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Budgie Parakeet

Budgie Parakeet

Experience level: beginner
Lifespan: approximately 8-20 years
Size: approximately 7″-7.5″ in length
Voice Volume: Quite
Price Range: $10 to $60
Parrot Talking Ability: Excellent

The budgie parakeet (the ‘Budgerigar’ or simply the ‘Parakeet’) is the most popular pet parrot in the world. They were discovered by Europeans in Australia back in the mid-1800s and their fame spread fast!

Wild budgies are extremely nomadic and live in flocks which can contain over 100 strong if food is plentiful. They are usually found throughout the drier parts of Australia and have survived for the last five million years in the harsh inland conditions of that continent.

Parakeet color variations and domestication

People started breeding budgie parakeets in captivity as early as 1850 which makes them some of the first parrots to be successfully bred and fully domesticated. Their natural coloring is mostly green and yellow but breeders have been able to produce a wide variety of colors today. Blue budgies simply lack yellow pigment, yellow budgies lack the blue coloration, and white budgies obviously lack all coloration.

Captive birds can sometimes survive in feral groups if released into the wild. They once had a decent strong hold in Florida. This of course should never be done intentionally because the introduction of a foreign species can cause havoc on a local ecosystem.

Budgie Parrot Talking Ability

All budgies can learn to mimic human speech if they spend a lot of one on one time with people. Budgies are considered one of the best talking parrots on the market. Males tend to be the better talking parrots and their skills put them up against the African Grey Parrot, the Amazon parrot, the Eclectus Parrot and the Ring-necked Parakeet.

A budgerigar named Puck holds the world record for the largest vocabulary of any bird, at 1,728 words. Puck, a male budgerigar owned by American Camille Jordan, died in 1994, with the record first appearing in the 1995 edition of Guinness World Records.

It’s important to note that many budgies are quite talkers unlike African Greys or Amazon Parrots that can be heard clearly. See the talking budgie videos below to learn how they sound.

Taming a budgie

Budgie Parakeets

Budgie Parakeets

Many people think that budgies are hands off birds that should stay in their cages. This myth is due to the way budgies are usually raised and sold. Many pet stores keep them in large groups and most breeders do not handle the young. These birds never get the chance to socialize with humans and tend to be frightened of them. To cure an old bird of this may be tricky but it’s possible if you buy your birds one at a time. Work with the bird every day by feeding treats by hand until you gain the bird’s trust. Once your bird comes to you and lets you handle him, you can add another budgie if you would like.

Budgies tend to be the best talkers when they are only allowed to socialize with humans and are kept away from other birds. Keep in mind that if you decide to go that route, you will need to spend at least 4 hours a day with your bird to give him the minimal social stimulation he needs.

Budgies are often over looked

Budgies have a reputation of being a ‘throw away pet’ or a ‘beginner bird’ for kids. This is, of course, a horrible way to think about any living creature, let alone a creature that is so intelligent, beautiful, and loving as a budgie. These are among the best pets a person could ever have.

Basic Care Info

Not less than 76cm (30 in) long.

Bathing; foot toys, destructible (non-toxic) toys, non-destructible (non-toxic plastic) toys, food-finder toys, preening toys, different texture and size hanging perch toys, fir branches, push-and-pull toys (sliding up and down), vegetable tanned leather toys.

Nest Box Size:
8″ x 6″ x 6″ (20.3cm x 15cm x 15cm) or 6″ x 6′ x 6″ (15cm x 15cm x 15cm) vertical box.

Clutch Size:
4 to 8

Incubation Time:
18 days

Fledging Age:
30 days

Further Reading

Cool Budgie Parakeet Videos

Budgie Parrot Talking Skills

How to Set up a cool Budgie Parakeet Cage

How to tell when your parakeet is sick

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Photo by Eli Duke

Experience level: advanced
Lifespan: approximately 50-60 years
Size: approximately 10″-14″ in length
Voice Volume: Extremely Loud
Price Range: $1,000 to $2,000
Parrot Talking Ability: Excellent

African Grey Parrots are mid sized birds native to the rainforests of West and Central Africa. In the wild they live in flocks ranging from small families to groups of over 100. They are considered to be among the most intelligent and highly social of all birds in the Pet trade. In captivity they have a reputation of being the best talkers of all parrots but not all Greys will learn to talk, so don’t buy one if speech is all you want out of your bird.

African Grey Feather Plucking

Photo by Joel Zimmer

If you want to buy an African Grey parrot, make sure you have plenty of time to spend one on one with your bird. These guys need at least 4 hours of interaction a day along with plenty of things to do in their cages like foraging for food and chewing on toys. Due to the African Grey’s high intelligence and sociability, a life in captivity can be very difficult for this species of bird to handle if they don’t get enough attention and things to do. African Greys can easily acquire mental illness if they are under-stimulated. These illnesses usually manifest themselves in the form of feather plucking, self mutilation, aggression, or extreme phobias of anything new. In other words, if you do not have plenty of time and energy to spend with a pet, THIS IS NOT THE BIRD FOR YOU!

African Grey Parrot Talking Ability

Grey parrots are among the best talkers in the parrot world. Einstein the African Grey at the Tennessee Knoxville Zoo knows over 100 words that she can say on cue!  These birds usually don’t start talking until they are 1 to 2 years old but some may take even longer to learn. It is important to note that even though Congo and Timneh Agrican Greys are famous for their parrot talking skills,  some individual birds never learn to talk at all. If you want a talker guaranteed, buy a bird that is already talking.

The African Grey owner should expect to hear regular renditions of the microwave, telephone, alarm clock, dripping water, wild birds, video games, and any other sound that is often heard by the parrot. Also keep in mind that these birds can get loud. Make sure you have a place for your bird’s cage where his loud voice won’t disturb your neighbors.

Types of African Greys

Congo African Grey and Timneh African Grey

Photos by Snowmanradio and Michael Gwyther-Jones

There are two major kinds of African Greys: The popular Congo African Grey, and the lesser known Timneh African Grey. The Congos have the red tails and black beaks while the Timneh have black tails and a light spot on the upper mandible (jaw bone). Some people claim that the Timneh African Grey is more peaceful than the Congo African Grey.

Captive Bred or Wild Caught?

Both birds (the Congo and the Timneh) are readily available in the pet trade and are easily bred in captivity. DO NOT PURCHASE A WILD CAUGHT BIRD, doing so would be contributing to this species’ extinction in the wild.

Read More about Greys:

Cool African Grey Videos:

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