Budgies can learn words and complete sentences. They can whistle songs and mimic artificial noises, like telephones and doorbells. This is a credit to their high intelligence and social nature.
In the wild, budgies often pick up sounds from their flock and adapt to new sounds if they join a different flock. This can leave owners wondering if they’re smart enough to know their names.
Budgies assign each other specific noises that allow them to call out to parents, siblings, and flock-mates. While these are contact calls and not names, they are the budgie equivalent of a name.
Budgies respond to the names that owners give them. They may perk up, fly to meet their owners, respond, or stop what they’re doing.
The younger the budgie is when it learns its name, the more likely it will respond.
The best approach is to choose a simple name, reward the budgie when you say it, and train it consistently until it learns its moniker.
Do Budgies Recognize Their Names?
It’s widely accepted that budgies recognize their names.
According to Biological Sciences, budgies (and most parrots) can assign certain peeps and sounds to each other. While these are not official names, they function similarly.
Researchers listened to various bird pairs in different nests. The budgies used specific peeps and sounds to identify themselves to other flock members.
These sounds were given to them by their parents while inside the egg. The parents repeated the sounds, with occasional tweaks, to the newly-hatched chicks. Within days, the chicks adopted specific peeps to identify and call out to the parents, siblings, and other flock members.
Of course, it could be argued that this is a contact call, not a true name.
However, a contact call is the equivalent of a budgie name. It’s unique to the budgie and the individual that’s being called, and it’s used to get that individual bird’s attention, so it responds.
Can Budgies Learn Their Name?
According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a budgie can comprehend words at a level similar to that of a 7-month-old human baby.
Babies are expected to consistently understand and respond to their names at this age, with some learning it as early as 5-6 months. So, it makes sense that a budgie can do the same.
Wild budgies learn the common songs and calls of their flock. They adapt these to their own vocabulary and sing them back.
If a budgie is ostracized from its flock, it’ll seek out a new flock, learning its sounds to integrate fully. This indicates that budgies don’t just pick up random noises that strike them as appealing. They can distinguish between individual sounds and learn to use them accordingly.
According to Animal Cognition, budgies can perceive lexical stress. When mimicking speech, they know what part of a sentence to emphasize, showing an understanding of how tone works.
So, we can assume that budgies at least recognize the sound of their name. Even if they don’t understand it as an official title or moniker, they understand three main factors:
- Sound is unique
- Owners only use it around them
- Names are used to get their attention
Budgies can learn their names due to their biological intelligence and social nature.
Do Budgies Respond To Their Name?
A budgie can respond to its name but whether it does depends on how you train them. Budgies may respond to their names in the following ways:
- Call back to you
- Repeat its name
- Fly to meet the owner
- Stop what it’s doing
- Start paying attention to the owner
Of course, whether a budgie responds will depend on the following factors:
Budgies are high-spirited creatures that like to keep themselves busy. If the budgie doesn’t feel it’s a priority to respond to that specific noise, it may ignore the request.
The budgie may have difficulty recognizing the sound as a name and not a fun noise.
Most commonly, this happens when you don’t teach the name to the budgie consistently, so it’ll confuse the noise with other interesting sounds and feel no need to respond.
So, it may just repeat its name back to you and not realize the name is its own.
A budgie will prefer to learn other sounds before its name.
Budgies are more likely to pick up whistling than words, especially when female. That’s because males adopt the most songs and complex words to impress females during the mating season.
Regardless of the budgie’s sex, most birds will seek to entertain themselves because whistling is easier than talking. However, budgies are most likely to learn and respond to their name when:
- Taught the name daily
- Given a chance to respond regularly
- Trained away from other budgies
How To Teach A Budgie Its Name
Teaching a budgie its name requires effort and patience.
On average, a budgie takes 2 months to learn new words sufficiently to use them consistently and accurately. If the budgie has no prior experience with words, it may take longer.
These tips and advice will be beneficial to the learning process:
Pick A Simple Name
While a complex or long name may be a fun name for a budgie, remember that “difficult” is the opposite of “easy to learn.”
When choosing a moniker for a budgie, aim for a name that’s:
- Simple to pronounce
- Something you don’t plan on changing or shortening later
- Just one name, not several together
- Something you don’t mind repeating frequently
- Hasn’t been assigned to anyone else in the home or any objects
The budgie will learn the sound you use most often. So, don’t expect your budgie to respond to its full name if you only taught it a nickname.
Start Right Away
Before you complicate the learning process with other words or phrases, begin with the name.
This will help the budgie focus and associate the word with your interactions. If you start the budgie at a young age, it’s more likely to pick up its name and react appropriately.
Only Use The Name Around That Budgie
If you own several budgies, separate them before starting any name-training sessions. Otherwise, they may not understand who you’re referring to.
This will also keep the name distinct from other funny sounds you want to teach them.
Use The Name Specifically
Whenever you look at the budgie, call its name. This can happen when you greet it in the morning or call it to you.
If the budgie already knows some words, you can add the name to the end of its commands. For example, when telling it “up,” so it can hop onto your finger, say, “up, Polly.”
Set Training Times
Outside of regular interactions, train it to understand its name. This can be for 15 minutes a day or in 2-3 sessions of 15 minutes apiece with breaks.
By giving the budgie your undivided attention, you’re teaching it that this word is very important.
During training sessions, reward your budgie with a treat each time you say its name. This will teach your budgie that this is a good word, and it should pay close attention when it hears it.
Timing is a crucial factor in teaching your budgie anything, even its name. If the budgie is grumpy or in a bad mood, no communication technique will work.
Initiate the training session when your budgie is happy and active. A happy budgie will be attentive to social cues and more likely to absorb what it hears.
Start in The Morning
The best time to teach your budgie new words is in the morning, as this is when your budgie will be at its most vocal and expressive.
Use this to your advantage by calling out your budgie’s name in the morning and trying to get its attention. It will learn that a greeting is commonly associated with this name.
Can You Change a Budgie’s Name?
In theory, you can change a budgie’s name.
Wild budgies can drop old sounds and adapt to new ones to integrate with a new flock. Also, if a budgie is rehomed, it may use old words less and favor the new words it’s taught.
However, this takes time and training, especially if you have an older bird. The budgie may never adopt its new name, let alone understand that the new name is its only name.
It may struggle to recognize its new moniker and think it’s an interesting new sound, nothing more. So, it’s recommended that you let the budgie keep your budgie’s original name.
It won’t harm the budgie to change its name, but you may be the only one who recognizes the change.
If you must change the name, the easiest method is to choose a similar name to the old one to make the transition easier.