A Guide to Pet Budgie Birds

The little budgie is a popular option as a pet

The little budgie bird is one of the most popular pets in the world, ranking just behind dogs and cats, and it's no wonder. This affectionate, cute bird is small and inexpensive, and if trained properly a budgie can mimic human speech. The origin of its formal name-- Budgerigar-- is a mystery, but by any name, this little bird is a charming companion for most pet owners. 

Budgies aren't all fun and games, though, so before you bring one home, make sure you're not in for any surprises....MORE Here are some key things to know about budgie birds. 

  • 01 of 06
    courtship of kissing Budgerigars
    Floridapfe from S.Korea Kim in cherl/Moment/Getty Images

    Some people refer to budgies by their full name (Budgerigars), and some call them parakeets. Neither is exactly wrong, but neither is 100 percent correct, either. There are many different types of parakeets, and they come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Some parakeets, like the Indian Ringneck Parakeet, are very large, reaching lengths of up to 16 inches from head to tail, while budgies are much smaller. Because of these vast differences in size and more, it is more accurate to refer...MORE to these birds by their true name.

  • 02 of 06
    Budgie at Franklin Park Zoo
    "Budgie @ Franklin Park Zoo" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Sarah&Boston

    They're not the smallest parrots -- that distinction belongs to the parrotlet -- but budgies are quite tiny. Most budgies in captivity average between 7 or 8 inches from the beak to the tip of the tail. Wild budgies in their native habitat of Australia are even smaller. 

  • 03 of 06
    Budgies
    "Together" (CC BY 2.0) by __MaRiNa__

    Not many people realize that there are actually two distinct types of budgies -- the traditional Budgerigar, hailing from Australia, and the larger English budgie, bred in England specifically for show and the pet trade. While the two are clearly both budgies, there are differences when they're observed side by side. English budgies are usually 1 to 2 inches longer than their Australian counterparts and have decidedly larger heads and puffier feathers around their faces and crowns.

  • 04 of 06
    Budgerigar [Parakeet]
    jeridu / Getty Images

    There's no way to guarantee that your budgie, or any other parrot, will learn to "speak." However, budgies certainly have a knack for it, and many times they speak with greater clarity and broader vocabularies than larger parrot species such as Macaws and Cockatoos.

    While their voices are small and gravelly-sounding, budgies have an impressive ability to pick up on human words and phrases, and even using them in proper context sometimes. They are a great choice for those new to bird...MORE ownership who want to own a talking parrot.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06
    Grey budgie standing apart from green budgies
    Michael Blann / Getty Images

    While people are normally accustomed to seeing a variety of colored budgies for sale in pet shops, the only natural color of budgies in the wild is the yellow/green variety. All other budgies, including the blue budgies, white budgies, and others, are color mutations bred specifically for the pet trade. There's nothing wrong with these birds, but don't expect to see a blue budgie in the wild. 

  • 06 of 06
    Close-Up Of Budgerigar Eating Fruit
    Hani-Hans Mograby / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Since they're small, budgies are relatively inexpensive to care for and feed. But contrary to popular belief, a diet consisting only of seeds is not good for a small bird like a budgie, and can even cause health problems. Instead, veterinarians recommend a budgie diet that includes pellets and fresh fruits and vegetables including leafy greens. It's OK to feed budgies seeds as part of this diet, as long as they're getting enough nutrients from other foods.