22 Parakeet Fun Facts
Parakeets are fun and entertaining companions, but there’s a lot more to these little birds than meets the eye. The following facts may not only surprise you but also help you build a better bond with your winged friend.
- The parakeet’s scientific name is “Melopsittacus undulatus.”
- The name “parakeet,” from the French word “perroquet,” means “parrot.” The French word for parakeet, however, is “perruche.”
- The word “parakeet” means “long tail.”
- Parakeets are indigenous to Australia, where they are known as budgerigars or budgies. In Australia they live in the outback, where they like to nest in hollow trees rather than creating their own nests.
- The type of parakeet that is most commonly kept as a pet in the United States is just one of more than 120 species and sub-species.
- Parakeets have four toes, two of which face forward and two of which face backward.
- A parakeet’s feet can tell you a lot about their health—scaly feet can be a sign of parasites or a nutritional deficiency.
- Although parakeets have Australian origins, they have been enjoyed around the world since ancient times.
- The parakeet is a flock bird, which means they are very social, both with each other and with people. If you do not plan on taking your parakeet out of their habitat, consider getting more than one so they always have a companion. Parakeets who are harmonious and live together will bond and mate for life. They also love interacting with their pet parents, playing games and having conversations. These characteristics make them very popular pets.
- The cere, located right above a parakeet’s beak, reveals their gender. A fully mature male parakeet has a blue cere, while a female’s is brown.
- Parakeets are extremely curious animals, and they love entertaining toys like puzzles and foraging games. Provide your parakeet with a variety of fun toy options to keep them—and you—occupied and happy.
- Parakeets are dexterous and love to climb and hold objects. Unlike parrots, however, parakeets do not use their feet to hold food while they eat. Instead, they just use their beaks.
- Parakeets are very intelligent and can be taught a large vocabulary. Conversing with them can be a fun pastime for you both. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the record holder for the bird with the largest vocabulary belongs to Puck the Budgerigar with a vocabulary of more than 1,700 words.
- The parakeet’s intelligence also makes them relatively easy to train and tame. With a little patience they can even be taught tricks and to listen to cues.
- A well cared for parakeet can live to be 10 to 20 years old, but they do require a lot of care and attention to stay happy. These smart, social animals need stimulation—both mental and physical—and can become a true member of your family.
- Parakeets enjoy water activities. This is a great way to keep them clean, as well. Provide your parakeet with a shallow container of lukewarm water every 2 or 3 days to allow them to bathe themselves, or fill a spray bottle with warm water and spray it on the bird’s body, taking care to avoid direct contact with their face. Remove the bath when your bird is done to help keep their habitat tidy.
- Pine and cedar shavings can be toxic to parakeets, who tend to peck at the materials in their habitat. For ease of cleanup and to absorb odors, line their habitat with shredded newspaper or an approved bird litter. Change it out every day or two.
- Parakeets enjoy seeds, but these can be fattening, so a 50/50 mix of pellets and seeds should be offered to provide a more nutritionally balanced diet. Parakeets will leave seed shells in their bowl, so clean out the debris every day to avoid mistaking the hulls for viable food.
- Fruits and vegetables should make up 10 to 15 percent of your parakeet’s diet. They enjoy a variety of options, from apples, pears and oranges to kale, spinach and cabbage. Consult your veterinarian for a full list of safe foods to feed your parakeet.
- Parakeets are fastidious groomers, so a change in your bird’s grooming habits can be an indicator of poor health or stress.
- A parakeet’s beak is continuously growing. An easy way to promote wearing and combat overgrowth is to provide your bird with a cuttlebone and chew toys.
- In nature, parakeets regurgitate their food to feed their young. Don’t be concerned if your parakeet does this in your presence. It just means they consider you family and want to take care of you as they would their own chicks.
Learning more about your parakeet is a great way to help you take care of your pet and understand their needs. For more information on caring for your parakeet, view our parakeet care sheet or visit your local Petco for advice on everything from toys and housing to what to feed them and how to train them.