The term 'parakeet' is almost a catch-all name given to many smaller parrot species, usually slim birds with long pointed tails. The name 'budgie' or 'budgerigar' comes from Australia where budgies live in the wild. The budgie does have alternative names given to it such as shell parakeet and warbling grass parakeet, hence people calling them budgies and parakeets. A lot depends on which part of the world you live in. In the USA a budgie is often referred to as a parakeet.
2) budgie illness / budgie health - is my budgie sick ?
In the wild if budgies let their guard down and show they are unwell they will become the victims of predators. Therefore it is natural for budgies to conceal their illness as long as possible. By observing your budgie daily you will learn its normal behavior and anything out of the ordinary should draw your attention. If your budgie looks ill it normally means it is really sick and can deteriorate extremely quickly. When you detect any of the following signs of illness you should take your budgie to an avian vet as soon as possible - try to visit a vet experienced with birds so a correct diagnosis can be given. Signs of illness to watch out for:
abnormal droppings (note the quantity, color, consistency)
abnormal feathers, feather growth, or molt
abnormal sleep pattern:
- both feet on the perch when normally one foot is tucked up - head tucked under the wing
- head turned towards the wing with eyes only partly closed
any change in normal activities:
- talking or chirping
- playing with toys
- interaction with other birds
- interaction with humans
- energy levels
- different perching area
black spiky head feathers (except during molting)
discharge from the beak, eyes or nostrils
drinking a lot more water than usual
drooping head, tail or wings
dull or swollen eyes
excessive feather picking or plucking
face and head feathers coated with mucus and semi-digested seed falling off the perch
fluffed up appearance
hunched over posture
loss of appetite
lumps or swellings on the body
sitting on the bottom of the cage
3) budgie lifespan - how long will my budgie live for ?
The average lifespan of a budgie is 8 to 10 years. It is not unusual for a budgie to live to 14 years of age and the occasional budgie makes it to 20! To insure your budgie has a long and happy life provide:
a clean cage
a healthy diet including fresh fruit and vegetables offered daily plenty of activity and companionship
4) budgie sexing - is my budgie male or female ?
You need to look at your budgie's "cere". The "cere" is the area above the beak and surrounding the nostrils. With adult budgies if the cere is bright blue the budgie is a male and if the cere is brown the budgie is a female. When a female is in breeding condition her cere will be dark brown and may become rough and crusty. The above applies for most adult budgies except some color varieties such as albinos, fallows, lutinos and recessive pieds. With young budgies the ceres of both sexes are the same colour, a purplish shade, so it is difficult to decipher their sex until they have been through their first molt at three to four months of age. Only then will the adult color show. To the experienced eye the sex of a young budgie may be differentiated. The cere on a young male budgie tends to be more notable than a young female's in that it is fuller and brighter. It takes on a pinkish shade whereas a female's will have a bluish shade. Another tip is that a young female tends to be more aggressive and bites harder than a young male.
5) budgie care - what is the best budgie food ?
Budgie diet is extremely important and is the key to having a healthy budgie - along with exercise. Give your bird a good-quality budgie seed mix....