Budgerigar

Melopsittacus undulatus

Budgerigars are natives of Australia, and this is the only place where truly wild flocks can be found.

The wild Budgerigar is green and yellow with black, scalloped markings on the nape, back, and wings in the wild. The male has a dark blue cere (skin at the base of the upper mandible surrounding the nostrils). In the female this is brownish when breeding and light blue otherwise.

Since its introduction into captivity, the Budgerigar has been bred into a variety of colour forms, including pure white, blue, yellow, mauve, olive and grey.

Budgerigars occur naturally throughout much of mainland Australia in savannas, grasslands, open forests, grassy woodlands and farmland. They are however absent from the far south-west, the north of the Northern Territory, Tasmania and the majority of the east coast.

Flocks follow rainfall and seasonally abundant seeding grasses. Flocks normally range from 3 to 100 birds, but after rainfall can number in the thousands.

Budgerigars feed almost exclusively on the seeds of native herbs and grasses, such as porcupine grass and saltbush. Seeds are mostly eaten from the ground and the bulk of drinking and feeding activity is in the morning. They congregate at waterholes or tanks with other seed-eating birds, such as pigeons, finches and other parrots. Some Budgies hover above the water to drink, and a few may even settle on the water’s surface. So regular are these daily movements that explorers sometimes followed Budgies because they knew they would lead them to water.

Breeding takes place in response to rainfall. The nest is a bare cavity in a suitable tree branch or in the trunk. The average number of eggs is 5 to 6. The eggs are laid on alternate days; after the first one is laid, there is usually is a two-day gap until the next. Incubation starts after laying the second or third egg. Once incubation has commenced, the female only leave the nest for quick meals, some quick stretches and defecations. The male will stand guard by the nest, he is not allowed to enter,  and he will feed the female at the nests’ entrance.

Lifespan 4-5 years in the wild