Budgie Behaviour

Although all budgerigars have different personalities, they share certain behaviours. This is just as well, as a knowledge of normal behaviour versus abnormal behaviour is important when deciding whether all is well in your cage or aviary.

Budgie Behaviour, Male and Female

Generally, there are no big behavioural differences between cock and hen birds. They both feed, chatter and socialise in the same way, and both can be either passive or aggressive depending on their mood, personality and circumstance. Hens have a louder and more shrill voice than cocks, and often squawk more too. They are also less inclined to learn human words – although it is not unheard of for female budgies to talk.

In the mating season – a vague and sprawling concept, as in captivity the ‘season’ can be pretty much any time of year – both sexes can become more territorial and aggressive than usual. Females can be particularly sensitive in these times of surging hormones, and a normally placid bird might suddenly attack your hand. Fortunately, its beak is no sharper than usual in these hormonal periods, so there’s little danger of bloodshed. These spells will last three to six weeks.

Budgie cock and hen
A pair of budgies in peak mating condition

Hormonal birds will also want to mate, and if there’s no willing or available mate, the bird’s toys, food, or indeed you, might become the centre of its sexual attentions. This instinct can be gently discouraged by putting the budgie back in its cage if it’s taking out its frustrations on you. Removing mirrors and potential nesting spaces can also help get things back to normal.

Budgie Behaviour When Hot

An over-heated budgie will raise his wings slightly as he perches. The feathers around the cere (the nose area) might be raised too. If he’s very hot he will open his beak and pant. Always make sure there’s a shady area in the cage in which he can cool himself down.

Budgie Behaviour When Cold

A chilly bird will sit huddled on his perch, with his feathers fluffed up. Move him somewhere warm or, if the bird is outside, provide some warm shelter, or switch the aviary heater on.

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John, 21 January 2020

My non-flying budgie has just started laying eggs. just had three in quick succession. The Third one is under the bird in a corner of her cage. The last two have not produced chicks. If I reintroduce the male bird, will they breed again while the female is on the eggs? Im currently investing in additional cages. Its been a complete accident as the female has been unwell for some time and thought not to be impossible to lay eggs? I just need a means to stop her having further chicks. Regards John

Ryan, 27 November 2019

I have a female budgie parakeet I've had for about seven years. Today she started acting very odd. She's panting, and seems very clumsy. When I put my hand down she climbs up on my hand, so she doesn't seem afraid of anything, and at one point she even arched her back and went into the mating trance. However, she's been in mating egg laying mode dozens of times over the years, but I've never seen her act like this, and I've certainly never seen her so clumsy. Also, I don't cage her. She has a cage where her food, water, little enclose egg laying house is, plus all her perches and toys, but I just let her fly around free in the house, and always have. She never wanders more than twenty feet or so from her cage. However, now it seems she isn't even able to fly at the moment. Is she just heavy with an egg, or eggs, and that's why she's behaving so odd? I'm just concerned for her. I'd have to see her suffer. Here's a video I just took of her. Any ideas what might be the matter with her, or is this normal, and I've just never noticed it before? https://youtu.be/QMS6YoE3vq0

Anne, 16 September 2019

I have a male budgie he was given to me a year ago I replaced his cage but now he just sits on his perch only eats his food and millet no fruit now his feathers have started coming out , he is very quiet but he isn’t a friendly bird can you give me some advice please

Callie, 21 June 2019

Hi! I just barely bought two little buggies and I brought them home today I’m trying to warm up to them but they’re being very distant and I’m wondering what I should do, also I haven’t heared one squeak!

Mike, 16 June 2019

Hi Lauren! So, indeed, female birds have this tendancy of biting about any kind of flesh that is too close for comfort. They tend to be more territorial than their male counterparts and will defend their "nest" from any intruder (which you might be to her). I woould suggest to let her out of her cage anyway. She might be frustrated and need more stimulation and thus, will be more prone to biting fits. If she's still agressive or still bites, she might simply be scared or feels threatened (in bird reasoning, it might just be a nervous twitch or something they're not familiar with, don't worry). In both cases, you'll have to gain her trust. Find what she fancies (mine is a huge food lover) and interact with her SLOWLY with what she loves. Once there is a little improvement (might be very subtle), like less or no biting, then go a step further. Keep in mind that birds do not attack for no reason as it's exposing them to potential "danger" in the wild. They still have this instinct. Also, be EXTREMELY patient!! She might never be your best friend despite all your efforts, but if you keep showing her love and respect, she'll eventually drop her guard and might come to you (or at least, stop flying away from you). After a year and a half with mine and extensive love, care and training, my female budgie will hop on my hand if I have food and almost completely stopped biting (which is a huge improvement considering she was determined to rip your fingers off if they were close to her when she arrived (Ouch!). A few month back, it only worked sometimes and only with her favorite treats, but she had already stopped hard biting. And for context, she was being maltreated in her previous family, which can scar a lot of pets for life. The more she'll feel safe, the more friendly she will become. I hope this helps! :)

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