Budgies are popular pet birds, also known as parakeets and budgerigars. They are some of the most common types of pet bird in the world. These members of the parrot family Psittaculidae are native to Australia.
In the wild, they live in flocks and survive on seeds and fruits. The cardinal thing to remember with budgies is that they are high-activity animals. Active and playful birds are usually happy.
It’s only when a bird becomes subdued, stops eating, or refuses to play with its owner that you should be worried. The signs of happiness in a budgie are pretty straightforward. Budgies use auditory, body language, and behavioral cues to show that they’re happy.
Continue reading to learn more about the signs your budgie will give off when he or she is feeling great.
10 Signs Your Budgie is Happy
We’ve ranked these signs that your budgie is doing well in order of how common a budgie will behave in this way. Your budgie might act in a way that isn’t described on this list, but don’t worry. Every bird is different and has its own idiosyncrasies.
1. Your budgie makes happy noises
The term ‘happy noises’ might sound like a catch all for those unfamiliar with the habits of budgies, but rest assured that it’s easy to discern whether a budgie’s noises are happy or not. Budgies, or parakeets, will constantly chirp, tweet, and sing to express their feelings.
There are plenty of ways to interpret the different types of tweets and chirps. Some indicate contentment, others show that the budgie is surprised, and still more types can clue in owners to their bird’s bond with them.
2. Your budgie chatters to itself
Chattering is a type of self-soothing behavior that a budgie will do even when it is alone. It doesn’t have to be talking to others – for example, its owner or other budgies. Instead, chattering is just a way of filling the silence.
The noises involved in chattering include a variety of sounds: tweeting, whistles, clicking, and even words you’ve taught your budgie.
3. It grinds its beak
Budgies grind their beaks together to indicate their moods. In this case, beak grinding is a sign of happiness and contentment. This is also called ‘clicking’ in the budgie owner community.
Clicking is a sign that your parakeet feels safe from threats and predators. Since the noise is loud, it calls attention to them. A budgie worried about being attacked or hurt won’t make clicking noises since loud sounds single them out from the crowd.
The most common time to hear a budgie grind its beak is around evening. They usually do it right before going to sleep. It’s similar to how a cat purrs.
4. It wants to play with you
Budgies that feel safe in their home environment will be excited to engage with their owners. If they have toys and enrichment games in their cages, they could play with those, but what they really want is you.
A budgie who likes to play fetch shows that he wants to engage with his owner. He trusts the person throwing the toy and he wants to please them by bringing it back time and time again. When you introduce a new toy, keep watch on your budgie’s pupils.
A sign of happiness and excitement is the pupil growing and shrinking in size. Unlike humans, budgies can control the size of their pupils. They can dilate (grow the pupil) and pin (shrink the pupil) their eyes at will.
5. Your budgie eats well
Eating habits are a critical way to assess the health and well-being of your budgie. A budgie that likes its environment and feels comfortable around its owner will be eager to drink and eat its food. Make sure that you feed your budgie a proper diet.
For decades, budgies were raised on seed-heavy foods. However, veterinarians now recommend a pellet-based diet that includes more vitamins and less high-fat seeds. You can give seeds occasionally to your budgie, but don’t allow them to become more than 5% to 10% of the bird’s regular food intake.
Giving 20% to 25% of food calories as fruit and vegetables is a better option than giving seeds. Just ensure you rotate out the types of fresh foods so your budgie doesn’t get reliant on a single food item. Also – remember to never give avocado, since it’s toxic to birds.
6. Your budgie flies regularly
Budgies don’t require their wings to be clipped to be great pets. This means that it may be a flight risk if your pet makes it outside, but it creates a healthy sense of freedom for the bird if it spends its life indoors.
A budgie that can fly has the opportunity to move around easier outside of its cage. It can make it easier for owners to build deeper trust with their budgie because the bird has the freedom to spend time with you and away from you. It doesn’t feel 100% reliant on you.
A budgie also uses its wings to indicate how it feels. If your pet budgie opens its wings a little bit when it sees you, that’s a good sign. It’s trying to make itself bigger so that you see it and give it attention.
The best course of action if your budgie does this is to verbally affirm your budgie with kind words and positive tones. Give your budgie some love and affection, and it will reward you by growing closer and more loyal to you.
7. It stays well-groomed and preens often
Preening and grooming are signs of a healthy budgie. A stressed or worried budgie won’t look well-kept. It might develop bald spots or neglect the maintenance of its feathers.
The importance of preening can’t be understated. Budgies stay clean and fresh by moving oil from the uropygial gland throughout their feathers. This prevents their feathers from getting too waterlogged if they get wet, maintains their feathers’ softness, and might even keep harmful bacteria away.
Budgies who bond with their owners will preen them too! You’re a lucky pet parent if your budgie preens at your hair and nibbles on your fingers. It’s trying to preen you.
8. It bobs and tilts its head
Head bobbing and tilting are sweet and endearing ways your budgie shows that it’s comfortable with you. Head bobbing when alone shows that a budgie is happy. When a male budgie bobs his head, he might be practicing for courting a female.
Head-tilting has two purposes. First, it helps the bird get a better bearing of where it is. Budgies have eyes on the sides of their face.
While their vision is acute, they don’t perceive depth as well as birds with eyes on the front of their faces. They tilt their head to help see where things are.
The second purpose of head tilting is to show that they are interested in what’s happening around them. They want to interact and indicate that they’re interested. It may also help them hear better, since their ear holes are on the sides of their head.
9. It dances to music and sings
Music is a great way to deepen the relationship between you and your budgie. You can create traditions where you dance to the same songs every day. Birds are great at learning melodies.
Don’t be surprised if your budgie starts to whistle or chirp in time with the music. Along with bobbing its head, dancing budgies bob up and down by bending their knees.
They tilt left and right. Some will try to imitate you if you dance like a bird.
10. Your budgie initiates cuddle time
In the wild, budgies are sociable birds that spend a lot of time in close proximity to their relatives and peers. They preen each other, roost with, and play with one another. If your budgie comes up to you of its own accord and wants to perch on you or next to you, it’s a surefire sign that your budgie is happy.
Some budgies are very friendly and will rapidly become familiar with you. Others need time and training before feeling comfy sitting near you.
It’s all about your individual bird. Don’t worry if your budgie isn’t as ‘friendly’ as others say; if it exhibits a few of the signs on this list, you’re doing a great job taking care of him or her.