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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.

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.

Customer Images

Budgie in cage
Budgie looking in mirror


Heidi, 26 April 2024

How long after mating does the parakeet hen lay her eggs?

Lisa, 3 January 2024

Is it OK to have a 8 mo old female parakeet with a 3 mo old male parakeet?How old must the male be in order to mate?

Tania, 24 October 2023

How long does it take for bonded pair of budgies to mate. Nesting box ready in cage together. Put in a room by themselves, door shut for privacy. They are both just over 1 yr old.

Bonnie, 18 June 2023

I have two females and one male parakeet. The male and one female have paired off and have mated. However they are attacking the one female who is smaller.. is this normal and should I take her out and leave the couple?

Dusty, 28 June 2022

Male's and female's ceres aren't vivid blue and chocolate brown right now, but the two seem to be in courtship. She cheeps like a baby and he feeds her. She has the choice of either a gourd or a coconut shell to nest in. He's in the mood! (He doesn't try to mount her, instead just hangs on to a rope toy and rubs himself on a branch in the cage.) I offer them boiled egg and and fruit and vegetable scraps every day. And they get plenty of daylight! Wonder what's up?