopsittacus undulatus

Size: 7 inches (18 cm) Note: Budgerigars have been bred down and up in sizes from American Parakeet (5-6 inches (13-15cm)) to the English Budgie (10 inches (25.5cm)).

Habitat:Australia; occurs naturally throughout much of mainland Australia, but is absent from the far south-west, the north of the Northern Territory, Tasmania and the majority of the east coast. Budgerigars are nomadic and large flocks of birds can be seen in most open habitat types, but seldom far from water. Very large flocks, numbering occasionally in the tens of thousands, are seen after a season of abundant rainfall and food. Flocks are usually much smaller, however, and range from as few as three birds up to 100 or more. Birds in a flock fly in a characteristic undulating manner.

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: Unknown.

Diet: Spinifex seeds, grass seeds, and ripening wheat. Birds in captivity also eat fruits and vegetables such as apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries, carrots, unsprayed lettuces, parsley, peaches and spinach.

Breeding: Breeding generally takes place between June and September in the North and between August and January in the South. The nesting takes place in a tree cavity, fence post or even a log laying on the ground. 4-6 eggs are incubated for 17-19 days, with the young fledging about 30 days after hatching.

Cool Facts: While many Americans refer to the Budgerigar as a parakeet, the term “Budgie” is more common. The term “Parakeet” refers to a number of small parrots with long flat tails. I’m sure much to the Budgies’ dismay, the term “Budgerigar” comes from an Aborigine phrase that means "good to eat". It is believed to be the most common pet parrot in the world, and it has been bred in captivity since the 1850s.

There are currently over 32 primary mutations in the Budgerigar Parakeet enabling hundreds of possible secondary mutations (stable combined primary mutations) & color varieties (unstable combined mutations). Breeders have worked over the decades to produce a wide range of color and feather mutations. Feather mutations can produce crests or very long shaggy feathers.

Both male and female budgerigars sing and can learn to mimic sounds, however it is much more pronounced in males. Budgies are, as are all parrots, intelligent and very social animals. They need and enjoy interaction with humans or other budgerigars and the stimulation of toys. A common behavior is the chewing of material such as wood, especially for female budgerigars.

Budgerigars in the wild are nomadic birds found in open habitats, primarily in scrublands, open woodlands and grasslands of Australia. The birds are normally found in small flocks, but can form very large flocks if the conditions are right. Flock movement is tied to the availability of food and water, and drought conditions will drive flocks into wooded habitats or coastal areas.

Hazards in the house: Common household hazards include fumes from the kitchen (especially fumes from non-stick pans) – Companion birds should never be kept in a kitchen for this reason. They are also sensitive to smoke from cigarettes, aerosol sprays such as deodorant, air freshener and polish. Plug in air fresheners/ stand-alone fan fresheners can be very toxic, as are some scented candles. Chocolate and avocado is very poisonous to most birds.

Found in Pet Shop and Songbird ReMix Australia Volume III

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