When I was in 6th class I had to do a school report on a family pet. Problem was, we had none. Well not if you count the cockaroach that lived behind the toilet (and used to come out at night and suck on the toothbrush bristles) or the blue tongue lizard that was living in the bushes under the kitchen window outside the house.
But my neighbour Shazza had a budgie. So I did the report on her budgie. Well sort of. It was her bird after all, I knew stuff all about it, so I got her to write the report and handed it in. I got top marks too!
So here it is...
A budgie, or budgerigar, is a small parakeet popular as a cage bird. It is also known as shell parakeet and undulated grass parakeet. Native to the grasslands of the interior of Australia, the budgerigar was first imported into Europe in 1840. It became very popular as a cage bird because of its tameness, its ability to mimic, and its tendency to reproduce rapidly in the captive state.
Many color variations have been produced by selective breeding of mutants that occur in nature, and the birds are now available in almost every color except red and black.
About 20 centimetres long, the budgerigar generally has a green body with a yellow head, back, and wings. The feathers of its cheeks, nape, and back have black centers that appear as wavy stripes, and the larger feathers of the wings have black spots. The forehead and throat are clear yellow with three round black spots; black spots and a short band of blue are also on each side of the chin. The beak is short, hooked, and usually partially concealed by the feathers of the throat. The tail is blue, long, and slender. The sexes may be distinguished by the color of the flesh area around the nostril; it is blue in males and brownish in females.
Wild budgerigars flock together in thousands, often turning and circling in flight. They feed on the ground, eating the seeds of grasses and herbs. They nest in tree hollows near water, and the female lays five to eight white eggs. Incubation takes 18 days. The young, which remain in the nest until they are more than five weeks old, are fed regurgitated food by both parents. Young budgerigars resemble the adults, but they are duller in color and have spots on their foreheads and throat.