The Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) – or budgie – is a small Australian bird. It is also called the Common Parakeet or Shell Parakeet.
The Budgerigar in the wild is green (on the body) and yellow (on the head) with black scalloped markings on the neck, back, and wings. In captivity, there are many colours, such as blue, white, yellow, and grey. It has cheek spots that are usually blue or grey, with three black spots across each side of its throat. Its beak is pearl or clear, with a pearl-white cere, and is down facing. Its legs are blue-grey. It has a long, blue tail.
It grows to about 18 centimetres (7 inches) tall, with a wingspan of 30 centimetres (12 inches).
It likes dry, open grasslands and scrublands.
The Budgerigar is a nomadic bird, looking for food and water. It eats grass seeds, plants and plant seeds, fruit, and vegetables.
It is found in large flocks. It makes a nest in holes in trees or logs. Females lay 4-6 white eggs, which hatch after 18-21 days. The male Budgerigar feeds the female while she is sitting on her eggs. The young chicks are altricial – blind, naked, and helpless. They gain all of their feathers after about 30 days. They leave the nest after about 6-8 weeks.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM