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Budgie Senses

Budgerigars have become incredibly popular as pets because of their lovable and sociable personalities. They are often known by their nickname “budgies”, or by the name parakeet in United States. On top of that, they are highly clever birds, capable of mimicking the phrases said by their human companions. If you keep one of them as a pet, you might be interested in learning more about budgie’s senses, and that’s exactly what we’ll talk about in this article!

At the end, stay tuned for some fun facts about budgies to help you learn even more about this well-loved species.

Budgie senses

1. Sight

Budgie close up
Image by NoName_13 from Pixabay

Budgies have excellent daytime vision. They can process more images per second than humans, and can even see into the ultraviolet spectrum! This opens up even more colors and subtle color variations to them, and helps them choose a mate with the most vibrant feathers. 

Their eyes are located on the sides of their head. This means they don’t have a very good view of what is directly in front of them, but they can see a wide view on either side. While this may seem strange to us front-eyed humans, it is a big help in the bird world to have wider eyesight to notice if a predator is trying to sneak up on you. You may notice when your budgie is trying to get a good look at something, it will tilt its head and use one eye to see it. 

Humans cannot dilate their pupils at will, it just happens as a response to the amount of light we are seeing. But budgies can! You may see them rapidly dilate their pupils from large to small several times in a row. This is called “eye-pinning” and can be used to reflect their mood. Feeling happy, excited or curious has been linked to eye-pinning, but also anger or fear. The more you study your budgie, you should be able to eventually use eye-pinning to help you understand how they are feeling. 

2. Hearing

Although budgies’ ears aren’t particularly noticeable, they can hear sounds just like other animals. The ears of birds aren’t easily visible as they are small openings hidden beneath their feathers. However, these tiny holes play a major part in their ability to sense and distinguish various sounds in their surroundings. 

However, their hearing isn’t considered one of their most highly developed senses, as they can only detect and recognize sounds within a limited range of frequencies, specifically between 200 and 8,500 hertz. This means that their auditory systems can perceive a wide range of avian sounds of very high pitches. 

But when it comes to lower sounds, such as ocean waves or the rumble of a passing truck, they may encounter difficulty in hearing them. According to studies, unlike other birds like chickens, budgies can’t detect infrasound, which is a low-frequency sound that humans can hear. 

3. Smell

Budgie perching on tree branch
Budgie perching on tree branch | image by IU Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Budgies have a sense of smell, although they don’t rely on it as much as their sense of sight and hearing. The number of olfactory cells in their system is significantly lower, measuring around 130,000, compared to the human scent cells, which amount to about five or six million. 

So by our standards, their sense of smell isn’t very good. They can still smell food, but only when very close to it. They rely much more on their sight to notice food, and even to know whether the food is fresh or rotten. 

4. Touch

Certain animals are highly sensitive to touch, and even a light brush against their fur can trigger a response in these birds. However, budgies don’t possess this much receptivity to touch. Some avian species do have the ability to feel with their bodies, although mostly it’s for pain, pleasure from grooming, and basic physical sensations like heat and cold. 

They also primarily rely on their feet and beaks to feel these things, although they do experience some sensation in certain areas of their skin with feathers. In the wild, these creatures are sensitive to vibrations, allowing them to detect any approaching animals quickly. 

5. Taste

Budgies eating in the wild
Budgies eating in the wild | Image by Karsten Paulick from Pixabay

As mentioned earlier, these species rely more on their sense of sight rather than their sense of smell and taste when it comes to choosing their food. However, this doesn’t imply that they can’t taste their foods. Budgies can taste a variety of flavors, including sour, bitter, and salt, and they are fortunate enough to share with hummingbirds the ability to taste sweetness. 

Believe it or not, these birds have some of the strongest senses of taste in the avian world, even though they may have fewer taste buds (at around 350) than other mammals. Parakeets can also tolerate spicy foods because they don’t feel the heat in their mouths, but eating too much can upset their stomachs. 

Facts about budgies

1. They are talented birds

Humans often choose parakeets as pets due to their incredible intelligence. While chirping, churring and whistling are much more common budgie sounds, they can learn how to talk by imitating their humans. In fact, some of them can even learn an impressive number of up to 1,700 words. Aside from that, they are also capable of imitating sounds such as whistles and alarms, and they can solve puzzles with various methods. 

2. Budgies are very social animals

Cockatiel and budgies
Cockatiel and budgies | image by Harsha K R via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 2.0

These species have social personalities, which makes them incredibly lovable creatures. In the wild, budgies usually live in flocks, so if you decide to keep a bird as a pet, it’s important to provide them with a companion and give them regular attention. This is necessary for their overall well-being and to ensure they remain healthy. 

3. They have a fast metabolism

If you’re wondering why these birds eat so frequently, it’s because they have higher metabolisms than other birds. In fact, it’s necessary for them to consume food a minimum of 2 to 3 times every day, while also ensuring that they have water readily available at all times. If you leave your budgies without food for an entire day, it can make them sick, so to ensure their well-being, make sure to provide them with the proper amount of food daily. 

4. They have good memory

budgie on hand
Budgie on hand | Image by u_ey288nroxh from Pixabay

Aside from being talented birds, parakeets are also good when it comes to remembering things. Some studies suggest that these animals can retain memories throughout their lives, particularly when they are linked to their survival. This is also why they can effortlessly imitate human sounds and words, as they are quite skilled at memorizing things. 


  • “Budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) do not hear infrasound: the audiogram from 8 Hz to 10 kHz ”, H. E. Heffner, G. Koay, R. S. Heffner, September 28, 2016,
  • “Numbers of olfactory receptor cells and fine structure of olfactory nerves in various birds”, O. Matsuzaki,  Zoolog Sci, February 1995,