Budgerigars, also known as common parakeets or shell parrots, are seed-eating pet birds with long tails that feed on seeds. Wild budgerigars typically feature green and yellow feathers with black scalloped markings on the nape, back, and wings; but skilled breeders have created nearly 30 color variations from wild varieties thanks to genetic mutations.
Gene-adding factors that alter budgerigar colors fall into two broad categories. The dominant grey factor creates birds with a lovely wash of gray that turns blue-based birds more green-gray, while semi-dominant violet factor darkens feather colors of both groups into an eye-catching smokey purple effect – each factor is stunning but violet is particularly captivating.
A sky blue budgerigar with no dark factor is its original hue of bright sky blue; when given one dark factor it turns olive; two dark factors creates an inky shade often mistaken for cobalt or mauve; each level of darkness may also vary slightly among individual birds.
Budgerigars come with their natural palette of green, red, pink and black to create various shades of hues ranging from yellows and whites produced from pigments such as the yellow-hued psittacofulvin and the blue-hued melanin found within their plumage – this creates their natural color scheme.
Although not as colorful as other members of the parrot family, the budgerigar has its own distinct beauty that many people appreciate. Native to Australia and grasslands across this continent, its beak and flexible tongue are perfectly tailored for its diet of seeds, grains and nuts.
As is typical with parrots, budgerigars are social birds that form large flocks to forage for food, raise their young, interact socially among themselves by preening and chirping, as well as create long-term bonds with human companions through breeding programs and close living quarters. Budgerigars make popular pets; often living for years together before becoming close with one or more humans in their colony.
Budgerigars in the wild are monogamous birds that lay six to eight eggs twice annually, living up to 12 years in captivity. Due to their unique zygodactyl toes (two front and two back), these birds make excellent climbers who use perches and branches effectively for perching purposes. Long tails enable them to maintain balance when moving through the forest canopy. These attractive birds are highly social and can even be taught to speak and play games! Budgerigars are hardy birds that adapt well to many climates, yet excel in warm areas like India, tropical Australia and southern Africa. Not only is the budgerigar easy to care for and train; it also makes an excellent pet for children as well as adults; apartment dwellers or those without backyard gardens will find one an excellent addition.