Budgie Courtship and Breeding Behaviour

Once paired, budgies reach peak fitness when the cock’s cere is a vivid blue and the hen’s is chocolate brown. They begin to perch, feed and preen together. Providing bathing water helps get them in the mating mood. The male displays to his mate, with lots of head-bobbing and feather-fluffing, his pupils often dilating to pinpricks. He accompanies this with a bubbling, liquid song, often working himself into a hyperactive state of all-singing, all-dancing eagerness.

The female watches and listen to these antics closely, but does not join in. She has her own mating season chirrup, and the male often joins in with her when she shouts it.

Budgie Mating

The male persistently courts his mate, tapping her beak with his own to stimulate her. The female eventually lifts her tail in the air, raising her wings a little to let the male know that his wooing efforts have been successful. The cock bird then ‘treads’ the hen by performing the ‘cloacal kiss’ – touching the vent or cloaca (an all-purpose repository for sperm, droppings and egg-laying, common to most birds), and rubbing from side to side. The process is swift, but will take place several times that day.


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Mating budgies

Budgie Not Mating

If there’s no action, it may be that the birds are too young, or too old. If they’re still bickering after a few days together, they simply don’t get on. Occasionally a bird will opt to be celibate, probably due to suppressed hormones. This may be a temporary condition, or it may be a saintly lifetime’s commitment.

Budgie Nesting Behaviour

Budgies make very little fuss about nesting. The female will inspect the nesting box; or, if one is not provided, she will start scratching around in the corners of the cage or aviary for a suitable spot. Other members of the parrot family like to shred paper and collect dried grass and line their nests, but not budgies. If you put these items in the nesting box to make it warmer and softer, that’s fine, but don’t think the hen is going to help you!

A hen who has felt the hormonal surge of the mating season may start searching for nesting opportunities beyond the cage, if she is allowed free-flight in a room. The space behind the books on a bookshelf, or that cobwebby area at the back of the hi-fi are the sorts of places that will appeal to her. This behaviour is sometimes accompanied by heightened aggression. You can take her mind off nesting (if that’s what you want) by confining her to the cage for a couple of days. Check her diet, too, and go easy on the high protein foods, as these tend to bring on the nesting urge.

Budgie Behaviour Before Laying Eggs

Once mating has finished, the hen will install herself in the nest box, arranging the minimal furnishings, and emerging to eat and feed on the mineral block and cuttlefish. The male will start to feed her with regurgitated food as soon as she is nest-bound. Her abdomen will be visibly swollen as the eggs develop, as will her vent. Her droppings may be larger than usual, with a slightly different hue as she stocks up on the protein and minerals she needs. This is perfectly normal.

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Comments

Judy, 15 October 2019

On two occasions my 6 month old budgies have had fits of flapping and darting into the sides of the cage in the early morning hours. They seem to be panicked but I can find no cause. It lasts a couple of minutes. What could be the cause?


Sarah, 30 September 2019

Abraham, it sounds like there could be one of a few things happening. 1. Both parents may be inexperienced and don't know what to do with the newborn clutch, so they are throwing them out of the nest. Or, 2. The male may be becoming territorial and aggressive with new live babies in his birdbox and throwing the babies out himself. *The first thing you could try is placing the male in a separate cage as soon as the babies begin to hatch. Keep a very close eye on hatching if the babies have been thrown out immediately after hatching in the past. *If the babies are still thrown out, then it's a pretty safe bet that you have an immature pair, specifically the female and there's really not much you can do to change her mothering instincts. If she normally incubates the eggs all the way through to hatch, and you are up for it, you could remove the babies as soon as they hatch or even a day or two before hatch, and hand feed the babies yourself. Although, caring for them is a HUGE responsibility that you would need to research and learn about in detail before attempting. How to provide them the correct environment (temp, humidity) alone is difficult, let alone the grueling feeding schedule. If your life doesn't allow for that, and most people's live's do not, you could sell the babies upon hatching, eggs upon pipping or even freshly laid to a reputable breeder near you. Or better yet, you could just prevent your pair from breeding in the future. Good luck, hope that helps. : )


Sarah, 30 September 2019

Trevor, yes, this is normal. Many birds will actually pluck some feathers out to keep eggs warm.


Serena, 24 September 2019

Ive 2 budgies both seem happy ive put a nesting box in but the henis still scratching at the paper wont go in box ive put sawdust is it thatt shes just not ready or shall I leave boxflap open there is a hole to get in ..is it better on perch or is it better on floor or is she just not that into him lol


Lynn, 16 September 2019

I have 2 budgies that are breeding for 2 months no babies yet can I put 2 more in same cage would I have to buy another breeding box

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