Today we got a question from one of our fans about their new yellow bird. Budgies, the shortened name for budgerigars, also known here in the United States as parakeets, are green and yellow, with black markings, in the wild. The term “parakeet” is also used in a broader description of a variety of small parrots with long, tapered tails. Here is the question: “I bought this cute little bird from the local pet shop. The shop owner claimed that it is a ‘Budgerigar’ or a ‘parakeet’. I want to confirm whether it indeed is…please do help…”
Yes, Shankar, this little sweetie is, indeed, a budgerigar, or a common parakeet. In Australia they typically call them ‘budgies”. A yellow bird color is a mutation of the original markings on a wild budgerigar from Australia. Breeders use selective breeding techniques to breed parakeets of various colors, including yellow, blue, and white. Captive bred parakeets are typically larger than their wild budgie counterparts.
Here is some information on telling if you have a male or a female budgerigar:
The colour of the cere (the area containing the nostrils) differs between the sexes, being royal blue in males, pale brown to white (nonbreeding) or brown (breeding) in females, and pink in immatures of both sexes (usually of a more even purplish-pink colour in young males). Some female budgerigars develop brown cere only during breeding time, which later returns to the normal colour. Young females can often be identified by a subtle, chalky whiteness that starts around the nostrils. Males that are either Albino, Lutino, Dark-eyed Clear or Recessive Pied (Danish pied or harlequin) always retain the immature purplish-pink cere colour their entire lives.
It is usually easy to tell the sex of a budgerigar over six months old, mainly by the cere colours, but behaviours and head shape also help indicate sex.
A mature male’s cere is usually light to dark blue, but can be purplish to pink in some particular colour mutations, such as Dark-eyed Clears, Danish Pieds (Recessive Pieds) and Inos, which usually display much rounder heads. Males are typically cheerful, extroverted, highly flirtatious, peacefully social, and very vocal.
Females’ ceres are pinkish as immatures and switch from being beigish or whitish outside breeding condition into brown (often with a ‘crusty’ texture) in breeding condition and usually display flattened backs of heads (right above the nape region). Females are typically highly dominant and more socially intolerant.
When females get older, their ceres tend to be brown usually, females are often more bossy and rude with their own gender, but with males they get along better; usually when budgies of different gender are put together, they tend to be more kind to each other, some will not even fight or peck at each other for their life time.
For more information about budgerigars, visit Wikipedia.
We hope you have fun with your beautiful new pet, Shankar. Any time you need help with your yellow bird buddy, please fell free to drop us a line. Budgies are sensitive, and even with proper care can run into trouble. But with great care and love, you may be lucky to have your new family member in your home with you up to 15 years.
Lastly: if you decide to get any friends for your pet parakeet, please consider helping the homeless birds. Even though budgies have a much shorter life span than other parrots, they still are the most commonly surrendered birds and can be found in pet shelters.