Parakeet is the common name for a number of small, usually slender birds of the parrot family, Psittacidae, order Psittaciformes, characterized by long, pointed tails. The best-known parakeet, widely known as the budgerigar, is Melopsittacus undulatus, native to the grasslands and sparsely wooded areas of central and southern Australia, where individuals sometimes gather in enormous flocks.

The budgie is often refered to as a 'parakeet'. The normal budgie has a bright green plumage on the chest. The wings are a mix of green with black. The head of the budgie has black lines covering a yellow head. There are several variations to this basic budgerigar, including yellow, blue (cobolt), violet, and albino. Also, the budgie has been bred in captivity to be larger. This large budgie (sometimes refered to as an English Budgie), has a more pronounced forehead.

Female birds have a brownish cere. The males have a deep blue cere. The color only appears after the bird is about 6 months old. The name 'Budgerigar' is actually derived from the Aboriginal name for the bird. The Aboriginal name translates to 'good eatting'. A few budgies can be taught to talk, but not all will. Hand raised birds are not more likely to tame easier as some people believe since all breeders handle their birds as babies making them used to people. Budgies can be excellent pets if they are treated with love and attention. The budgie is often under estimated as a pet.

Budgerigars are about 18 cm (7 in) long and, in the wild, are finely barred yellow and gray above, with pale green undersides and a bluish tail. The cere, a raised area around the nostrils, is blue in adult males, brown in adult females, and pink in the young. Many budgerigars have been raised in captivity, and they are now available in many color varieties. They are nomadic birds, moving about to find food, and breed when rainfall is sufficient to ensure a supply of seeds for the young. The female lays 3 to 9 white eggs. Fledglings leave the nest at a little more than 4 weeks of age and are ready to breed when 3 months old. Budgerigars that escaped from domestication have apparently established breeding populations in Florida.

The monk, or green, parakeet, Myiopsitta monachus, native to southern South America, is among the hardiest of the parrot family. Permanent breeding populations are present in the region around New York City and are believed to have originated from escaped birds. Monk parakeets grow to about 28 cm (11 in) long and are green above, gray below, with dark blue feathers in the tail. They feed on fruit and grain and build large stick nests that may house up to 6 pairs of birds.

The only member of the parrot family native to the United States was the Carolina parakeet, Conuropsis carolinensis, which lived in flocks in heavily wooded wet areas east of the Great Plains from Virginia south. It was about 30 cm (12 in) long, with a greenish body and a yellow and orange head. Overhunting and habitat destruction by humans were the primary causes of its extinction.

Younger birds have the lines down the forehead of the bird, and the eye is entirely black (except for albinos). As the bird matures the lines receed on the forehead, and a white ring forms around the 'pupil' of the eye. The budgie is 7 inches long from head to tip of tail. 10 inches for the English Budgie. The budgie is also a very quiet bird, but not as quiet as the finch.


E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca



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Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc.