English Budgerigar (Budgie) Species Guide: Size, Colors, Lifespan, Price & Personality

Are English Budgies all that you can think of while on your quest to own a bird?

Perhaps you’ve just heard of them and want to know what the fuss is all about.

You’re in luck.

This article gives you the full details about English budgies from their origins to their personality, to how they are different from American Budgies.

It gets better:

You’ll also get a full package of the potential health issues they might face, their life span, and how well these budgies mimic.

english parakeet in cage

History & Bio-Data

Budgies, in general, are the only species (Melopsittacus undalutus) in the genus Melopsittacus. You probably know them better as parakeets.

But, really, they are known as Budgerigar. This name originated from the Aborigines of Australia (their native home) which means “good food”.  

Not "food" in the way you are thinking, but the migration of budgies from barren lands led Aborigines to water, animals, and food plants (hence good food).

However, the existence of English budgies can be traced to 1840. The native, wild Australian birds were taken to the U.K. and over the years were selectively bred.

The result:

A larger, laid-back, and more colorful English budgie.

The inspiration was to use them in pet shows. Now, they are also the most popular pet in the world alongside dogs and cats.

English Budgie Size and Appearance

By now, you should already know that the English Budgerigar is larger than most wild budgies, native in Australia and even Florida.

But how large are they exactly?

The most pronounced part is their weight. An English budgie weighs about 1.6 to 2.2 oz (45.3-65.3g) on average. This is probably the reason why they are more of swingers than flyers.

Also, they can reach a remarkable length of 25.4 cm (10 inches) from head to tail tip. This is a noticeable difference, but not quite as drastic as when you compare a cockatoo vs cockatiel.

Perhaps as part of their exhibition use, they also display a unique appearance.

In the picture below, the bird on the far left is an English budgie. See how much bigger he is than the other parakeets? 

three budgies together

Most noticeable is the larger size of their heads. Some are covered with full-blown head feathers that makes it look like it blinds their sight. But, they still can see.

Their color variation is also very vibrant. It transcends the usual mix of a green body, yellow head and black tail feathers in wild parakeets. Some breeds have a variety of rare colors, like olive, grey, cinnamon, and violet.

The patterns of the colors on the English budgies are no different. These complex patterns ranging from opaline to pied, to golden face are as a result of years of study and breeding.

These birds are not the regulars you would find in pet stores which are usually American ‘parakeets’ budgies.

English “Parakeet” Budgie Personality

The English budgie is generally a calm and laid-back pet. This comes as a result of being trained for shows and pet exhibitions where a restless bird will be disqualified.

So, if a quiet and less noisy bird is what you search for on your quest, English budgies are just your type. Plus, they go along pretty fine with a family with kids or first timers.

More so, they have a greater tendency to swing, hop and play around bobbing their heads than to fly.

One time, I saw an English budgie rolling a hamster wheel trying to get to the corn above. Though the size of the bird was a key factor, else, it wouldn’t have been able to push it at all.

One unique thing I like about their personality is that they can learn to speak a lot of words if you teach them. As a matter of fact, an English budgie holds the record for most words learned by a bird with over 1,700 words.

Most times, people don’t even notice this quality because of their low voice.

Additionally, these birds do well when kept as a single bird or in a group.

English Budgie vs American Budgie

With so much said about English budgies and little about its “wild”, “Australian”, or “American” counterpart, it’s only fair to make their differences crystal clear.

Let's dive in:

1. Personalities

The common American parakeet is very active and not as easy to tame as an English Budgie. The calm nature of an English budgie makes it easier to train even by its owners and children.

Also, American budgies are noisy compared to their European counterpart. You will usually find them squawking, clicking, and even screaming when alarmed.

On the other hand, English budgies are relatively quiet and have a low tone which further subdues their sounds. You can keep one and your neighbors wouldn’t know, but not an American budgie!

2. Appearance

First of all, the feathers of an English budgie are longer and fluffier than that of wild budgies. But, more pronounced is the color of their feathers.

Their feathers are most times brightly compared to American parakeets. The difference becomes even more clear with the complexity of color mutations on the feathers.

Also, they have a larger head size, and in some breeds, is covered with fluffy feathers that look like an Eskimo hat. To end, you can also catch an English budgie with beard-like feathers around its neck.

See for yourself:

3. Size

This factor should have been the first because it is usually what you’d notice first between these two birds.

An English budgie can weigh more than two times of an American budgie. It is also taller and a bit longer.

This is all as a result of their selective breeding for exhibitions.

4. Lifespan

American budgies are known to live longer than English parakeets. Though not always the case, an English budgie’s average life span is between 5-7 years while 7-12 years for its American counterpart.

With proper care, English budgies can live longer and with fewer health complications.

Proper Care For An English Budgie

1. Diet

The English budgies should be given a balanced diet which includes a good seed mix, green vegetables, whole grain bread, pasta, and pellets.

A parakeet seed mix with 25% canary seed is good and fresh vegetables are very important. In which case, sunflower sprouts and cooked carrots are good options.

Also, they are fed cuttlebone as a calcium supplement especially as their beaks start to grow. This is noticeable when they chew on anything in sight.

2. Temperature Exposure

The birds should be kept in a room with an optimum temperature of around 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, it shouldn’t fall lower than 40 degrees.

Anything hotter or cooler than this can cause a heat stroke or hypothermia in these feathered friends.

At the most extreme, they should only be exposed to a maximum 10-degree temperature change in a 24-hour period.

3. Cage Cleaning

This is an essential routine every budgie owner must perform several times a week. Without regular cleaning, a pet bird’s life span will be cut short and the English budgie is no different.

It is best to get a bird cage with a grate which filters waste from the main cage for an English Budgie. Else, you will have to clean up the cage daily.

Also, the perches and any solid item in the cage must be thoroughly cleaned. This reduces the chances of an English budgie contracting diseases. Plus, the perches should be changed once every few months if they get dirty a lot.

green and yellow budgerigar close up

4. Toys

Budgies are generally playful and social birds.

So, if you are getting one, you should be ready to buy toys to keep it lively!

Their favorite kinds of toys are the beaded types and they enjoy swinging on perches. But, you should be sure to change the positions of the toys occasionally, so they don’t grow bored with them.

5. Bathing

The hygiene of English budgies can’t be stressed enough. They also need to be given a bath 3-4 days a week.

To do so, you can place a shallow bowl in the cage and allow the bird to hop in and enjoy its bath. However, if the bird doesn’t hop in after a while, you should use a spray bottle to bathe it yourself.

A transparent bottle should be used and placed in a secluded place after use to avoid contaminating the water.

English Budgie Price

The prices of English budgies range from $50 to $90 depending on the mutation of the birds.

So, you expect a uniquely colored and patterned one to be costlier than one with a more common or simpler pattern.

Possible Health Issues

Now, there are lots of possible diseases can have at any point in time and they can’t be covered here.

The best option to tackle any budgie disease is to see a vet as soon as you notice any irregularities.

The main causes of diseases in budgies are yeast infections. The bird may show symptoms such as vomiting, listlessness, loose droppings, loss of weight e.t.c.

There are also other issues like Parrot Fever, gastrointestinal disease, sour crop and so on.

Also, budgies develop tumors as they age.

The main way to help these birds is to maintain good hygiene and be careful of the breeders you intend to buy one from.

Should You Get One?

English budgies are a great choice if you want less noise and a single bird (though they also can be kept in pairs or in a group).

However, they tend to have a relatively short life span for the avian world.

To do well with them, you must be ready to maintain a good diet and proper hygiene as well as provide plenty of toys.

If you can do these, then you should take one home. Preferably a younger one, so it will be easier to tame. To make sure you are fully prepared, check out this article on adopting your first parrot.


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