Budgerigars

The Budgie

The proper name for this species of parrot is the Budgerigar but many people just  refer to them as “Parakeets” They ARE considered a parakeet but there are many other species of parakeet as well as the Budgerigar. In the pet bird hobby, most aviculturists just nickname them Budgies.

These cuties are native to Australia, and are extremely popular pets. In fact, they are the most popular bird to own, as 45% of birds kept in aviculture are actually budgies.

You have probably seen them every time that you walk into a pet store. Large chains like Petco and PetSmart almost always have budgies for sale. I am dating myself here, but I remember when Woolworth’s used to carry them, which was a large department store back in the 70s.

In fact, budgies are the third most poplar pet to own after the dog and cat! If you think these charming little birds would make a great pet, it turns out a lot of other people feel the same way.

Similar to lovebirds, it is recommended that you get more than one budgie unless you plan on spending an enormous amount of time with your bird. They travel in flocks like all parrots do and are extremely social.

Unlike the feisty lovebird, however, it is much easier to introduce budgies to one another and more often than not they will get along famously. This would make sense since I always see at least 15 or so budgies together in the pet store and they never seem to be squabbling.

More Facts

There are two types of budgerigar in the pet trade consisting of the Australian Budgie which is the most common, and the English Budgie which is twice as large and considered a show bird.

Pictured above the English Budgie (notice difference in the facial appearance)

Unlike many other parrots, you CAN tell the difference between male and female budgies based on the color of their upper beak called the cere.  At an early age, it is difficult to decipher, but as the bird matures, the male budgie has a distinctly blue or purple cere color and females are primarily brown or beige with white spots on the cere.

The natural coloring of a budgie in the wild is green with  mottled grey along the wings. Pictured  above : an example of a wild Australian Budgie

Breeders have morphed many color mutations for the pet trade and for bird shows, so these birds are now available in a myriad of shades and may be why you see them sometimes sold as “Fancy Parakeets.”

This either means it is an English budgie or it has a rare morph mutation of colors. Many breeders have lightened the grey mottle into pastel shades along the wing area and some are pure white or solid in color

Pictured above: a great example of color morphing and one of my personal favorites!

Although larger than the parrotlet, Australian budgies are smaller than lovebirds coming in at about 7 inches in length. The English budgie, as stated before, is twice as large and has a few distinct differences in appearance mainly in the face and beak area.

Oddly, the lifespan of a budgie is rather short compared to other parrots.  The average is noted to be around 5-8 yrs. Budgies are also popular with  children because they have a  small beak and are not known to be very nippy.

Big Talkers

Another big surprise with these little birds is the talking ability. Females have been known to say a few words, but the males are the superstar talkers. Although some may never say a word, and that’s okay, others are astounding little chatterboxes.

“Puck” is a male budgie who made it to the pages of the Guinness Book of World Records for speaking 1,728 words and phrases.

HAHA. Yup, it’s a fact.

Another famous little budgie was “Disco” who became an internet sensation via YouTube talking up a storm and saying things like “I’m not a crook” and “don’t put baby in a corner” along with lots of other hilarious ramblings.

Be sure to check him out if you want a good laugh!

In Conclusion

The Budgerigar aka Budgie is a popular little parakeet that can posses a large vocabulary and is a great pet for kids and adults alike. They come in a variety of colors and the English Budgie is twice as large as the Australian besides being a beautiful show parakeet.

I recommend you get two of these birds, as they are really not expensive and enjoy other bird’s company. They can be affectionate with people if treated properly and hand- tamed from a young age.

There are lots of books on Amazon and other information all over the internet on these extremely popular birds, so be sure to check them out and if you are interested in owning one, just be sure to do your research and go for it.

 

Cheers and until next time… Happy Fidding!

 

 

 

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The Parrotlet

Ultimate Pocket Parrot

When people talk about “pocket parrots” quite a few species come to mind. The Parrotlet, the Budgie( proper name Budgerigar) or the  African Lovebird for instance fall into the “pocket parrot” category.

                                Pictured above: Two Pacific Parrotlets

The Ultimate pocket parrot is the parrotlet however, mainly because they are the smallest domestic parrot in the pet trade. There ARE smaller species of parrots in the wild, but they are not kept in Aviculture, which is why Parrotlets are known among the hobby of keeping birds as the smallest parrot you can own.

In my opinion, they are one of the cutest as well. They are a little teacup of a parrot with a hooked bill, beautiful colors, perky and sassy personalities and some can learn up to 100 words and phrases!

Although they are not known for being the best talkers in the parrot trade, many will learn to talk if conditioned properly at a young age. Plus their size and vocal abilities make them great for apartment dwellers or people looking to own a starter parrot and get their feet wet in the aviculture hobby.

Do not misunderstand me however, if you are looking to own a Cockatoo or a Macaw and want to understand aviculture, these little cuties should not be taken for granted or abandoned when you do get your larger birds. These sassy little characters are filled with a big, bold parrot personality and will win your heart over with their adorable appearance as well.

                       Pacific Pied Parrotlet (pictured above)

The Parrotlet’s popularity has been rising among bird keepers and breeders mainly for their adorable demeanor and the convenience of being an apartment dweller and fairly easy to keep. These birds, although small ARE very active so they will need a lot of out-of-cage time in the form of exercise and mental stimulation.

Their care is VERY similar to a lovebird so if you have any questions or concerns about cage size, diet or accessories you will need, just follow the same principles I have applied to lovebird care. They are all in the same category of pocket parrot care but I will specify that parrotlets love swings more than other breeds, so make sure you provide a SWING for  little Tweety.

FACTS

There are many sub-species of Parrotlet however the Pacific Parrotlet and Green-Rumped are the most prevalent in the pet trade.These are the two species I will be referring to in this post, and mainly the Pacific Parrotlet as more times than not, that is the species you will come across in the domestic pet trade.

These little cuties hail from Mexico and other parts of South America mainly in tropical or sub-tropical climates. They like a wide variety of food as well, but if you just stick with millet, a vet-approved pellet and seed mix along with fruits and veggies you should be fine. As stated before, their care and diet needs are very similar to lovebirds.

Please refer to my article on DIET needs if you have any questions or concerns.

These birds can become very affectionate toward their favorite person but will need consistent interaction, as they will become independent without it. This can be a plus if you are not looking for a particularly NEEDY bird. They are capable of being independent and entertaining themselves– similar to lovebirds.

The average lifespan of a well cared for Parrotlet is 15 to 25 yrs and they can be somewhat cage territorial. Keep in mind a bite can hurt but they are rather small so certainly not a dangerous bite.

Because they are completely fearless, they will sometimes aggressively go after dogs and larger birds getting themselves in trouble so be aware of this aggressive, feisty nature and take caution. Again, they are similar to the lovebird in that spunky, sassy temperament and should be regarded as similar in nature and care- giving needs.

In Conclusion

Gaining in popularity, these quintessential POCKET PARROTS are absolutely adorable, can learn to talk and make great starter parrots or pet birds for apartment dwellers.

They can be very affectionate but do need to have consistent interaction. They are also very bold and feisty for a small bird so don’t be fooled by the small size, as they can pack quite a punch with attitude and personality.

They love to snuggle in your hair or inside a pocket of your coat. Just be careful not to sit or step on them because they are so tiny. They also come in a myriad of colors and will win your heart over with their comical demeanor and adorable teacup parrot appearance.

For more information on Parrotlets and their care click HERE

Until next time, CHEERS and Happy Parroting!

 

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Branching Out

Parrots

As most of you know that have been following along, this site is dedicated to lovebird ownership. However, since lovebirds are small parrots and there are so many other species of parrots to own, I thought I would start broadening the subjects covered in this blog to all pet parrots. We will be discussing basic care of lovebirds and other pocket parrots and even talking about the care of the larger species.

Pictured above: Blue Pied Pacific Parrotlet

There isn’t that much difference when it comes to the basics like caging, food, acquiring a good Avian vet, making sure that you can afford a parrot, and if it will fit into your family situation. However, on the other hand, there are some HUGE  differences between owning a Parrotlet and, say, a Macaw.

We will be covering the different types of species and their specific personalities, care and cage requirements. Noise level is very important to understand also, as some birds can be too noisy for apartment living, or if someone in your household is sensitive to a lot of noise.

The last thing you want to do is acquire a bird and then have to give them away over something as trivial as noise level without planning ahead first.

Pictured above: Female Eclectus Parrot

 

Size

Starting out, we will cover the three types of pocket parrots, which are Budgies, Parrotlets and Lovebirds. The medium-sized parrots are Conures, Cockatiels, Quaker Parrots, Caiques and so on.

Lastly, we will discuss larger and more challenging birds such as Cockatoos, Macaws and Eclectus Parrots. Every bird has something special to offer it’s owner and remember even within the same species, every bird has it’s own unique personality.

There are factors we can control to ensure that your parrot is well socialized but other things like hormones and health problems can change that, so it’s important to understand both the good AND bad traits within each species.

I would never want to sugarcoat parrot ownership. As enjoyable and fun as owning a parrot is, there are plenty of challenges and downsides. The most important thing to do is take your time, do your research and don’t make an uneducated or impulsive decisions no matter how cute that little birdie in the window is!

Don’t forget some species of parrots can live to be almost 80 yrs old so this is a huge commitment and in many cases, the bird will out live YOU. A responsible bird owner would want to make plans for the future care of the bird and many other considerations.

Pictured above: Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo

Parrots mate for life and are extremely sensitive. They can and will bond very strongly to a member of the family and this is nothing to take lightly. Yes, they can love again and attach to another bird or person, but you don’t want to treat bird ownership carelessly from the start. Birds can become heartbroken and self-destructive, it’s a fact.

 

Hazards

Certain species come with hazards of ownership that are important to understand. For instance a Macaw has an extremely large beak and a bite could be potentially dangerous. If you have small children in your household, this is something to consider.

While many Macaws are very sweet if socialized properly, most birds go through a hormonal change and their personalities can drastically change along with the hormones.

Birds can become very jealous of the attention that their favorite owner is getting and could potentially attack another person due to this jealousy. It is a known fact that this happens quite often and could prove to be very dangerous if your bird is large and has a strong bite.

I would never recommend that anyone start off owning a Macaw or Cockatoo without prior bird ownership and education along with experience working with large parrots. There is just too much that can go wrong.

Stay tuned and Happy Parroting!

 

 

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