Budgies can be trained to talk, but they can’t hold in-depth conversations with other birds and their owners. So, they rely on body language and vocalizations to express themselves.
Each type of budgie behavior has a positive or negative meaning, letting you know if your budgie feels happy, sick, hungry, excited, friendly, or angry. Budgies express themselves most actively with certain body part movements with their wings, feathers, heads, and tails.
Males are more likely to vocalize when happy and excited than females. More introverted budgies will subtly express themselves by clicking their beaks when happy. Certain body language has overlapping meanings, so head bobbing can imply happiness or hormonal changes.
Understanding Budgie Body Language
Budgies mostly communicate with each other and their owners through body language. They convey their message and express their mood with certain parts of the body, such as the following:
|Wings:||These may be held straight to show aggression or flap to show excitement.|
|Head:||Bobbing the head could imply high spirits, while ducking could mean it’s defensive.|
|Tail:||Twitching it could imply happiness or interest, while fanning could imply anger.|
|Feathers:||Budgies puff up their feathers when aggressive or smooth them down when calm.|
Most budgies express themselves in the same general way, but personality is a factor.
All budgies hold out their wings to show aggression. If your budgie has a louder disposition, this big and showy display may be its preferred way of letting everyone know that it’s upset.
However, if a budgie is shy and timid, it may puff up its feathers to show defensiveness and do wing lifting when things become more serious.
So, it’s easier to recognize behavioral patterns in some budgies than others.
Male vs. Female Budgie Behavior
The sex of a budgie can influence how it acts.
Male budgerigars are more likely to sing for lengthy periods of time. They’ll reach higher volumes and vary their songs more.
Males are friendlier, quickly get along with new cage mates and do more head-bobbing. Because they’re less territorial than females, they can be more welcoming of others.
Female budgerigars are more feisty, aloof, and evasive. They can still be sweet, but their defensive instincts make them wary of new things.
Females will sing, but not as often as males, and they tend to prefer lower volumes.
The main difference between males and females is their mating habits. Males will impress females by tapping objects, bobbing their heads, mimicking tunes, and showing their vibrant feathers.
Reading Budgie Behavior
Budgies are social and expressive parrots, so you’ll observe a wide range of body language. However, figuring out the exact meaning is less easy as meanings can overlap.
Here are some common behaviors and how to read them:
Angry or Aggressive Budgie Behavior
Budgies are rarely hostile by nature, and their outbursts of aggression are short-lived.
Budgies prefer to use their beak for climbing, eating, and preening. According to the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, biting is a last resort for budgies.
However, budgies may squabble over food or quarrel over companions, toys, and territory.
Here are some aggressive behaviors:
- Hissing to warn other birds or people
- Raising its wings
- Chasing other birds around the cage
- Clicking the beak sharp and consistently
- Marching with its head
- Fanning its tail
- Picking at another bird’s head or feathers
- Biting another budgie’s feet
- Biting at fingers
- Stopping other budgies eating or drinking
If you notice these signs, your budgie is upset and angry.
Happy Budgie Behavior
Budgies are usually social and energetic birds.
When happy, they sing or chatter to themselves, other birds, or owners. The more intricate the song, the more entertained and excited your budgie becomes.
According to Animal Cognition, part of how we know budgies are intelligent creatures is how they perceive lexical stress. That is when they understand where to emphasize a word, cleverly using syllables.
Extroverted budgies may express their happiness loudly by:
If your budgie is shy, it may express happiness by:
- Clicking or grinding its beak
- Whistling or chirping
- Sticking out its tongue
While budgies display certain behaviors, their personalities remain important.
Hormonal Budgie Behavior
A sudden change in a budgie’s behavior can be due to hormones.
Hormones are responsible for the following:
- Mating instincts
- Exiting puberty
Aggression can result from an upcoming molt or the last phase of puberty. Your budgie might hiss at you or bite your finger when you put it in its cage.
A molting budgie often secludes itself away from you and other budgies. It may not seem as engaged as before, and while it’ll enjoy your company, it’ll temporarily be feeling a little off.
To show its readiness to mate, a budgie may touch beaks, preen each other, display its colorful plumage, and make chattering sounds.
Scared Budgie Behavior
Budgies can be spooked by new people, loud sounds, and fast movements.
As prey animals, they’ve naturally evolved to be on high alert for signs of danger. That can mean your budgie gets scared suddenly and takes steps to protect itself.
By detecting this change in behavior, you can alleviate any threats or stressors.
Here are signs that your budgie is afraid of something:
- Loud screeching
- Chirping incessantly
- Plucking feathers
- Quivering body or wings
- Flapping wings
- Flying erratically
You may observe these behaviors if your budgie wakes up due to night frights.
Hungry Budgie Behavior
Budgies are small parrots, but they have large appetites relative to their size.
Budgies must have access to food 24/7 so that they can eat at their leisure. If they don’t, and the budgie gets hungry, you can expect some behavioral changes.
Hungry budgies will display the following behaviors:
- Hissing, biting, or driving away other birds
- Scratching at the cage’s floor
- Shredding decorations and toys
- Guarding its food bowl when it has food
- Foraging when allowed to roam free
- Scouring the floor for stray food crumbs
When pushed to their limit, budgies will start yelling and shrieking to gain your attention.
Friendly Budgie Behavior
Most budgies are friendly and social, with males more willing to get along with others than females.
If your budgie is feeling in a sociable mood, it’ll do the following:
- Preening other budgies or an owner’s hair
- Bobbing its head and shifting side to side
- Clicking or chirping at you or other budgies
- Tapping its beak against another budgie’s in a ‘kiss’
- Teasing other budgies by nipping at them and retreating
- Chattering with other budgies or at you
Mutual grooming is the main indicator that your budgie likes its friend or appreciates you. Head bobbing is done by extroverted budgies, but shyer birds may head bob when attracting a mate.
Affectionate Budgie Behavior
Budgies are affectionate birds that bond with others. If you spend time with them, you should find it:
- Picking up words or mimicking sounds
- Chattering, singing, or clicking its tongue
- Dancing and bobbing when you walk into the room
- Trying to stay close to you, such as by running to the edge of a perch
- Grooming you by tugging at your hair or clothes
- Nuzzling against your neck when it sits on your shoulder
- Regurgitating on you
While you can discourage unsightly habits like regurgitation, other signs of affection should be rewarded. You can reciprocate by petting your budgie, offering treats, or talking back.
Bored Budgie Behavior
Budgies need mental stimulation throughout the day. If they don’t get sufficient enrichment, they may become temperamental and destructive, attempting to make their own fun.
Watch out for bored or depressed behaviors such as:
- Tearing up toys or decorations
- Throwing seed or waste
- Plucking feathers
- Gnawing cage bars
- Flapping its wings
- Pacing back and forth
- Stops chirping
- Acting defensively
If you’re concerned about your budgie’s well-being, check these signs of good health.
Distressed Budgie Behavior
Budgies don’t handle change well and could display behavior like:
- Refuse to leave their cage
- Spending less time with others
- Showing aggression, such as food guarding
- Feather picking and biting at the skin
- Pacing in its cage
- Screeching or screaming
- Loss of appetite
- Sleeping for longer
Stress bars might appear, which are visible lines that run crosswise along their feathers.
Sick Budgie Behavior
Budgies will attempt to hide their illnesses to avoid appearing vulnerable.
Regardless, it’ll display generalized behaviors, such as:
- Sleeping more than normal
- Lethargy or disinterest in playing
- Not eating or drinking much
- Refusal to fly
- Drinking far more or less than usual
- Fluffed up feathers
- Refusing to communicate
- Failing to preen or groom itself
- An unwillingness to bathe
If you see any of these signs in your budgie, it is best to take it to the vet.
Pregnant Budgie Behavior
Budgies can’t be pregnant, but they can become gravid, which means they’re carrying eggs.
While gravid, your budgie will display certain behaviors:
- Cleaning herself and nesting area
- Running off other budgies that get too close
- Refusal to leave the nesting area
- Loose bowel movements
The female will lay one egg at a time and space it out over several days. If you notice that your budgie is spending hours straining itself to lay an egg, this could signify egg binding.
New Budgie Behavior
When a budgie is new to your home, it’ll initially act out of character.
Budgies are easily startled by new surroundings. It takes time to familiarize themselves with the room, smells, foods, new people, and other pets. Expect your budgie to be shy, defensive, or aggressive.
New budgie behaviors include the following:
- Hiding in its cage and refusing to come near the bars
- Hesitant about new food and drinking water
- Keeps its distance from other budgies
- Hisses or bites if you reach for it
- Sleeping less than normal
- Straightens its posture to seem more threatening
- Less vocal, refusing to sing, talk, or chatter
- Urgently flying and fluttering from one side of its cage to the other
A budgie that has to worry about a pet cat and a new home will be more stressed. Also, if the budgie has been rehomed several times or been mistreated, it may act defensively.
Budgies have many ways of expressing themselves, and each behavior has a different meaning. Pay attention to the cues and use them to make your budgie feel more comfortable. You’ll see more happy and friendly behaviors and fewer angry or distressed behaviors if you do.