Budgies communicate important messages via their body language, but the meaning of the same action can have various interpretations.
So, it’s understandable if you’re confused by a budgie wagging its tail. That’s especially true if the budgie shakes its tail several times per hour or only when it sees you.
Usually, if a budgie is shaking its tail, it’s about to poop or is preening itself. Also, it can mean that a budgie is delighted with its home or happy to see you.
If tail-shaking is paired with negative behaviors, such as screaming, hiding, or puffed feathers, it means the budgie is feeling distressed.
If you’re not spending enough time with your budgie, it may shake its tail to get your attention. If the budgie shakes its tail at another budgie during mating season, it’s likely showing off.
All bird behaviors need to be considered in the context of others and in terms of what’s happening.
Why Do Budgies Shake Their Tail Feathers?
Budgies have a small number of muscles in their tails. Nonetheless, these tail muscles work hard to adjust the angle, spread, and lift of the tail feathers.
If you see a budgie shaking its tail feathers back and forth, it’s not just habitual behavior. Your budgie will be attempting to send you a message that it considers important.
Shaking tail feathers has various meanings, including:
Budgies shake their tails side to side just before they poop, as this allows them to:
- Engage muscles around the cloaca
- Keep the area around the vent tidy
As budgies poop up to 40 times per day, you may observe your budgie doing this regularly,
Budgies are often preening themselves when they’re not preoccupied with other activities.
They’ll shake them out and shuffle them back together again to keep their feathers healthy and neat. A short preening session follows this to layer the feathers more cleanly.
If the budgie is dirty, it’ll do this several times to shake off any dirt and debris. However, it’ll usually stop after a couple of minutes and start doing other things.
However, if it’s a constant behavior, it could mean that your budgie has mites.
Joy And Happiness
A budgie may wag its tail when it’s happy and contented. However, this won’t happen as often as with dogs, as budgies reserve this display of happiness for high points in their days.
If the budgie quickly shakes its tail back and forth upon spotting you, it’s delighted to see you. Budgies may also do this when interacting with other budgies with whom they share a close bond.
Budgies like to show off to get the attention of a potential mate. When females are about to breed, they’ll shake their tails and preen themselves to show off their plumage.
Similarly, according to BioOne, male budgies fan out their feathers and wag their tails as they pull them back together. This grand display proves that they’ll make healthy, colorful, and viable mates.
Your budgie will do this with its cage mates during the breeding season. If there are no other budgies, and your pet is too attached to you or its own reflection in the mirror, it may still engage in this behavior.
Your budgie could be shaking its tail because it wants your attention. This is common in budgies that are closely bonded with their owners but want more playtime.
You can expect this behavior if you haven’t devoted much attention to your budgie lately. So, it’ll pace, chirp, and shake its tail whenever it sees you.
On its own, shaking tail feathers doesn’t imply aggression.
If a budgie is angry and aggressive, it’ll make itself appear larger. Also, it’ll vocalize loudly by screaming or screeching. It’ll puff up its feathers, lift and hold out its wings, and shake its tail feathers.
If your budgie is shaking its tail continuously and vigorously, it may be sick or in distress.
When a budgie is sick, a wagging tail is often accompanied by panting or puffing of the feathers. If the budgie is scared, this is a last-ditch effort to make itself appear too fierce to attack or bother.
Unlike with aggression, the budgie may go quiet and try to retreat to the back of its cage.
Budgie Shaking Tail Side To Side
Usually, it’s a positive sign when a budgie shakes its tail. However, how your budgie wags its tail feathers can give you better insight into the meaning.
Most budgies shake their tail from side to side when they’re:
- About to poop
- Straightening out their feathers
- Happy to see you
The feathers will stay in a tidy and narrow collection or only fan out for a short time.
However, if the budgie is upset or aggressive, it’ll fan out its tail feathers in a wide arc. They may also wave up and down slightly.
Budgie Wiggling Bum
A budgie that shakes its entire butt is usually interested in mating. The urge to wiggle its rear end is due to hormonal changes, but the behavior eventually subsides.
If the budgie is too young (less than 6 months) to mate, then the wiggling of the butt will cease quickly.
Mature budgies in the breeding phase will not stop wiggling until they find a suitable mate. The budgie will rub its bum against objects, people, or other birds to signify that it wants to breed.
On rare occasions, a budgie may wiggle its butt or rub it against other objects when bored. The budgie will continue doing this to release the negative energy associated with boredom.
Why Is My Budgie’s Tail Shaking?
If a budgie is shaking its tail, it’s taking care of its hygiene, about to poop, or happy to see you. Unless it happens constantly and your budgie appears uncomfortable, there’s no cause for concern.
If your budgie shows discomfort, it may be contending with mites, feather issues, or emotional distress. In this case, look at other signs and behaviors.
In most cases, tail shaking in budgies is normal behavior.