Budgie Behaviour and Body Language
The behaviour of budgies can tell us a lot about their well-being and their (often unfulfilled) needs.
Budgie fluffed up all over and sitting quietly.
· The budgie may feel cold, sleepy or sick.
Budgie fluffed up all over and running about.
· The budgie may be starving or thirsty and searching for food or water or grit, close to death, or may be enjoying a shower or getting wet.
Budgie fluffed up all over and on floor of cage.
· If listless or sleepy, the budgie is likely to be very ill and close to death. See “First Aid”.
Budgie fluffed up all over with “head in wing”.
· The budgie is probably resting or sleeping, but you need to consider position in cage, other signs and time of day, as the budgie could also be very sick. See if standing on one or two legs. If it is standing on two legs it is likely to be sicker than if it is standing on one leg for an extended period of time. If it’s wobbly or weak it won’t be gripping the perch firmly.
Budgie fluffed up all over and chirping a lot.
· Budgie is probably both a bit cold and excited or happy and content.
Budgie fluffed up on cheeks and head.
· Budgie probably wants to be preened or scratched gently around head, especially ears, or may have “sex on its mind”!
Remember that body language must be observed and interpreted in context and sequence; always look at the bigger picture as well as the details.
Budgie mouth breathing.
· The budgie may be very hot and exhausted, with tight body feathers and wings out, or it may have an infection or obstruction or excess fluid in the respiratory tract (airways), or it may have abdominal swelling with something collapsing the air sacs.
Budgie “regurgitating” or “vomiting”.
· If the food is being produced for another budgie, its mirror image, or a “toy” or other “special object” then this behaviour has sexual overtones. If the food is being splattered by head shaking the budgie is sick or has tasted something “awful”.
Budgie scratching abdomen with each leg.
· This is usually a sign of discomfort or pain within the abdomen, rather than an itchy “tummy”. Be sure the budgie does not have external constipation. Get vet help promptly.
Budgie rubbing vent area on objects.
· This is highly suggestive of randy male budgie syndrome.
Budgie crouching down while facing skywards.
· This is highly suggestive of randy female budgie syndrome but could represent thiamine deficiency which needs to be treated by injection within 24 hours.
The more in tune we become with the budgies’ individual behavioural patterns, the more adept we become at communicating with them.
Budgie tail bobbing
· This is a sign of laboured breathing which could indicate pneumonia, air sacculitis, other respiratory disease (e.g. Chlamydophila ) or it could indicate anaemia or an abdominal mass. Seek vet help quickly.
· This is a common sign of an upper respiratory tract infection but is unlikely to be due to “just a cold”! It is more likely to be due to Chlamydophila!
Budgie sleeping with one leg up.
· This is normal behaviour, but could be abnormal if the budgie is lame or has a sore leg or foot.
Budgie gripping perch with 2 legs while asleep.
· This could be normal behaviour but is more likely to be an alerting sign of disease.
Budgie beak tapping.
· This is usually part of courting behaviour but may also be mildly defensive, “I’m not sure yet I want physical contact”, behaviour.
Budgie doing acrobatics.
· Normal behaviour for caged budgies if done in moderation but if excessive, a sign of a very frustrated budgie in need of space or something!
Budgie flapping their wings while gripping perch.
· An indication of the need to fly and exercise.
Budgie with wings held out from body and tight body feathers.
· Budgie is feeling too hot, frightened and/or exhausted. (How hot is the cage etc., what happened?) or is within seconds of dying or convulsing or fitting.
These patterns of behaviour are common to many but not all species we keep in captivity.
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