Despite being small birds, budgies sometimes do surprisingly similar things to humans. Yawning is one such activity, which is why a budgie’s yawn has a similar meaning.
So, when a budgie sees another budgie yawn, it causes them to yawn.
However, what looks like repeated yawning could be crop adjustment after eating, an expression of happiness, drowsiness, respiratory problems, or a throat infection.
Observing when your budgie yawns will give you insight into why it happens. A yawning budgie can signify that it trusts you but can warn of a health problem.
Budgie Yawning Meaning
A healthy budgie will yawn for the following reasons:
All mammals in social groups yawn. Mimicking another animal’s (or human’s) body language is seen as a sign of empathy in all animals that can yawn.
However, it wasn’t known that budgies did so for the same reason until the State University of New York published a study on yawning being contagious in budgies.
In other words, budgies are emotionally intelligent enough to yawn because they saw someone else do it. Not only are they talented at mimicry, but being social flock birds, they have high levels of empathy and a great understanding of social behaviors.
Though budgies often yawn when their owners do it, they’re more likely to yawn when they see another budgie yawning.
Like humans, budgies yawn because they’re tired. You’re more likely to observe your budgie yawning at night when it’s time to go to bed.
It’s theorized that budgies yawn when tired because it’s a natural involuntary response to your body’s altered state of alertness. A quick yawn in the morning or night is normal, but constant yawning throughout the day indicates sleep deprivation.
Budgies have many ways of expressing themselves. We’re familiar with how they express emotions through vocalizations because it’s easier for us to understand. Budgies’ body language is unfamiliar to us, so you may not know that budgies yawn when they’re happy.
They do this when being caressed because it’s when they feel most relaxed. A head massage can induce comfort and happiness, and a yawn is an involuntary response to that inner contentment.
Budgies display little movement while they sleep, and once they wake up, they’ll stretch their neck muscles by yawning to get ready for the day.
It’s no different from how we yawn and stretch after a good night’s rest. A yawn like this will accompany a long neck stretch, flapping wings, and body shaking.
Bringing In More Oxygen
During a period of rest, a budgie’s breathing may slow down considerably. The body requires more oxygen; the fastest way to get additional oxygen is by having the budgie open its mouth and yawn.
The oxygen your budgie gets after a yawn does a good job of waking its body up and removing any tiredness accumulated from the slow breathing.
Yawning after waking up or before going to bed is normal for budgies.
What isn’t normal is constant yawning during the day, when your bird is supposed to be active. Sleep deprivation is possible in budgies, so watch out for it.
Sleep deprivation and constant yawning can cause aggression, anxiety, lethargy, and self-mutilation in budgies. If a budgie seems sleep-deprived, identify the problem and change its sleeping set-up.
Why Is My Budgie Yawning a Lot?
It’s important to distinguish between yawning and odd beak movements due to a health problem.
One is a natural response to certain stimuli, while the other might be an early warning sign that a medical problem needs to be looked into immediately.
When a healthy budgie yawns, it does so only once, usually after having woken up, before going to sleep, or during petting.
So, if your budgie is yawning a lot within a few minutes, it may not be yawning at all.
Budgie Opening Mouth Like a Yawn
When budgies open and close their mouths continuously, it can look like yawning. However, instead of yawning, it could be a crop adjustment or a health-related reaction, such as:
When budgies have trouble breathing, be it due to allergies or unhealthy air, they won’t be able to breathe air the way they normally would.
If their nasal cavity or bird nares (nostrils) are blocked, they’ll need to breathe through their mouths.
How often the budgie opens its mouth to do this depends on the severity of the problem. When this happens, check your budgie’s nare and get some fresh air.
Budgies are highly emotional creatures. They’re sensitive to stress and get anxious over things we may not consider important. One of the many ways that budgies express their anxiety is through yawning.
It’s unknown why they react to stressful situations this way, but it’s easy to tell when the repeated yawning is anxiety-induced when paired with other indicators of budgie anxiousness.
Throat or Sinus Infections
Budgies can develop certain throat and sinus infections that make it harder for them to breathe, such as:
- Yeast infections
Infections that limit your budgie’s ability to breathe are the most dangerous. Some of these infections are difficult to identify until it’s too late.
Budgies will regurgitate food to feed their young or feed a mate. This often looks like yawning since budgies must repeatedly open and close their mouths while bringing up food.
If you’re worried about this because your budgie has no mate or young, it’s because it considers you its mate. When your budgie regurgitates food near you, it’s attempting to feed you.
Crop Adjustment and Clearing
The crop is a pouch near the throat, which is part of the digestive system. When budgies eat, the food goes to the crop, is softened, and moves through the rest of the digestive system.
After eating, if there’s any food stuck in the crop, budgies need to clear it by adjusting their crop. Because the crop is a muscle, opening and closing their mouths repeatedly helps them move their throat muscles better and clears the crops properly.
Yawning is normal behavior, as long as it doesn’t happen persistently or with accompanying symptoms. Budgies yawn to mimic others, express contentment, and because they’re feeling sleepy.