Species profile

Budgerigar

Budgerigar

Range and abundance

The Budgerigar is very widespread, occurring across most of Australia (particularly in arid and semi-arid areas), although they are generally absent from Cape York and coastal areas. They are very common - probably the most numerous parrot in Australia - although their numbers fluctuate enormously according to rainfall.

Description

This Budgerigar is a small parrot, about 18 cm in length, with a small beak and narrow tail. In the wild, Budgerigars have a bright green breast, yellow head with fine black barring on the nape and a small blue patch on each cheek. The back and wings are scalloped with grey, yellow and black markings and it has a green rump and blue tail. Its flight is rapid and very manoeuvrable.

In captivity, they have been bred in an enormous range of colours, the most popular colour being blue.

Ecology

Budgerigars occur across a wide range of habitats, usually open woodlands and grasslands of the arid and semi-arid interior; they are rarely found far from water. They feed almost exclusively on the seeds of native herbs and grasses such as spinifex, Mitchell Grass and saltbush. They are most active in the early morning when they feed; they shelter in the midday heat in trees and bushes. Budgerigars breed opportunistically following good rains or a flow of surface water. They nest in a tree hollow with a small entrance and will also nest in stumps, fence posts and logs. Chicks grow rapidly and acquire adult plumage when only 3 - 4 months old.

Threats

The Budgerigar seems to have survived substantial land degradation in many parts of Australia and in fact may have increased due to the considerable increase in surface water brought about by the construction of dams and bores. However, these birds are predated by feral cats which may cause declines in areas where this species is sparse. Over-grazing by feral herbivores may also cause a loss of suitable seeding and fruiting grasses and herbs. Widespread hot, late season fires may cause considerable loss of feeding grounds.

What is AWC doing?

AWC protects the habitat of the Budgerigar by reducing numbers of feral cats and by removing feral herbivores. AWC implements fire management to reduce the frequency of extensive wildfire, which helps the persistence of old trees with suitable hollows for nesting and ensures that patches of ground remain unburnt for feeding.

Did you know:

Budgerigar flocks may comprise many thousands of birds. Budgies often alight to drink in large flocks to reduce the chance of predation. Birds have been observed to drink whilst floating on the water due to the lack of standing space at the waters edge.