Determining What Makes Budgie and Parakeet Unique: Here Are The 4 Main Differences

You’re not the first one to confuse a budgie and a parakeet. Frankly, many people don’t know the difference between budgie and parakeet. And that’s perfectly understandable. 

The two birds are similar, and they share exact origins. In fact, a budgie is a parakeet

“Budgie” is a name used elsewhere except in the U.S., where the same bird is called a parakeet. 

This article explains what a parakeet and a budgie are, their similarities, and their differences. Keep reading if you want to know that and much more. 

What Is the Difference Between Budgie and Parakeet?

The difference between a budgie and a parakeet is that a budgie is a small colorful songbird kept as a pet and has origins in Australia. A parakeet is a family of small to medium parrot species with long feathers on the tail and can originate from different parts of the world. 

There are 115 species of parakeets. A budgie and a parakeet are strongly related since a budgie is one of several parakeet species. 

The table below shows the difference between a budgie and a parakeet:

                    Parakeet                            Budgie
A family of small to medium-sized parrots with long tail feathers. This is mostly a small-sized bird with a slender frame. 
Parakeets are native to places such as; India, North America, Australia, Sri Lanka, and Pacific Islands.Budgies are native to Australia 
Parakeets form a larger family of over 115 speciesBudgies are a single species and part of the 115 different species of parakeets
Not all parakeets are common in cagesThe most commonly-reared parakeet across North America and Europe. 
Main differences between budgie and parakeet

Is a Budgie and a Parakeet the Same Thing? 

difference between budgie and parakeet

A budgie and a parakeet is the same thing as they share a common ancestry.

But going a bit further, you need to understand that parakeets are the main family under which you’ll find 115 species. Other species besides budgies include: 

  • Rosella 
  • Monk parakeet 
  • Indian ringneck parakeet 
  • Grass parakeet

So, a budgie is just one of the many types of parakeets. For the record, a budgie or budgerigar is also called Shell Parakeet.  

According to expert information, the budgie has become the most caged parakeet in the world

Budgies are strongly linked with origins in Australia. However, you can get parakeets in different warm regions of the world, such as; 

  • India
  • Sri Lanka
  • Australia
  • Pacific Islands
  • Southeast Asia 
  • Tropical America

The plumage of budgies, especially the wings, features wavy, shell-like formations. And just like other parakeets, budgies are small and display slender bodies with long tapering tails – although some have short blunt tails. Precisely, budgies measure about 7.5 inches (190.5mm) in length. 

Parakeets will come in various color variations. Probably hundreds of color mutations. The basic color stock, though, is green and yellow. 

In principle, a budgie is a parakeet. But a parakeet isn’t a budgie. You can encounter any of the several species of parakeets besides budgies. 

Also Read: Why Is My Budgie Panting? 6 Main Reasons

Can Budgies Talk?

Generally, budgies can mimic human speech perfectly with regularized learning. Even more intriguing, the Daily Mail reports that budgies can now pick up abstract patterns in language. 

According to a study by the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, budgies are excellent at perceiving abstract relations between items

It’s easy to think that parrots are the only efficient birds for mimicking human speech. But that’s not the case, as we have dozens of bird species, including the budgie with excellent speech abilities. 

Most parakeets talk to each other. Scientists intimate that male budgies are better equipped to learn speech imitation than their female counterparts. The main reason is that males are more vocal and socially outgoing

Their social nature informs why you should have a couple in the cage rather than just one. In the wild, they are flock birds. 

So, a companion would make them live a higher quality lifestyle. When you confine budgies as pairs, you’ll hear them chirp most of the time. 

While budgies will talk, especially when in perfect health and happiness, teaching your bird how to talk early in its first year is vital. Try that in over a year; your bird may not be in the pole position to imitate human words as expected. 

Social stimulation determines how your budgie fares in learning human speech. If you want the bird to reach the top levels of mimicking human speech, spend enough time teaching it tricks of the new vocabulary and word phrases

Find Out: What Is a Lutino Budgie?

Why Do Americans Call Budgies Parakeets?

Budgie birds on tree branch

Parakeets is a more common name in North America for budgies. If you don’t come from that part of the world, you may get stranded when you first encounter a budgie, generally referred to as a parakeet. 

That’s perfectly fine because a budgie is actually a parakeet species. Parakeet is the umbrella of all birds that fall in this category. 

Budgies are the most reared bird pet in this larger parakeet family. Being the most common type used as pets worldwide, Americans simply called them parakeets. 

Budgies trace their origins to Australia. That’s where these parakeet species got their name, ‘Budgerigars.’  History records that the word ‘budgerigar’ was difficult to pronounce in some parts of Europe, hence the simpler, easier version, budgie. 

As for Americans, the name parakeet seemed more marketing-friendly when the bird first entered the region. Parakeets’ physical and social characteristics are close to the parrot family, even though parrots are larger.  

So, Americans chose to call them parakeets because that’s their style. But, they still only refer to the common Australian Budgerigar. 

How Do You Identify A Budgie? 

You can identify a budgie by looking at its physical characteristics and behavior patterns. A male budgie comes with a dark-blue cere. A female budgie, on the other hand, possesses a pink, white, or pale blue cere. 

A cere is the fleshy, soft, and waxy sparkling skin just above the beak. The cere holds the nostrils. Its coloring can help you identify the budgie’s gender, as indicated earlier. 

Besides the cere, you can use several indicators to identify a budgie. Consider things such as; 

  • Size of the budgie: Females are relatively smaller than males. 
  • The behavior of the bird: Males are very playful. Females normally exhibit aggression when irritated or in a fertile season. 
  • Vocal sounds: Male budgies normally outdo females in making sounds for extended periods. They are naturally vocal. Females will make short sounds in an angry mood.
  • Age of your budgie: A young male budgie has a deep blue cere for males and white or pale blue for females. 

You should identify your budgie the first day you buy from the breeder. Genuine breeders or dealers will inform you of your budgie’s sex or general characteristics. 

If you don’t get that information from the source, then it would be wise to ask your veterinarian to help you identify the sex of your budgie. Of course, you must get an experienced vet in the avian field.  

How Long Do Budgies Live? 

Budgie birds

A budgie can live for about 5-8 years in the wild. When caged, with good care and management, a budgie should live between 7-15 years. 

Some budgies can even live up to 20 years. According to the Guinness world records, the oldest budgie in captivity lived for 29 years. 

Notably, the lifespan of a budgie and all other parakeets can be short or long, depending on the care provided. Taking good care of your budgie means an improved lifespan. 

In that regard, proper health management is crucial. Parakeets are vulnerable to diseases like obesity, scaly face and legs, and tumors

Make sure you check your bird regularly for any relatable diseases. Treat the bird urgently once an infection is spotted. Of course, involve your veterinarian in all treatment courses you plan to undertake. 

Budgie Diet

A balanced budgie diet should contain the following:

  • Base diet of high-quality, pellet budgie food: Feed your budgie especially-designed pelleted budgie food for its health. We recommend these pellets because they contain the best nutrients in the right amounts.
  • Fresh vegetables: Treats of fresh greens like spinach and broccoli are ideal for boosting your budgie’s nutrition.
  • Mineral supplements: Supplement the budie’s diet with minerals like cuttlefish bone.
  • Sufficient water: Use a suitable pet drinker to ensure your bird always has enough water.

Do Budgies Need to Be in Pairs? 

Budgies are better in pairs since they are social birds. These birds love playing with each other or chirping together and doing much more in their natural environments. They fly in flocks to keep the behavior per their needs. 

The best arrangement you can imagine is having your budgies in pairs in that cage. You’ll always see the birds in exciting engagements as long as they are used to one another. 

It’s not just about playing alone. Considering that docile birds suffer much from obesity, playfulness will ensure no chances of such lifestyle diseases. So, if you have two inside the cage, that provides a better environment for socializing and exercise. 

When you travel and leave your one budgie alone in the cage, think about how bored it could get after running out of energy. Therefore, it makes sense to have two instead to avoid such scenarios.

That said, choose carefully the two pairs that should go in one cage. The most preferred pairing features two males in the cage

A male pair is convenient as they can easily sing together, chirp, and serenade each other without problems. 

However, female budgies are more territorial and may never get along due to their mood swings and dullness. 

You don’t want two females locked together—you may keep witnessing regular fights. Still, pairing a male budgie and a female one can also backfire in cases where the female becomes overly territorial. 

But if you decide to have just one, no matter what, be ready to engage your bird regularly. You must keep it motivated by playing with it in your free time. 

Final Thoughts

Understanding the difference between budgie and parakeet is crucial for any bird lover or owner.

While some may argue that these birds are essentially the same with different names, others may highlight the distinct physical characteristics or behavior patterns that set them apart.

However, one thing remains—”parakeet” is the common name in the United States while “budgie” is the name used in the rest of the world. 

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