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Budgerigar / Parakeet
Temporal range: Paleocene–recent
English and American Budgerigars
Three domestic Budgerigars; an English (left) and two American (right).
Male and female wild Budgerigars
Male (left) and female (right) wild Budgerigars.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Inopinaves
Order: Psittaciformes
Superfamily: Psittacoidea
Family: Psittaculidae
Subfamily: Psittaculinae
Tribe: Loriini
Genus: Melopsittacus
Gould, 1840
Species: M. undulatus
Binomial name
Melopsittacus undulatus
Shaw, 1805

None (monotypic)


Psittacus undulatus (protonym)

The Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) /ˈbʌərɨɡɑr/, also known as common pet parakeet or shell parakeet and informally nicknamed the budgie, is a small, long-tailed, seed-eating parrot. Budgerigars are the only species in the Australian genus Melopsittacus, and are found wild throughout the drier parts of Australia where the species has survived harsh inland conditions for the last five million years.[3] Budgerigars are naturally green and yellow with black, scalloped markings on the nape, back, and wings, but have been bred in captivity with colouring in blues, whites, yellows, greys, and even with small crests. Budgerigars are popular pets around the world due to their small size, low cost, and ability to mimic human speech. The origin of the budgerigar's name is unclear. The species was first recorded in 1805, and today is the third most popular pet in the world, after the domesticated dog and cat.[4]

The budgerigar is closely related to the lories and the fig parrots.[5][6][7][8] They are one of the parakeet species, a non-taxonomical term that refers to any of a number of small parrots with long, flat and tapered tails. In both captivity and the wild, budgerigars breed opportunistically and in pairs.

Wild budgerigars are usually found to be mostly green in colour. Selective breeding, by breeders, over the years has caused changes in colour. Cage bred budgerigars are also larger in size than wild budgerigars.

Click for other names
Other common names Budgerigar, Budgerygah, Budgie, Canary Parrot, Grass-Parakeet,
Lovebird, Scalloped Parrot, Shell Parakeet, Shell Parrot,
Undulated Parrot, Warbling Grass-Parrot, Zebra Parrot.[2]
Scientific Protonym: Psittacus undulatus[2]


Length is 7–8 in (18–20 cm) and weight is 30 g (1.1 oz).[9] Small, slender-bodied; bright green parrot.[10]

Unmistakable; the only small long-tailed green parrot with boldly barred upperparts; sexes alike; juvenile resembles adults,[11] but have brown irides, black barring on frons and cheeks.[10]

Domestic cagebirds have many colours,[11] including yellow, blue, lilac, white, grey or different greens.[10]

Male has dark blue cere while the female has a light blue to brown cere.[10] Both sexes have a yellow throat and forehead.[10] Blue and black throat spots.[10] Pale wingbar in flight.[10]

Similar species[]


Densely packed, fast-wheeling flocks. Nomadic.[10]



Continuous 'chirrup'; 'zitting', alarm calls.[10]



Widespread and locally abundant in interior of Australia.[2] Endemic to Australia.[10] Found in small numbers along the Gulf Coast of the US.[12] Habitat is arid and semi-arid woodlands, grasslands and farms.[10]


Budgerigars remain as popular pets and companions to humans ever since they were captured in captivity since the 1850s. As a result of breeders, domesticated Budgerigars have been bred to obtain more feather colours including blue, white, purple, and more.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Melopsittacus undulatus". 2012 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Melopsittacus undulatus". Avibase. 
  3. ^ "Dr. Marshall's Philosophy on Breeding Exhibition Budgerigars". Bird Health. 2004. Archived from the original on 2004-08-11. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  4. ^ Perrins, Christopher, ed. (2003). "Parrots, Lories, and Cockatoos". The New Encyclopedia of Birds (1 ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198525066. 
  5. ^ Wright, TF; Schirtzinger EE, Matsumoto T, Eberhard JR, Graves GR, Sanchez JJ, Capelli S, Mueller H, Scharpegge J, Chambers GK and Fleischer RC (2008). "A Multilocus Molecular Phylogeny of the Parrots (Psittaciformes): Support for a Gondwanan Origin during the Cretaceous". Molecular Biology and Evolution. 25 (10): 2141–2156. PMC 2727385Freely accessible. PMID 18653733. doi:10.1093/molbev/msn160.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  6. ^ Tokita, M; Kiyoshi T and Armstrong KN (2007). "Evolution of craniofacial novelty in parrots through developmental modularity and heterochrony". Evolution & Development. 9 (6): 590–601. PMID 17976055. doi:10.1111/j.1525-142X.2007.00199.x.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  7. ^ de Kloet, RS; de Kloet SR (2005). "The evolution of the spindlin gene in birds: Sequence analysis of an intron of the spindlin W and Z gene reveals four major divisions of the Psittaciformes". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 36 (3): 706–721. PMID 16099384. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.03.013. 
  8. ^ Schweizer, M.; Seehausen O, Güntert M and Hertwig ST (2009). "The evolutionary diversification of parrots supports a taxon pulse model with multiple trans-oceanic dispersal events and local radiations". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 54 (3): 984–94. PMID 19699808. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2009.08.021.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  9. ^ Frances, Peter; et al. (2007). Bird: The Definitive Visual Guide. Dorling Kindersley Inc. ISBN 1564582957. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Simpson & Day (2010). A Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, 8th Edition. Penguin Ltd. and Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691146928. 
  11. ^ a b Forshaw, Joseph M.; Knight, Frank (2010). Parrots of the World. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691142852. 
  12. ^ Stokes, Donald W. and Stokes, Lilian Q. (2010). Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 9770316010504 Check |isbn= value: invalid prefix (help). 

External links[]

Wikipedia has an article on Budgerigar.
Wikimedia Commons has images on Budgerigar.
Wikispecies has an article on Budgerigar.