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Animal Detail ViewՄանրամասն` նրանց մասին

27.02.2012

Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus)


Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Family: Psittacidae
Subfamily: Psittacinae
Genus: Melopsittacus
Species: Melopsittacus undulatus

Description

The Budgerigar, also named Common Pet Parakeet or Shell Parakeet, is a small and popular parrot, which is assumed to be the most common species of pet parrots. It is the only species of the genus Melopsittacus. The small parrot achieves an average body-length up to 20 centimeter and an average mass of 30 gram. Female birds are slightly heavier than male birds. Their size and their unique coloration of their plumage causes a distinctiveness towards other parrots. The coloration varies a lot! Especially caged individuals differ enormously from wild birds. In general their basic color is green. Most of wild budgerigars have a yellow forehead and a yellow throat. The head, the upper side of the body, the tail and the wings are mustered with black horizontal stripes. In addition to the green color the tail also contains some blue feathers. The bill is pointed and the upper beak extends over the lower beak.

The genders hardly differ, but can be recognized because of the cere. In breeding seasons it is brown or beige on female bills, whereas normally it is blue.

Range and habitat

Originally Budgerigars are endemic to Australia. They prefer open woodland, grasslands and semi-arid or sub-humid habitats, which are found in the interior of Australia.

It was tried to introduce the species around the world for example in South Africa, Japan or New Zealand but it only succeeded in southwest Florida.

Behavior

Budgerigars are nomadic animals, which change their living area depending on the availability of food and water. They live in small or large groups. If the living conditions get worse they sometimes move in more wooded habitats or coastal areas, which they normally avoid. Like the most parrots Budgerigars are very social animals and the formation of groups supports successful feeding and protection of predators. A certain hierarchy within the group is unknown but females seem to be more aggressive than males.

Budgerigars are diurnal. They awake just before sunrise and greet the day with singing and preening. During the day they search for food, but in the warmest hours on midday they rest under cool shades. After the day they muster up, flying around trees in high speed, and then return to their nests in which they rest until the next morning.

For communication vocalization is quite important! It coordinates group formation, is used as warning signal and supports the mating process.

Diet

Predominately Budgerigars eat seeds from ground plants as crop plants, grass and spinfex, which is a special kind of grass endemic to Australia. This diet provides much energy and therefor it is sufficient and don't has to be complemented with other food. The small parrots drink a huge amount of water every day. That is why they are often seen near water holes.

Reproduction

Budgerigars don't breed in a certain month. The time of the mating season depends on the availability of food. Mostly it takes place after strong rain when grass grow fast. To attract mates the birds preen and feed each other with regurgitated food. The birds are monogamous but breed in colonies. In wilderness Budgerigars nest in holes of trees or logs, which they fill up with soft material. Often several nests are in the same tree. The female lays between 4 and 6 small eggs and after approximately 18 days the young Budgerigars hatch. While incubation the female hardly leaves the nest and is feed by the male. Because the young birds are very helpless their mother has to help them to hatch out of the egg. At this stadium the chickens only weigh 2 gram. After approximately one month the youngsters fledge. Maturity is achieved in the early age of a half year. This provides a good adaption at the breeding conditions and supports the breeding success.

Conservation Status

The total number of individuals has not been quantified but the number seems constant and even increasing in some regions. Therefor the species is assigned to the category of Least Concern on the Red List of threatened animals of IUCN.

However, in some places populations decline because of habitat loss and

Budgerigars and Humans

For long times parrots have been a popular pet. Humans are fascinated by their beauty and their intelligence. Already in the middle Age the ownership of parrots was a symbol of wealth and power. And also the training of these animals became a popular hobby. When humans started to domesticate macaws thousand of birds were trapped and exported, which caused a dramatic declining in the number of populations. The trend spread and lead to commercial breeding in huge numbers. Parrots were popular because of their intelligence and curiosity, but humans mostly gave them undeserving living conditions: Often they were chained up with one leg. This wrong treatment often leads to self-destructive behavior as plucking feathers. Enough space, company and toys are very important for a parrot in captivity.

Budgerigars are believed to be the most popular species of domesticated parrots. Aside their beauty the reasons may be their small size and the relative low prize to buy one.

In countries, in which the Budgerigar is endemic to, the people aren't only in favor of this bird. If the birds flock together in large numbers to search food, they can destroy a whole reaping.
Because of the large number of individuals it was possible for scientist to find more out about their biology than about any other parrot!

Short Facts

  • Regarding to their coloration Budgerigars are one of the most varied species of animals and birds.

  • 1840 the first Budgerigars were brought to Europe.

  • The small parrots drink up to 5.5 percent of their body weight daily.

  • A male budgerigar holds the world record for the largest vocabulary of any bird, at 1,728 words.

  •  Like people are right- or left-handed they tend to using one foot more than the other.



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