If two budgies mate, they’ll remain a pair for at least the time they raise their chicks together. Bonded budgies usually part company when their young fly the nest.
The two budgies recognize each other through a unique call and song. Even if separated, it’s believed that they can find each other again for up to 70 days.
The pair remain socially monogamous throughout their time together, so any other bird that attempts to come between them will be rejected.
However, a male budgie may engage in extra-pair copulation (EPC), mating with another female for the exclusive purpose of extensive breeding.
How Do Budgies Bond with Each Other?
As social birds, budgies bond together closely. A male and female budging sharing a cage will likely become close companions. To help captive birds live in harmony:
- Use a cage large enough for both budgies to have their own space and territory.
- Provide individual toys, food, and water supplies.
- Treat all budgies equally in terms of attention, handling, and feeding.
- Pair the budgies carefully, selecting ideal matches in terms of size, temperament, and gender.
The signs of budgies bonding include:
- Sharing a perch and leaning on each other.
- Taking turns to groom each other, especially the head.
- Playing together.
- Touching beaks in a way that resembles kissing.
The latter is likely a result of the two budgies sharing food, which is a vital sign of bonding.
Do Budgies Fall in Love?
If you notice any of the following behaviors, there’s a high chance that at least one of your budgies is attempting to instigate mating:
- Preening and puffing feathers, attempting to look impressive.
- Male tapping the beak of a female with his own.
- Female lifting her tail feathers and wings.
- Dilated pupils – the eyes will resemble pinpricks.
- Male sharing and providing food.
Describing budgies as falling in love based on standards set by humans (anthropomorphism) is rarely helpful. However, the relationship between two budgies can evolve from emotional to physical where a pair of budgies genuinely care for each other.
How Do Budgies Choose a Mate?
Many factors influence animals when choosing the ideal mate. Female budgies are unique because they seem to value a partner’s intelligence over size and strength.
Science stated that female budgies may be interested in a cagemate but switch their attention to a rival if this second bird solves a puzzle or problem that stumped the original bird.
Further analysis suggests that a problem-solving budgie shows a superior ability to forage for food.
Do Budgies Stay with One Partner for Life?
Two budgies stay together to raise their offspring, with male budgies also playing a role in caring for eggs and hatchlings. After this, budgies often go their separate ways.
Once two budgies mate, they remain bonded while nurturing and raising offspring. Males and females will take turns sitting on their eggs, and the male will ensure the female is well-fed and kept safe.
When the hatchlings are ready to fly the nest, usually after around three weeks, the paired budgies face a choice as to whether they breed again or seek entirely new partners.
Typically, a female budgie will fly away and find a new settlement some miles away before the next breeding season, while the male stays behind.
This is a precaution by the female, as she’s seeking a new mate for her next breeding cycle. By doing so far from her previous home, the budgie reduces the risk of inbreeding.
By traveling, any new budgie she encounters is unlikely to belong to the same bloodline.
Naturally, things are different for captive budgies, as the opportunity to fly away is taken away, and if the two birds are related, the damage of inbreeding is already done.
As a consequence, the budgies are likelier to remain bonded.
Are Budgies Monogamous?
While budgies raise chicks, they’ll remain a strong, bonded unit. A female will likely react aggressively to another male attempting to breed while she already has a mate.
This is known as social monogamy, as the bonded budgies recognize each other through birdsong and raise offspring together. We must note that social monogamy isn’t the same as sexual monogamy.
A male budgie may breed with other females while bonded to a mate, which is known as extra-pair copulation (EPC). Many birds, including budgies, indulge in EPC.
As Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology explains, EPC is most likely when birds live in less-than-ideal circumstances. For example, wild budgies nesting in a territory heavily populated by predators may practice EPC to enhance the population.
It’s only male budgies that gain significant benefit from EPC. Females will potentially suffer, as the male’s attention will be split between different nests and eggs.
To an extent, the male is also placing himself at risk. It’ll need to openly forage for food twice as often and potentially defend two nests from threats.
If she has time, a female may mate with a second partner, which is referred to as extra-pair paternity (EPP). However, most female budgies lack time to breed while nurturing young, preferring to seek a new partner in a different location.
Do Budgies That Mate for Life Cheat?
Animal Behavior explains that male budgies typically prefer engaging in extra-pair copulations when a mate isn’t looking or is otherwise engaged.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that male budgies feel shame for their wandering eye, but females factor this behavior into their search for a mate.
Breeding outside an established courtship harms the relationship between two budgies.
To this end, it could be considered a form of cheating for a male budgie to indulge in extra-pair copulations, even if it is theoretically for the good of the species.
If a budgie is to breed outside of an established partnership, it tries to do so with subtlety.
Do Budgies Get Lonely When Their Mate Dies?
As budgies are socially monogamous, they’ll notice the absence or disappearance of a bonded mate. This will result in grieving and mourning, such as:
- Lethargy and loss of interest in play
- Reluctance to eat or drink
- Excessive head bobbing
- Falling silent when previously vocal
- Plucking at feathers
While your budgie is grieving, it’ll need more attention from you than usual. If your budgie is used to spending every moment with a conspecific, time alone will feel increasingly jarring.
Budgies form unmistakable bonds with partners, whether as friends or mates. If both budgies live in captivity, two birds may mate for life.
If budgies stick to their instincts, they’ll remain monogamous for as long as it takes to raise offspring. In either outcome, the budgies will remember each other and forge a strong union.