Parakeets (Psittacus undulatus)

This is a budgie (Melopsittacus undulatus) or as is typically known as a "parakeet". The budgie is a native of Australia and its name (budgie) was given to it by the aborigial people of this country. The name means "good bird" and "good food". These birds have bright green plumage on their chest and wings of green and black. The head has black lines covering a yellow head.

There are aproximately 90 varieties of parakeets of various colors. Young birds have lines down their foreheads and their eyes are entirely black. As the bird nears maturity the lines receed and white rings form around the pupil of the eye. One can sex an adult budgie by the color of the skin at the nostrils called the cere. Females have a brownish cere while males have a bluish cere. Females are more difficult pets than the males as they are generally more agressive than males and may become bullies toward other birds.

Parakeets are affectionate and clever and it is because of these characteristics that they have become popular as pets. Some budgies can be taught to talk if words are repeated several times. Parakeets love to listen and dance to music. They also enjoy nibbling at almost anything such as clothes, furniture, and drapes. Parakeets fare best in pairs as they are sociable and are prone to loneliness.
 
Parakeets can live for 5 to 10 years. They easy birds to mate. Contrary to popular belief they do not normally mate for life, however some do. Durring the ritual of courtship the male will preen the feathers of the females' head. He will also feed her, and dance for her while bobbing his head up and down rapidly. A male may also bob his head when not mating as a sign of affection for the female. When the female is ready to mate she raises her head and lifts her tail. The male will then mount her by climbing on her back and leaning over her side while holding one by use of one of his wings and spreading the other for balance. If mating is successful the female will begin laying eggs a day or two latter. She lays an egg every day or every other day until there is a brood of about three to five eggs. Eggs begin to hatch eighteen days later in the order in which they were layed. Parakeets breed year round except durring June, July, and August. While nesting the female stays with the babies while the father feeds her she in turn takes food from the male and feeds the babies. When the babies leave the nesting box the male begins to take care of the babies for aproximately 80% of the time.