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The English Budgie - A Guide

The English Budgerigar, often referred to as the English Budgie or the Show Budgie, and the Australian Budgerigar, commonly known as the Australian Budgie or the Budgie, are two distinct variations of the same species, Melopsittacus undulatus. While they share a common ancestry, there are notable differences between these two captivating birds that make each of them unique in their own right

The English Budgie - A Guide

Whether it is the vivid colors of its feathers, the mesmerizing patterns adorning its wings, or the joyous melodies it sings, the English Budgie never fails to captivate the heart and soul of anyone fortunate enough to witness its presence.

One cannot help but be enchanted by the English Budgie's magnificent plumage. It possesses a rich tapestry of colors and patterns that create a visual symphony. Its feathers come in a breathtaking array of hues, ranging from vibrant yellows and luscious blues to deep greens and striking grays. The subtle blend of colors, delicately feathered across its body, creates a captivating mosaic of beauty. Each feather seems meticulously designed as if an artist had delicately painted each stroke with an expert hand. The English Budgie's wings, when outstretched, reveal a splendid spectacle of intricate patterns and shades, showcasing nature's unparalleled artistry.

The English Budgie is not only a visual delight but also a study in elegance. Its sleek and streamlined body exudes a sense of grace and poise. Its posture is regal, with an upright stance and a dignified aura. With every movement, it glides through the air effortlessly, as if performing an aerial ballet. The gentle sway of its tail feathers adds a touch of finesse to its already remarkable presence. Its slender legs and dainty feet allow it to perch with a delicate balance, emphasizing its innate sense of composure.

Beyond its physical attributes, the English Budgie possesses a personality that is equally enchanting. Known for its intelligence and curiosity, it is an inquisitive and sociable companion. Its bright and expressive eyes reflect its sharp intellect, as it observes and learns from its surroundings. The English Budgie's cheerful disposition and playful nature make it a delightful addition to any household. Its ability to mimic sounds and words adds to its charm, as it engages in amusing conversations with its human counterparts.

The English Budgie is not just a solitary beauty but also a bird that thrives in the company of its flock. Its melodious songs and chirps create a symphony of joyful sounds, filling the air with an enchanting melody. Watching a group of English Budgies interacts is akin to observing a vibrant community. Their playful antics, gentle preening rituals, and synchronized flights showcase their strong bond and emphasize the importance of companionship in their lives. 

What's the difference between the English Budgie and the Australian Budgie?

Appearance-wise, the most noticeable distinction between the English Budgie and the Australian Budgie lies in their size and overall conformation. The English Budgie is larger and more robust compared to its Australian counterpart. It exhibits a more substantial and rounded head, with a broader face and a prominent forehead. In contrast, the Australian Budgie has a slightly smaller frame and a slimmer head, giving it a more streamlined appearance.

Another significant difference lies in their plumage. The English Budgie is renowned for its luxurious, long, and profuse feathers. Its plumage displays an array of vivid colors and intricate patterns, ranging from vibrant blues and yellows to striking grays and greens. These feathers are meticulously bred for perfection, often exhibiting a high level of feather quality and feather density. Conversely, the Australian Budgie's plumage is generally more compact and shorter in comparison. While it also possesses a variety of colors, its feathers are typically more modest and less extravagant than those of its English counterpart.

The English Budgie's show-stopping plumage and robust physique make it a popular choice for avian exhibitions and competitions, where it is often judged based on its conformity to breed standards. Breeders have dedicated years of selective breeding to enhance specific traits, resulting in the creation of these exquisite show birds. Conversely, the Australian Budgie's charm lies in its natural and unaltered appearance, appealing to enthusiasts who appreciate its inherent beauty without the need for extensive breeding for exhibition purposes.

In terms of temperament and behavior, both the English Budgie and the Australian Budgie share common traits. They are known for their sociable and intelligent nature, forming strong bonds with their human companions. However, there are subtle variations in their personalities. The English Budgie tends to be calmer and more docile, often displaying a regal and dignified demeanor. It enjoys engaging in interactive play with its human caregivers and is more likely to mimic sounds and words with precision. On the other hand, the Australian Budgie is generally livelier and more active, often exhibiting playful antics and energetic flights. It possesses a delightful, cheerful disposition and can become a delightful source of entertainment.

It is worth noting that these descriptions highlight general tendencies and characteristics, and individual variations can occur within both English and Australian Budgies.

While the English Budgie and the Australian Budgie share a common heritage, they possess distinct differences that set them apart. The English Budgie impresses with its larger size, prominent features, and extravagant plumage that is the result of selective breeding for show purposes. In contrast, the Australian Budgie captivates with its natural charm, compact stature, and lively disposition. Whether one is drawn to the elegance and sophistication of the English Budgie or the lively and spirited nature of the Australian Budgie, both variations offer unique and delightful companionship, enriching the lives of bird enthusiasts worldwide.

Although there are some general differences in Australian versus English budgie behavior, you should keep in mind that it all comes down to the individual in the end. The species is not prone to aggression at all and is just a great, cheerful bird to have around.

The English variety stands out in the following aspects:

  • It tends to be calmer than Australian budgies, which are quite lively and hyperactive.
  • It’s usually quieter, with a softer and lower voice. 
  • It seems to warm a little more easily to human contact.

Azuki is a mixed breed of English and Australian budgie. His head, beard, and body are way bigger than Hatchin's. He also weighs 10 grams (0.35 oz) more than Hatchin. He has a quiet and non-confrontational temperament. While Azuki is mellow and laid-back, Hatchin is like a toy you wind up, he's always moving he can't sit still. 

Size comparison between Azuki and Hatchin.

Origins of the English Budgie

The English Budgerigar is a domesticated breed of budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus). The budgerigar species is native to Australia, specifically the arid regions of the continent. Budgerigars have a long history in Australia, where they have lived in the wild for thousands of years.

The English Budgie, as we know it today, is the result of selective breeding by aviculturists in the United Kingdom. In the early 19th century, British naturalists and explorers started bringing budgerigars from Australia to England. These birds captured the attention of breeders due to their captivating appearance, intelligence, and ability to mimic sounds and words.

The breeding programs in England aimed to develop budgerigars with specific traits, such as larger size, longer and denser plumage, and a wider variety of colors. Over time, through careful selection and breeding, these English Budgerigars began to exhibit distinct characteristics that set them apart from their wild counterparts and even other domesticated budgerigar varieties.

English Budgies were selectively bred for the show circuit, with the goal of creating birds that adhere closely to the breed standard set by organizations such as the Budgerigar Society in the United Kingdom. These standards outline specific criteria for the bird's size, shape, feather quality, color patterns, and other characteristics desired in exhibition budgerigars.

The breeding efforts focused on producing birds with a more robust physique, larger head and beak, luxurious feathering, and intense and vibrant colors. This resulted in the development of English Budgies that differ significantly from the wild-type budgerigars in appearance.

English Budgerigars gained popularity around the world, and their breeding and exhibition became a passion for many avicultural enthusiasts. They have become sought-after pets and exhibition birds due to their striking beauty and engaging personalities.

While the English Budgerigar has its origins in Australia, its development as a distinct breed primarily occurred in the United Kingdom through selective breeding efforts by dedicated aviculturists. Today, English Budgies can be found in homes, aviaries, and bird shows worldwide, continuing to capture the hearts of bird enthusiasts with their enchanting beauty and charming personalities.

All about the English Budgie

Do English Budgies make good pets?

One of the notable characteristics of English Budgies is their sociability. They are known for their friendly and interactive nature, often forming strong bonds with their human caregivers. English Budgies enjoy spending time with their owners, and with proper socialization and handling, they can become quite tame and affectionate. Their intelligence allows them to learn tricks, mimic sounds and words, and engage in interactive play, making them entertaining and engaging pets.

English Budgies also have a charming personality. They are often described as being gentle, calm, and less prone to sudden bursts of energy compared to their smaller counterparts. Their regal and dignified demeanor adds to their appeal, as they carry themselves with elegance and grace.

Additionally, English Budgies are visually stunning with their luxurious plumage and vibrant colors. Their appearance can be a source of joy and admiration for their owners, as well as a conversation starter for visitors. Their striking features make them an attractive addition to any home or aviary.

However, it's important to note that owning any pet, including English Budgies, requires commitment, time, and effort. Budgies are social creatures and thrive on interaction, so they should not be left alone for extended periods. They require a spacious cage with plenty of toys and perches for mental stimulation and exercise. A balanced diet consisting of high-quality bird food, fresh fruits, and vegetables is essential for their health and well-being.

Furthermore, prospective owners should be aware that English Budgies may require more extensive grooming due to their longer feathers. Regular bathing and occasional feather trimming may be necessary to maintain their plumage in good condition.

Health and life-span differences

With extensive selective breeding of any animal can come issues, and the English budgie is no exception. Inbreeding is not uncommon when trying to achieve certain visual traits, and it can unfortunately weaken the resulting offspring. A good breeder won’t allow budgies with problems to reproduce, but certain issues don’t pop up until later or go completely unnoticed.

English budgies are more prone to health issues. They don’t suffer any disease in particular, instead appearing more susceptible to all the normal problems (crop infections, lung problems, sudden illness). Their lifespan is also shorter than that of a normal budgie. However, Azuki is by far the least problematic bird I've had so far. He's never been sick a day in his life. When I took him in, I didn't know he was a mixed breed, he just looked slightly larger than the others around him. I personally prefer the Australian budgie. 

Even with great care, most English budgies don’t make it past 10, while 15-20 isn’t all too uncommon for American ones. If you do want an English budgie, this is definitely something to consider. Some parrot enthusiasts avoid them for exactly this reason, stating that breeding birds solely for looks instead of health causes more trouble and suffering than it’s worth.

Are English Budgies more expensive? 

English Budgies are generally more expensive than Australian Budgies. There are several reasons for the price difference:

  1. Breeding and Quality: English Budgies are bred for specific traits, such as larger size, longer and denser plumage, and a wider variety of colors. Breeders invest significant time and effort in selective breeding programs to achieve these desired characteristics. The meticulous breeding process, as well as the higher standards set by bird show organizations, contribute to the higher price tag of English Budgies.

  2. Show Potential: English Budgies are often bred and selected for exhibition purposes. Breeders focus on producing birds that closely adhere to the breed standards outlined by bird show organizations. Show-quality English Budgies, which possess the desired traits and have a higher chance of winning competitions, tend to command higher prices.

  3. Rarity: English Budgies are relatively rarer compared to Australian Budgies. Their distinctive characteristics, such as larger size and unique plumage, make them more sought after by enthusiasts. The limited availability and higher demand for English Budgies contribute to their higher price in the market.

  4. Market Factors: Prices can also vary depending on factors such as location, breeder reputation, and availability in the local market. In some regions, English Budgies may be more commonly available and therefore relatively more affordable compared to other areas where they may be less accessible.

Physical characteristics of English Budgies

English Budgies possess distinct physical characteristics that set them apart from other budgerigar varieties:

  1. Size: English Budgies are larger in size compared to their wild-type counterparts. They typically measure between 7 to 8.5 inches (18 to 22 centimeters) in length from beak to tail.

  2. Head: English Budgies have a more substantial and rounded head, which is one of their distinguishing features. Their forehead is usually prominent, giving them a distinctive facial appearance.

  3. Beak: The beak of an English Budgie is relatively larger and stronger compared to other budgerigar varieties. It has a sturdy appearance and is typically a light color, such as pale yellow or pink.

  4. Plumage: English Budgies are known for their luxurious and dense feathering. Their feathers are longer and more abundant compared to other budgerigar types. This gives them a fuller and more robust appearance. The feathering can be found in a wide variety of colors, including vibrant blues, striking greens, vivid yellows, and rich grays.

  5. Color Variations: English Budgies are bred for a wide range of color mutations, which further enhance their visual appeal. These mutations can result in unique patterns and color combinations, such as opaline, pied, spangle, cinnamon, and lutino, among others.

  6. Tail: The tail feathers of an English Budgie are typically longer and more expansive compared to other budgerigar varieties. When fully extended, the tail forms an elegant and graceful arc.

  7. Posture: English Budgies exhibit a more upright and regal posture. They have a straight back and carry themselves with a dignified and proud demeanor.

  8. Eye Color: English Budgies typically have dark, expressive eyes. The eye color can vary depending on the individual bird's genetics and color mutation.


English Budgies, like their wild-type counterparts, have an average lifespan of around 5 to 10 years. However, with proper care, a healthy diet, and a nurturing environment, some English Budgies have been known to live well beyond 10 years, with some reaching up to 15 years or more.

It's important to note that individual budgies' lifespan can be influenced by various factors, including genetics, diet, overall health, and the quality of care they receive. Providing a well-balanced diet consisting of high-quality bird food, fresh fruits, and vegetables, along with regular exercise and mental stimulation, can contribute to their longevity and overall well-being.

Regular veterinary check-ups are also essential to monitor their health and detect any potential health issues early on. Additionally, a clean and safe environment, with proper housing, regular cleaning of their cage, and minimizing exposure to stressors, can contribute to their overall health and lifespan.

It's worth mentioning that while the average lifespan for English Budgies falls within the range mentioned above, individual budgies may vary and may live shorter or longer lives based on their unique circumstances. By providing attentive care, a healthy lifestyle, and regular veterinary attention, budgie owners can help ensure their English Budgies have the best chance for a long and fulfilling life.


Read more here about the ideal budgie nutrition.

Sources To Learn More

Affordable Birds at PetSmart: Healthy and Cared For

Everything You Need to Know About Buying and Caring for Budgies at PetSmart - The Ultimate Guide for Bird Owners

Before purchasing a bird from PetSmart or any other pet store, it is important to do your research and consider whether you are prepared to provide the necessary care for the bird.

Budgie vs Parakeet: What’s the difference?

Budgie vs Parakeet: What’s the difference?

Parakeets are birds that are generally regarded as the smallest of all parrot species. A parakeet is any one of many small to medium-sized species of parrot, in multiple genera, that generally has long tail feathers. Parrots, also known as psittacines, are birds of the roughly 398 species in 92 genera comprising the order Psittaciformes, found mostly in tropical and subtropical regions. One-third of all parrot species are threatened by extinction, with higher aggregate extinction risk (IUCN Red List Index) than any other comparable bird group.

Why Do Female Budgies Bully Males?

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The Budgie: Everything You Need To Know

All About Budgies

Budgerigars, also known as Melopsittacus undulatus, are a species of small parrots native to the arid regions of Australia. These birds typically measure between 15 and 18 centimeters in length and weigh between 30 and 40 grams. They are characterized by their bright, colorful plumage, which can range from shades of green, blue, yellow, and white.

Budgie Lifespan: How Long Do Budgies Live?

A Budgie's Lifespan

Budgies have an average lifespan of about 10-15 years. Although this amount varies, a well looked after and healthy budgie will reach this age. The amount of time a budgie will live depends on several factors: overall quality of life, no serious illnesses, good general care, ideal diet and environment.

How To Tell A Budgie's Age

A Comprehensive Guide To Identifying Your Budgie's Age

Mostly, when you buy a new pet bird, it comes with its breeding information. If there’s none, you can identify the pet’s age by observing some features like cere, eyes, and cap feathers. These features change as the bird ages, making it possible to guess its age.