The budgie, or budgerigar, is a colourful parrot with bright yellow and green plumage, with a blue cheek and black scalloping on its wing feathers. Its tail is slender and dark blue. Small in size, they’re roughly 18cm to 20cm from top to tail, and weigh 30 to 40 grams.
The budgerigar occurs naturally throughout much of mainland Australia but is absent from the far south-west, the north of the Northern Territory, Tasmania, and the majority of the east coast. They’re highly nomadic and generally fly north during winter, covering significant distances as they migrate. Flocks follow rainfall and seasonally abundant seeding grasses.
Flocks normally range from 3 to 100 birds, but after rainfall can number many thousands!
WHAT THEY EAT
Budgies eat seeds, grains and nuts from native herbs and grasses. Foraging on the ground, they sometimes climb tussocks to strip plants. They then de-husk the seeds and swallow them whole or broken.
Budgerigars are monogamous and mate for life. Breeding occurs at any time of the year, typically after rain. The nests, sometimes within metres of each other, are made by lining existing cavities of tree trunks, branches, logs and even old fence posts.
The female will lay four to eight eggs, which hatch after 18 days. The male forages and feeds the chicks, which will leave the nest after another 35 days.