Budgies are expressive birds that dance, sing, hang upside down, tap beaks, nuzzle, etc. So, it can be hard to distinguish normal activity from a budgie’s mating behavior.
When budgies are preparing to mate, the pair will call out to each other regularly, preen each other’s feathers, and touch beaks.
The two budgies will bond through regurgitation, dancing, mimicking each other’s sounds, flying and sitting together, and sharing sweet-sounding songs.
A pair that regurgitate food for each other is well-bonded and preparing to mate. If you hear a consistent mating call that’s only for the budgie’s partner, you can expect breeding to follow.
How Do Budgies Mate?
There are two main stages:
Budgies form complex bonds with their partners, which can last a lifetime. This connection is formed through bonding and courting behavior, such as:
- Shared feeding
- Flying together
- Imitating each other
Even if budgies don’t intend to mate, they may form these special bonds with each other. This is considered a friendship, much like the bond that budgies share with their owners.
Seeing budgies engage in this bonding activity can mean they’ll get along well in the future. Also, it can mean that they’ll begin courting when mating season arrives.
Going Into Condition
When the environment is right, budgies will enter ‘breeding condition.’ Many refer to this as ‘going into condition’ or ‘being in condition.’
Being in condition means that a budgie is ready to breed. Budgies don’t necessarily need a mate to go into condition. When the environment is right, they’ll naturally go in and out of condition, which may only affect their mood. If a budgie has a mate and is in condition, females can lay fertile eggs after breeding.
Budgies can still breed when they’re not in condition. However, the female may not lay eggs, or the eggs she lays will be infertile.
Here’s how to tell if a budgie is going into condition:
- When a female budgie is in condition, her cere will turn brown, thick, and crusty.
- For males, the cere will turn a darker blue shade, and they’ll lose their mottling pattern.
The change is more subtle in male budgies.
Budgie Mating Habits
These budgie mating behaviors will alert you that breeding will take place:
A female will choose a male that can imitate her calls. The male budgie that imitates her call most accurately will win her affections.
This is why budgies are skilled at picking up human words and sounds. It’s an innate talent that allows budgies to connect, bond, and impress future companions. This can apply to mating or friendship.
Listen out for imitating calls between budgies. It’s usually a sign that a male is courting a female, especially when the breeding season is approaching.
Building A Nest
Some budgies create nests using other materials, while others don’t.
Wild budgies rely on cavities found in trees, cliff sides, and other areas to establish their nests. They don’t use nesting materials; they lay their eggs in the cavity.
As pets, females may continue this behavior and only lay eggs in a nesting box, while others will lay and brood eggs on the floor of their cage.
If you notice a female preparing an area, clearing away debris and feathers, or looking for hiding places, she’s likely readying a nesting place.
Some female budgies nest like traditional birds, gathering materials to form a soft and warm area for the eggs. You may notice females bringing cloth, pieces of toys, or shavings off wood perches to one location. If any paper is available, females will chew it up to use it as nesting material.
Budgie Mating Behavior
If two budgies have paired up and are in condition, they’ll prepare to breed. Budgies flirt, which strengthens their bond before mating.
The signs budgies are ready to mate include:
- Nibbling on each other
- Touching beaks
- Preening and grooming
- Regurgitating food
- Constantly calling each other
- Males display feathers
A common behavior in males is regurgitating food for females, which is similar to how budgies feed their chicks. This can be attributed to the male ensuring that the female has enough nutrients to lay her eggs.
Regurgitating occurs in the courting phase. Here, the male is proving that he’s a reliable provider. Males and females take turns brooding the eggs. So, the male will eventually need to feed the mother budgie as she nests. Regurgitating now is a test run to prove he will care for her properly.
How Many Days Do Budgies Mate?
Budgies can mate as long as both budgies are in condition.
According to the Journal of Birdlife Australia, wild budgies mate based on location and the weather. Specifically, there must be an abundant rainfall.
Rain directly correlates to an abundant food source shortly. So, it’s the best time to rear chicks, as there’s less likely to be a food shortage.
In captivity, budgies’ food, water, and shelter needs are all carefully controlled. Therefore, most captive budgies are capable of mating year-round.
As long as their basic needs are met and their environment is deemed safe, a male and female budgie can go into condition and breed.
How Many Times Do Budgies Mate?
Budgies can mate several times a day, as long as both budgies are in their breeding condition. Environmental factors, like temperature and humidity, will affect how regularly two budgies mate.
Budgie Mating Age
Male and female budgies can start breeding from 6 months old. However, it’s unsafe for them to do so until they’re 10 months old.
If budgies mate when they’re too young, they’ll experience physical and mental stress. Also, raising chicks will be far more difficult.
Younger females are at a higher risk of:
- Laying underdeveloped eggs
- Abandoning fertilized eggs
- Breaking their eggs
Females can continue breeding for up to 4 years after reaching maturity, while males can continue for up to 6 years after reaching maturity. However, you should avoid breeding budgies older than 4.
Budgie Mating Call
A budgie’s mating call consists of short chirrups, usually 1-2 syllables long.
It’s characterized by repetitive, constant, and persistent noises. Unlike budgies’ usual calls, a mating call will lack variety.
The sound of the call will differ between budgies, and males usually have a lower octave than females. According to Animal Behavior, mated pairs know the sound of each other’s calls.
Budgie Mating Dance
A pair is often building up to mating if they dance for each other, but this is usually done by the male. He’ll jump from perch to perch while chirping and bobbing his head up and down.
The male will eventually move onto the female’s perch and tap his beak against the female’s beak. When the female accepts his advances, she’ll arch her back and raise her tail.
Will Budgies Breed Without A Nesting Box?
Budgies don’t need a nesting box to mate. As mentioned, budgies are cavity nesters and will make do with whatever conditions they find themselves in.
Although a nesting box is preferred, and some budgies are more likely to reproduce with one, it’s not mandatory. Without one, a female budgie will search for a place to lay her eggs.
A budgie may lay eggs in cage corners, food bowls, wide perches/platforms, and larger toys. Then, she’ll line them with material from around the cage.
Why Won’t My Budgies Breed?
Many things can go wrong when encouraging your budgies to breed. Here are some explanations:
Two Males or Females
Sometimes, two budgies won’t behave like a mating pair. Are your budgies the wrong sex?
Sexing budgies can be difficult. Depending on each budgie’s mutations, you may be wrong about the gender of one or both of your budgies.
Budgies may look identical despite their sex, so it’s an easy mistake. Examine the budgie’s cere; blue ceres are usually males, and pink/brown ceres are usually females.
Some females have blue ceres, and males with certain illnesses and diseases can have brown ceres.
Budgies may be unwilling or unable to mate due to immaturity.
If both budgies are under 1 year old, they may be disinterested in mating, despite having the physical means. If one budgie is under 6 months old, it’ll be unable to mate.
Sometimes, a budgie won’t breed with another budgie that’s much younger than itself, even if they’re both sexually mature. If there is a big age gap, choosing another pairing is recommended.
If two budgies haven’t known each other for long, the chances are that they haven’t bonded yet.
Budgies won’t mate until they have formed a strong connection. A bond won’t occur until the budgies are familiar with each other and are accustomed to living in the same space.
Give your budgies time to warm up to each other’s presence. Unfortunately, some budgies never get along. If you notice any fighting, separate them, especially if blood is drawn.
Some budgies breed and lay eggs, even if they lack nutrients, such as calcium.
However, this could lead to infertile eggs or egg binding. According to the International Journal of Avian and Wildlife Biology, egg binding is a life-threatening condition for budgies.
Even if the eggs hatch, poorly fed budgies would produce weak and disease-prone chicks. Also, the female will be more prone to getting sick, and some will abandon their chicks.
Most budgies will refuse to breed if they’re not well-fed.
Unready To Pair Up
Budgies are a monogamous species, so if a budgie’s partner dies, it may not be ready to pair up. Their bonds are complex and deeply ingrained connections.
In a study published in Animal Behavior, scientists separated mated pairs and let the females hear their partners’ calls. The females preferred the call of their mates, even after 6 months of separation.
If your budgie’s mate has just died or escaped, you’ll need to give them time to emotionally recover.
Budgies are colony breeders, meaning that they nest and breed in groups.
The presence of other budgies may trigger a hen’s hormones to put her into breeding condition. Also, if you only have one pair in the cage, they may feel too isolated to lay eggs.