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Why Does The Female Budgie Bully The Male?

Budgies are social birds, and while they can make great pets, they also have complex social dynamics within their flocks. In general, female budgies can be more dominant than males, but this does not necessarily mean that a female budgie is bullying a male.

Why Does The Female Budgie Bully The Male?

Female budgies are more prone to aggressive behaviors than males

Female budgies can sometimes bully male budgies, especially if they are kept in small or overcrowded cages. We would usually expect bossiness to come from the male of the species but the females can be bossy and dominating too, female budgies are more dominating than male budgies are.

Female budgies are more of the aggressive territorial and snappy types while the males are comparatively more laid back. In fact, all of my female budgies were bullies. They have always kept their distance and were quite snappy with me and the males. She beat the male once in the nest and broke some eggs. When my pair had babies in 2016 I had to handle her with a thick glove and she still managed to bite through it, my hands were full of bite marks for a month. It’s a fascinating sight to see when two budgies fight. They are going to have short, but anger-filled fights that are going to be unfortunate to watch, but also intriguing at the same time. Mine rarely have serious fights, but when they do fight it’s usually my blue boy getting his head feathers pulled out because he’s being annoying and it angers my green boy. He attempts to retaliate by winking slowly and making himself look as big as possible; budgies blink slowly to show they mean no harm. Slow blinking also means that a budgie is showing trust and affection.  

The signs of fighting include:

  • Nipping each other
  • Squeaking loudly at each other
  • Hitting the other with a wing

Two male budgies together

I have never had any problems with male birds, and in my experience keeping two males together is a better option if you don’t intend to breed them. Now I have two males together, two male budgies can live together in harmony. They play, feed, preen, and serenade each other.  Male budgies rarely fight seriously although they do bicker a lot. Mine got along well, it took about three months for them to bond with each other. I brought Hatchin home when he was five weeks old, so there's a five-year age difference between them. In the beginning, he even begged my Azuki for some food, but he ignored the young one with a typical I’m not your dad!” look. The irony is that now they feed each other, it’s a habit of budgies to show their friendship and respect for one another. 

It's best to keep budgies in pairs

It’s recommended to keep budgies in pairs. These tiny parrots are hardwired to be social. In the wild, they spend their lives in large flocks raising chicks, squabbling, and constantly grooming each other. This nurtures their intelligence and makes them feel safe. When a budgie feels safe, their stress levels drop, and their health flourishes. By keeping two budgies together, you can provide them with a companion that they can play, communicate, and groom with, which can improve their overall health and well-being. When keeping two budgies together, it's important to introduce them properly and make sure they get along before housing them in the same cage. If you are unable to keep two budgies, it's important to provide your budgie with enough socialization and stimulation to prevent loneliness and boredom. You can do this by spending time with your budgie each day, providing toys, and playing light music. When I’m not home for a few hours I always turn the radio on for them so they won’t be in total silence. However, even with these efforts, it's still recommended to have at least one other bird as a companion for your budgie. 

Budgies are social birds, and while they can make great pets, they also have complex social dynamics within their flocks. In general, female budgies can be more dominant than males, but this does not necessarily mean that a female budgie is bullying a male. Some signs of bullying behavior in budgies can include aggressive behavior such as biting or attacking, excessive chasing, or preventing another bird from accessing food or water. If you notice any of these behaviors, it's important to monitor the situation closely and intervene if necessary.

Although it's also possible that what you are observing is simply normal social behavior between two birds. Budgies often establish a pecking order within their flock, and this can involve some posturing and mild aggression between birds. Blue boy tends to be more chaotic and temperamental and he somehow always gets away with everything. As long as both birds appear healthy and are not injuring each other, this is likely normal behavior. If you are concerned about your budgies' behavior, it's always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian or an experienced bird owner to get their input on the situation. They can help you identify any potential issues and suggest strategies for addressing them.

Female aggressiveness and territorialism 

There can be several reasons for female aggressiveness, including territorial aggression, hormonal imbalances, or stress. It is important to remember that budgies, like all animals, have their own personalities and behaviors. Some budgies may be more aggressive than others, while some may be more submissive. For example, the best way to describe my blue boy is to say he’s chaotic good whereas my green boy, who is much older than him, is more laid back and submissive. He lets the little one get away with anything and that is a problem because when the blue boy’s behavior gets out of hand, he gets really possessive of toys and food.  Providing a safe and comfortable environment for both birds can help to minimize bullying behaviors and promote a healthy and happy relationship. Females can become more aggressive during breeding season or when they are hormonal, which can be more frequent in some females than in males. 

 Leslie George  01 Sep 2018  Gum Tree Claypan, Carnarvon, Western Australia, AustraliaPhoto credit: Leslie George

They can be more territorial than males, especially when they feel that their space or resources are being threatened. Female budgies have strong nesting instincts and may become more aggressive during breeding season or when they are trying to protect their nesting area. It is important to remember that aggression in budgies can be a sign of stress or other underlying health issues. If your female budgie's aggression is persistent or escalating, it is recommended to consult with an avian veterinarian for further advice. I can confirm that female budgies bite harder and more readily than their male counterparts. This is because they’re more protective of their toys, nests, and chicks. My boys are quite well-behaved, blue boy never bites me. Green boy does bite me but only after he has warned me several times, he’s quite patient and tolerant. 

Even if your female budgie’s attacks are not due to something serious, you shouldn't ignore them and let them carry on. Doing so will lead to a lot of tension and even injury to one or both of your budgies. It can be quite difficult to put a stop to it though when you are uncertain of why it’s happening in the first place. The aggression is seen more often geared toward other females, but it does happen toward males as well. We have all been around someone that we just don’t like. And while just not clicking usually does not lead us to attack one another, it can be different with budgies. Often, a female bird is just not interested in a relationship. If the male is constantly pursuing her during the breeding season, she might act aggressively to scare the male off in hopes that he will stop. If he does not take the hint and she continues to feel threatened, the attacks will continue and it may lead to one of them being hurt badly. It is much better to have them in separate cages if she seems uninterested in the male. 

There’s no difference in the size between male and female budgies (sexual dimorphism). Budgerigars are only sexually dimorphic in one regard: the color of their cere. Juveniles and chicks are monomorphic, while adults are told apart by their cere coloring and their behavior. Most bird species are not sexually dimorphic. This means that you can't identify what gender it is simply by looking at it. The color of the cere (the area containing the nostrils) differs between the sexes, being royal blue in males, pale brown to white (nonbreeding) or brown (breeding) in females, and pink in immatures of both sexes (usually of a more even purplish-pink color in young males). Some female budgerigars develop brown cere only during breeding time, which later returns to the normal color. Young females can often be identified by a subtle, chalky whiteness that starts around the nostrils. 

Small perches

When a perch is too small, both budgies are going to fight over space. If one of the budgies is dominant, they are going to want to have the perch all to themselves. This is going to lead to aggression on her part. If the perch is too small, it’s time to make adjustments and buy a new one. Any birdcage with multiple birds must have an equal amount of perches.

Uncomfortable living conditions and jealousy

This is a common reason that is also associated with needing multiple perches, accessories and. If you are not taking the time to create a hospitable environment for the birds (inside and outside the cage) then they are going to start acting up. An example of this would be a birdcage that doesn’t have enough food dishes or doesn’t include multiple toys. This may not work well for the budgies, especially if they want to have their own toys. Focus on creating a hospitable environment by investing in bird accessories, and perches, and regulating the air quality in your room. You should also avoid putting the birdcage in an area that is filled with noise (kitchen, close to TV) during the day. This is uncomfortable for the budgies.

Jealousy over you

You may be giving more attention to the male budgie unknowingly creating animosity between the two. This is a part of their socialization process and since you are a part of the flock, it is essential to share your time with them.

Here are some solutions for female aggressiveness: 

  1. Separate the birds: If the female budgie is consistently aggressive towards the male, it may be necessary to separate them into separate cages.
  2. Increase the size of the cage: If the birds are currently in a small cage, consider upgrading to a larger cage that provides more space and territory for both birds.
  3. Provide multiple feeding stations: Having multiple feeding stations can help to reduce competition and prevent bullying over food.
  4. Add perches and toys: Adding perches and toys to the cage can help to provide additional territory for the birds and reduce stress.
  5. Monitor their behavior: Monitor the birds' behavior closely to identify any triggers or patterns of aggression. If the behavior persists or worsens, consider consulting with a veterinarian or a bird behaviorist for further advice.

Many people believe that male budgies are sweeter-natured than female budgies. There’s some truth to this, as females have more territorial and aggressive tendencies. Male budgies are friendlier, less aggressive, and more likely to sing. Female budgies are quieter, more territorial, and snappier. So, males are easier to train because they’re more relaxed and sociable. Males usually sing more, but females can be encouraged to vocalize. Likewise, females are more aggressive, but one that’s given a happy lifestyle and enough space will behave more calmly.

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