Budgie Behaviour

Budgies are very social animals, which is why they make such great pets. In the wild, they live in large flocks, and have constant interactions with those around them.

Like any animal, budgies have developed certain ways of interacting, and certain patterns of behaviour. When we learn to understand how budgies communicate, and what their actions really mean, we can begin to have a relationship thatís happy and fulfilling, for us and them.

Obviously, budgies donít have a complex spoken language, like we do. Theyíre not able to communicate complex ideas like mathematics. But they do have a wide range of expression, through body language and vocalizations, which help them communicate how theyíre feeling and what they want.

Budgies are born knowing how to communicate with other budgies, and they all understand this common language, so they can instantly get along with new budgies that they come across.

Behaviour in the Wild

Budgies form large communities, called flocks, and live together relatively peacefully. Thereís no social hierarchy, (nobodyís in charge,) they just band together to help each other survive. When youíre on the ground, eating some seed, itís much better to have a hundred pairs of eyes that can spot predators.

Even though nobodyís in charge in the flock, that doesnít mean everybodyís best friends. Sometimes fights will break out over mating opportunities Ė donít they always? Ė but these fights arenít brutal fights to the death, they tend to just be threats, with the loser backing down quickly enough. The only time budgies are really willing to fight is to defend their nest in the breeding season.

Learn more about wild budgie behaviour.

Courtship and Mating

There are no alpha males and females in budgie society, keeping breeding rights for themselves. Every budgie is free to mate with who they want, it just depends on who manages to attract them.

The whole dating process can be quite long and drawn out before the couple actually mate, and the male often has to put in a lot of effort before they do. The male has a variety of strategies to improve his relationship with a female, from just walking up very close and tapping her with his beak, to feeding her, or starting mutual grooming sessions.

Of course, itís not all a one sided process, the femaleís communicating what she feels at each step in the relationship. Often females are happy to go along with the mating process, but if they really donít want to mate with a persistent suitor, they can go as far as attacking him until he goes away.

Body Language

Aggressive Behaviour

When a budgie wants to get aggressive, it stands up tall and straight, even straightening its foot joints, to make itself appear larger. After that, it makes hostile vocalizations at its target, and violent motions with its beak.

Often this show of aggression is enough to make its opponent fly away. But if the other budgie wants to fight, itíll give a warning call of its own, then theyíll attempt to pull each others feathers out, and bite each others feet.

Fights are rarely fatal, and usually end before anyone is seriously hurt.

Grooming

In total, budgies spend several hours grooming themselves each day. This activity is spread out, throughout the day, a few minutes each time.

For a budgie, good hygiene and grooming isnít just a way of avoiding germs, its essential maintenance, which keeps them in top flying condition. A budgie that has ruffled, dirty, uneven feathers will have a hard time flying. And if the budgie doesnít keep its feathers oiled up, itís not protected from rain, or heat, and could lose the ability to fly altogether. Because of this, budgies keep themselves extremely well groomed.

Learn more about budgie grooming.

Comfort Behaviours

Budgies relive tension by puffing up, and shaking out, their feathers. Youíll often notice your budgie doing this throughout the day, and almost always after scary or tense experiences. Your budgie will often shake its feathers out between activities, and before or after resting, much like we might have a stretch.

We all know how good it feels to get rid of tension, and this is a very healthy behaviour for your budgie.

One things which is common to most animals is yawning. Nobody knows exactly why people and other animals yawn, but there are many theories. The most popular theories tend to be that we yawn when weíre low on oxygen, or because we want to relieve some tension. Whatever the reason is, budgies yawn as well.

Temperature Control

Budgies deal with the cold much like any other animal does. When budgies are trying to keep warm, they huddle together, and puff up their feathers, to trap warm air. Normally, budgies become very touchy when another bird invades their personal space Ė who doesnít? Ė but when you need to keep warm, normal rules donít apply.

On the other hand, when itís very hot, youíll often see your budgie stretch its wings out and start panting. This is to help keep the whole body at an even temperature.


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