Budgies are accustomed to living in flocks of up to 100 birds in the wild. They’re extremely social birds that become unhappy without a friend or mate for company.
Unfortunately, a single budgie may manifest physical and behavioral symptoms of loneliness.
A lonely budgie may refuse to eat while growing irritable and withdrawn. Also, you may notice that your budgie suddenly becomes less active and playful without a friend.
Budgies sometimes engage in self-destructive behaviors when they feel lonely. So, you’ll need to find out the reason(s) behind your budgie’s melancholy and take steps to alleviate any issues.
Do Budgies Feel Lonely?
Budgies are social creatures that thrive in the company of compatible budgies.
Budgies like to interact and play with other budgies, and they enjoy the attention they receive from their owners. For this reason, they’ll feel unhappy when deprived of companionship and attention.
Extra playtime and attention can ford this gap rather than buying another budgie. However, it’s difficult for an owner to offer a budgie the level of playtime, socialization, and company it needs.
How Can I Tell If My Budgie Is Lonely?
You can tell if your budgie is lonely by observing behavioral changes, such as:
Loss of Appetite
A budgie may eat less or refuse to eat, so check if your budgie’s weight is normal. Even healthy budgies rarely survive for more than 48 hours without food and 24 hours without water.
Take your budgie to the vet to see if a lack of appetite has been triggered by illness.
Happy and healthy budgies are active and vocal during the day. They’ll often spend hours talking, singing, and playing with their owners and other budgies.
If your budgie suddenly stops chirping and doesn’t want to engage, this signifies unhappiness.
According to the Italian Journal of Animal Science, feather plucking is common among parrot species. Usually, it’s caused by the budgie:
- Not getting proper nutrition
- Being sexually frustrated
- Feeling bored
- Experiencing loneliness
Feather-plucking results from the stress your budgie feels from being alone. It may preen to self-soothe but do so too often, damaging its feathers in the process.
The frustration of being alone may also cause your budgie to turn destructive. It could shred its toys, cage liners, and feathers to act out.
Budgies isolate themselves when feeling sad and lonely, which often happens when a budgie is grieving the death of a cage mate. Budgies may withdraw from others if they are struggling with loss.
Therefore, if you observe your pet budgie shying away from you or hiding in its cage when you attempt to play with them, it’s likely dealing with feelings of loneliness.
Newly-adopted budgies sometimes hide from their owners out of fear. So, don’t automatically conclude that your budgie is lonely, especially if you’ve recently brought it into your home.
Some budgies will pluck out their feathers and chew their skin when lonely.
This causes injuries that expose budgies to bacterial infections and other health problems. Depending on the severity of the injuries, a budgie can even die from self-mutilation.
Why Do Budgies Feel Lonely?
Budgies develop strong bonds of attachment with their partners and flock members. However, they rely on their owners for companionship and care when kept in captivity.
Budgies need these attachments to feel fulfilled. If this bond is lacking, or something in the environment creates a barrier, this can lead to loneliness in budgies.
Sometimes, a human companion isn’t enough, or two budgies don’t get along, which can cause problems, despite having company.
Here are the most common reasons when budgies feel lonely:
Deprived of Attention
When deprived of proper care and attention, budgies feel stressed and lonely.
Simply adopting and feeding a budgie isn’t enough. You need to satisfy its need for love and affection, so set aside time each day to interact and play with your budgie.
Changed Position of the Bird Cage
Budgies are creatures of habit that form strong emotional attachments to their homes. Shifting the position of a cage once it’s grown used to its environment can cause budgies to feel sad.
Death of Cagemate
Budgies form strong relationships with other birds, becoming lonely when a cage mate or partner dies. When a mate dies, the surviving budgie will experience grief, sadness, depression, and loneliness.
Budgies mourning the loss of their partner will often show melancholy symptoms, such as searching the cage for the lost budgie and calling out for it.
According to the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, budgies memorize the vocalizations of their partners during the early stages of courtship. So, when a budgie loses its partner, it’ll mimic the voice of its deceased partner in a desperate yet futile attempt to draw it out.
While mourning usually lasts 1-2 weeks, this timeframe can be longer.
Lost Favorite Toy
Budgies enjoy playing with their toys and often get attached to them.
Sometimes, a budgie will see its reflection in a mirror or reflective toy as a potential mate and try to pair with it. The budgie will grow lonely if the toy is removed, even if it’s for its own good.
Budgies have favorite toys and can experience distress when they can’t find them. If your budgie destroyed its favorite toy and needs a replacement, it may feel sad and lonely until one is provided.
How To Help A Lonely Budgie
There are various things you can do to help a budgie feel less sad and lonely, including:
Budgies are social animals that require several hours a day of attention to remain mentally healthy.
When your budgie feels lonely after losing a companion or toy, be extra attentive to its additional emotional needs. Make more time to interact with your budgie and play with it.
Budgies are fascinated by toys and often spend hours playing with new objects in their cage. If your budgie feels sad or lonely, get some different toys to distract it from any negative or painful emotions.
Getting a compatible replacement budgie if they lose a mate should be considered. This should ideally be a companion of the same species, as this will make it much easier for them to get along and bond.