Accompanied by their colorful feathers and cheerful sounds, parakeets can easily become one of the most fantastic pets a pet lover could keep.
Now, you most probably want to learn more about potentially becoming a parakeet pet owner. Don’t worry, because in this article, we are going to dig deeper into analyzing why these small but awesome birds are so popular.
But first, let’s learn some basics about the lovely colorful bird – the parakeets.
What are parakeets?
Have you heard about parakeets? Yes, it is in fact a very well-known pet bird and you might have known about it already. But in case you don’t know it yet, a parakeet is one of the many parrot species, in multiple genera, that generally have long tail feathers. You may sometimes encounter some of its older spellings such as “paroquet” or “paraquet”.
Parakeets are widely known as the most popular pet bird. However, it is also important to note that they are not a specific parrot species. They are a diverse group of small bird types, with a slender build, and based on multiple genera. In fact, “parakeet” is a term restricted to small parrots with long graduated tails.
Brief Budgerigar History and Discovery
In 1805, Mr. George Shaw (an English botanist and zoologist), first described the budgerigar or parakeet. It was not until 1840 when John Gould (an English ornithologist and bird artist) gave the bird its current binomial name. The genus name Melopsittacus is an Ancient Greek word that means “melodious parrot”. Its species name is undulatus, which is the Latin for “wave-patterned”
List of Parakeet Species Representatives
- Rose-ringed parakeet
- Plain parakeet
- Monk parakeet
- White-winged parakeet
- Barred parakeet
- Green parakeet
- Yellow-chevroned parakeet
- Jandaya parakeet
- White-eyed parakeet
- Blue parakeet
- Dusky-headed parakeet
- Orange-fronted parakeet
- Mitred parakeet
- Golden-capped parakeet
- Orange-chinned parakeet
- Pacific parakeet
- Red-throated parakeet
- Hispaniolan parakeet
- Sulphur- breasted parakeet
- Golden- winged parakeet
- Guadeloupe parakeet
- Grey-cheeked parakeet
- Olive-throated parakeet
- Cobalt- winged parakeet
- Cuban parakeet
- Finsch’s parakeet
- Tui parakeet
- Scarlet- fronted parakeet
Parakeets Are The Curious, Playful, and Sociable Birds
When parakeets were discovered in Australia during an expedition by Captain James Cook in 1770, nobody could anticipate that these attractive little parrots would embark on a massive invasion into millions of homes worldwide. However, it took a while for the first budgerigars to arrive in Europe. It was not until 1840 that they finally commenced their victorious advance when the famous naturalist John Gould brought the very first live budgerigars into England. Budgies reached the European continent about ten years later. There they became real survival artists: it took only a few years for the birds to start raising their young in Europe, which was a real sensation at that time. The wife of a German manufacturer managed the first successful German breeding—more accidentally than deliberately—using a coconut shell as a nest box.
Since then, parakeets have become one of the most popular pets in the world. It is estimated that more than 30 million budgerigars are kept as pets. Although these birds weigh only 1 to 2 ounces, they can reach a maximum life of 25 years when being taken care of properly. While the plumage of wild birds is characterized principally by the colors green, yellow and black, there are nowadays many different color varieties: today prospective pet owners can select from among single-colored birds, pied-colored ones, or from a wide variety of different color combinations.
Parakeets or Budgies?
The word parakeet also pertains to the budgerigar or budgie in American English. In fact, the budgerigar is a species of parakeet. It is a bird species that is a long-tailed, seed-eating parrot usually nicknamed the budgie, or in American English, the parakeet. Budgies are the species that only belongs to the genus Melopsittacus. (Source: Wikipedia)
There are about 115 species of parakeet birds. They can usually be found in warm areas, Sri Lanka, India, Australia, Pacific Islands, Tropical America, and South East Asia.
The Life of Parakeets
Parakeets hatch between four and eight eggs in a tree hole. Their life span takes about 10 to 25 years or longer, but it depends on their exact species, health, and living conditions.
They turned out to be dozens of colorful baby birds. This type of bird is all vigorous and playful. Once you give them a pair, they tend to quarrel, but sometimes, they become the best buddy through a habit of mimics.
Parakeets or Budgies as Pets
Parakeets can give you a rewarding feeling, even with just their presence. There is a bit challenging part for pet owners though in terms of keeping them. That is to understand and sustain their needs are and how to keep them from being stressed. As budgie pet owners, making sure that the pets are comfortable is an essential factor to keep them healthy. Forming an owner-parakeet bond is also encouraged although this is inevitable in most cases.
Parakeets are lovable creatures that seek the attention of their owners almost every time. They are simply the best therapy and can be a great source of joy. If you are looking for an animal companion that is small and colorful, then that can be a sign that a parakeet can be the best pet for you. Someone who loves a small-sized and adorable pet will definitely have an interest in adopting a parakeet.
Benefits of Having Parakeets as Pets
Just like dogs and cats, budgies can be a man’s best friends too. Visitors and relatives can enjoy the company of these little fellows. You will never have a dull moment because they know how to entertain.
We recommend you this good read about pros and cons of owning parakeets as pets.
They Are Social And Intelligent, Naturally
Parakeets are socially active birds that enjoy the presence of people and other animals. These birds are observant in behavior, and they can imitate voices and sounds. Through practice, they learn how to imitate more than one hundred vocabulary-words. They also respond to verbal commands. They are naturally intelligent with problem-solving and cognitive skills and can demonstrate a high level of intelligence.
Not only are budgies intelligent, they also encourages you to be smarter too! Check out this article and learn more about your parakeet’s behavior, body language and sound.
Budgies Are Clean And Hygienic
Budgies are also known for being hygienic. They straighten and clean their feathers daily to keep them lustrous and shiny. The advantage of having a pet parakeet is that it only requires minimal grooming. You don’t need to buy branded shampoos and avail expensive haircuts. Your pet can maintain good health and posture with nail trim, a light shower, or a quick dip in non-chlorinated water twice a week. Indeed, the ease of bird care is a relief.
Their Food Supplies Are Not Expensive
Parakeets eat only a small portion of food per day. They eat plant-based foods that are less expensive than protein-packed products for dogs and cats. You can follow a cheap dietary plan meal through pre-washed fresh foods. They require a strict but healthy diet. It is essential to share your fresh vegetables and fruits with your pet to ensure that they eat non-toxic food.
Budgies loves to munch on fruits. If you want to know if parakeets eat bananas, you can check out our article about this topic.
They Can Be Easily Kept In Your Room
Parakeets love to get enough exercise by flying around the room. It’s easy to accommodate them. Provide a spacious cage that your small-sized birds can enjoy. Be sure that it is safe enough to live so that it won’t get its head caught between the cage bars that can result in serious injury. Provide a roosting box for shade and shelter in the cage, which makes the parakeets more comfortable.
We invite you to have a good read on our article about setting up a bird cage.
Parakeets Are The Best Travel Companion
Compared to other pets, parakeets only require a small cage that you can effortlessly put in your car for a weekend getaway or a visit to friends and family. But before that, you need to inform the hotel or place that will accommodate that you have a feathered travel companion so that your pet will be welcome.
Colors and Markings of Budgies
Based on statistics, 9 out of 10 pet owners adore these birds because of their colors and markings. Parakeets have many color variations. They are based on a primary color of yellow and blue pigments. In a domestic variety, a yellow tint is absent while the blue shows through a white base. Blue mixed with yellow is green, and that is the dominant color of budgies.
However, you will never find a red pigmentation in parakeets. The pinkish tinges they may have is due to how they eat the same way flamingos are pink by eating a shrimp. (Source)
Most parakeets have uniform markings and patterns on plumage. The typical plumage colors are prone to change, sometimes discoloration from browning to grey.
The Temperament of Budgies or Parakeets as Pets
Budgerigars are birds with character, and not simply little parrots, like many of the others. And yet all have the same basic requirements. As birds from an arid region, they are not particularly demanding, and enjoy even minor attentiveness. Nevertheless, nothing but the best should be good enough for your pets. Parakeets are comfortable to be living inside the household. Just like a typical family member, they are longing for significant companionship too. Most of them will not do well in a life of isolation because they need to be nurtured and taken care of by their owners.
Generally, they are very gentle and docile and, obviously, adults can do a better job in taking care of parakeets than children. When kids below 8 years old want to pet them, adult supervision is highly advised. Parakeets are good with children who are respectful to them. The more you interact with them, the more they will love and recognize you as their family.
At a young age, parakeets are easy-to-tame. Pairs of budgies can be good company for each other. They love to play with each other, argue, and be active. Typically, you can see parakeets drinking drops of water in the morning.
In the wild, they like to fly as a flock to catch some exercise. When chicks are newly hatched, the adult female stays with them in the nest while the male looks for food. After a week, the female joins the male in search of food. They breed during the rainy season when water and food are plentiful. When you want to have them as pets, you might also be interested to read about our comprehensive guide for parakeet breeding.
Are Parakeets Good Pets?
Generally speaking, YES, parakeets can make good pets. They are friendly, social bird, which also means they need the owner’s attention every day. In terms of the joy they bring, nobody can give you a higher level of happiness and entertainment more than a parakeet. They have special mimicry skills that allow them to imitate a tone of voice or words that they hear that makes everything hilarious because of how they portray it. They are talkative since they are known for being social and vocal in every interaction.
If you have kids and you are planning to own a budgie, consider reading our blog post that answers the question in mind. Is a pet parakeet good for a child?
Additionally, parakeets are great pets because they will always listen to you. Whether you are angry at someone, happily in love, disappointed in yourself, talk to them, and they will listen. They may not talk straight and direct, at least you have someone that can listen to you, and just through their presence makes a hundred times better than being alone. In fact, parakeets can be good for peoples’ mental health.
Can a parakeet talk?
Ever heard a budgerigar talking? A parakeet will typically be tweeting a song, talking, or even mimicking sounds. Interestingly, parakeets can also speak using words they’ve heard. They usually learn more than 100 terms from their talkative owners. As an owner, you must be patient in teaching your parakeet. Repeating words can help them absorb what you are trying to convey. You might be surprised one day they are more talkative than you.
Whistling is a sign of being happy and a healthy bird. Expert recommends teaching them first, how to speak, then once they know-how, you can now teach them to whistle. Whistling is easy for them but might limit their willingness to learn words.
Typically, parakeets do not produce exaggerated screams. They just let out a light scream occasionally. They are noisy birds when it comes to whistles, talks, and other chit-chats. If you hear them screaming exaggeratedly, then feel free to check their condition, it might be something serious to manage that can indicate pain, fear, or distress.
Budgies or Parakeets – are they suitable for me?
Before you decide on a budgerigar as a pet, you must ask yourself the following questions:
LONG TERM RESPONSIBILITY
Budgerigars can age up to 15 years. Are you able to accept the responsibility to look after these birds for so long?
SOCIABILITY AND EXERCISE
Parakeets are social birds and require plenty of interaction. Do you have sufficient time to spend with your pet? If not, you might consider keeping a pair of budgies so they can provide each other company. Are you prepared to provide your birds a sufficiently roomy cage and a play-stand with plenty of ladders and toys to allow them to work off energy?
WORK and DIRT
Lost feathers, feces, and dust must be removed daily. Are you willing to perform these tasks? Are you suffering from an allergy?
The initial cage and equipment costs can run a few hundred dollars; ongoing food, toys. and veterinary expenses might amount to another couple of hundred dollars per year. Can you afford to spend this amount?
Parakeets can make wonderful companions, and they are such rewarding pets to keep and take care for. They are social birds that require significant companionship. Generally, they are hard-wired to seek out company.
Knowing these facts, it is essential to understand how to meet their needs. Giving them a comfortable and healthy life could create a strong owner-parakeet bond you can both enjoy. There will be no regrets at all when you choose to keep parakeets as your pets.
- Simpson, D.P. (1979). Cassell’s Latin Dictionary (5th ed.). London: Cassell Ltd.