Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Budgerigar

The Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulates) , also known as Common Pet Parakeet or Shell Parakeetinformally nicknamed the budgie, is a small, long-tailed, seed-eating parrot, and the only species in the Australian genusMelopsittacus. Wild budgerigars are found throughout the drier parts of Australia, where the species has survived harsh inland conditions for the last five million years.Naturally green and yellow with black, scalloped markings on the nape, back, and wings, breeders have created a rainbow of blues, whites, and yellows, greys, and even forms with small crests. Budgerigars are popular pets around the world due to their small size, low cost, ability to mimic human speech and playful nature.The budgerigar is closely related to the lories and the fig parrots. Although budgerigars are often, especially in American English, called parakeets, this term refers to any of a number of small parrots with long, flat tails.
 A PAINTING OF A BUDGERIGAR

Budgerigars in their natural-habitats of Australia average 18 cm (7 in) long, weigh 30–40 grams (1.1–1.4 oz), and display a light green body colour (abdomen and rumps), while their mantle (back and wing coverts) display pitch-black mantle markings (blackish in fledgelings and immatures) edged in clear yellow undulations. The forehead and face is yellow in adults but with blackish stripes down to the cere (nose) in young individuals until they change into their adult plumage around 3–4 months of age. They display small, purple patches (called cheek patches) and a series of three black spots across each sides of their throats (called throat-spots). The two outermost throat-spots are situated at the base of each cheek-patch. The tail is cobalt (dark-blue); outside tail feathers display central yellow flashes. Their wings have greenish-black flight feathers and black coverts with yellow fringes along with central yellow flashes, which only becomes visible in flight or when the wings are outstretched. Bills are olive grey and legs blueish-grey, with zygodactyl toes.Budgerigars in their natural habitat in Australia are noticeably smaller than those in captivity. This particular parrot species has been bred in many other colors and shades in captivity (e.g. blue, grey, grey-green, pieds, violet, white, yellow-blue), although they are mostly found in pet stores in blue, green, and yellow. Like most parrot species, budgerigar plumage fluoresces under ultraviolet light. This phenomenon is possibly related to courtship and mate selection.
TWO SMALL BUDGERIGAR


Breeding in the wild generally takes place between June and September in northern Australia and between August and January in the south, although budgerigars are opportunistic breeders and respond to rains when grass seeds become most abundant.Budgerigars show signs of affection to their flockmates by preening or feeding one another. Budgerigars feed one another by eating the seeds themselves, and then regurgitating it into their flockmates' mouth. Populations in some areas have increased as a result of increased water availability at farms.Nests are made in holes in trees, fence posts, or logs lying on the ground; the 4-6 eggs are incubated for 18–21 days, with the young fl edging about 30 days after hatching.In the wild, virtually all parrot species require a hollow tree or a hollow log as a nest site. Because of this natural behavior, budgerigars most easily breed in captivity when provided with a nest box. The eggs are typically 1 to 2 centimeters long and are plain white without any coloration. Female budgerigars can lay eggs without a male partner but these eggs are unfertilized and will not hatch. When the female is laying eggs her cere turns a crusty brown colour. A female budgerigar will lay her eggs on alternate days. After the first one, there is usually a two-day gap until the next. She will usually lay between four to eight eggs, which she will incubate (usually starting after laying her 2nd  or 3rd) for about 21 days each. Female Budgerigar only leave their nests for very quick defecation's and stretches once they've begun incubating and are by then almost exclusively fed by their mate (usually at the nest's entrance).Depending on the clutch size and the beginning of incubation, the age difference between the first and last hatch ling can be anywhere from 9 to 16 days. Rarely, the female has the habit of eating the eggs in case of insecurity.

 ALL THE COLORS OF BUDGERIGAR

Eggs take about 18–20 days before they start hatching. The hatchlings are altricial – blind, naked, totally helpless, and their mother feeds them and keeps them warm constantly. Around 10 days of age, the chicks' eyes will open, and they will start to develop feather down. The appearance of down occurs precisely at the ages (around 9 or 10 days of age) for closed banding of the chicks. Budgerigar's closed band rings must be neither larger or smaller than 4.0 to 4.2 mm.They develop feathers around 3 weeks of age. (One can often easily note the colour mutation of the individual birds at this point.) At this stage of the chicks' development, the male usually has begun to enter the nest to help his female in caring and feeding the chicks. Some budgerigar females, however, totally forbid the male from entering the nest and thus take the full responsibility of rearing the chicks until they f ledge.Depending on the size of the clutch and most particularly in the case of single mothers, it may then be wise to transfer a portion of the hatch lings (or best of the fertile eggs) to another pair. The foster pair must already be in breeding mode and thus either at the laying or incubating stages and/or rearing hatch lings.As the chicks develop and grow feathers, they are able to be left on their own for longer and longer periods of time. By the fifth week, the chicks are strong enough that both parents will be comfortable in staying more and more out of the nest. The youngsters will stretch their wings to gain strength before they attempt to fly. They will also help defend the box from enemies mostly with their loud screeching. Young budgerigars typically f ledge (leave the nest) around their fifth week of age and are usually completely weaned a week later. However, the age for fl edging as well as weaning can vary slightly depending on whether it is the oldest, the youngest and/or the only surviving chick. Generally speaking, the oldest chick is the first to be weaned. But even though it is logically the last one to be weaned, the youngest chick is often weaned at a younger age than its older sibling(s). This can be a result of mimicking the actions of older siblings. Lone surviving chicks are often weaned at the youngest possible age as a result of having their parent's full attention and care.Hand-reared Budgies may take slightly longer to wean than parent-raised chicks. Hand feeding is not routinely done with budgerigars, due to their small size, and the fact that young parent raised birds can be readily tamed.

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