The common parakeet, or budgerigar, is a favorite birdie pet because of its compact size, color, inquisitiveness and all-around good attitude. These guys love being part of the family, especially when they're given the opportunity to do things they would in their native Australia.
The colorful little budgies you talk to and play with every day are native to Australia, despite the fact they do so well in captivity. While they inhabit the entire Australian continent except for certain coastal areas in the far east and southwest corners, they favor the drier, hotter interior of the country. In the wild, flocks of budgies favor open areas such as grasslands, scrublands and open woodlands, but they'll always be close to a body of water.
Wild budgerigar habitat is based largely on the availability of food and water. As ground-foragers, these little parrots thoroughly enjoy taking the seeds from grasses and crops, particularly tussock grasses and spinifex. In the wild, budgies don't need any other food source because these seeds are so energy-rich, with as many calories as animal tissue! This is why you might notice your pet parakeet spending time on the floor of their cage -- it's a natural feeding behavior. The need for water is large partly due to the fact that an adult budgie will drink approximately 5 1/2 percent of its body weight daily! Migrations to the north are often based on the need to find more water and an available food source.
Introductions into New Areas
Because of their exquisite ability to provide companionship to humans, budgies have been introduced as pets to New Zealand, Japan, Africa, Europe and the United States, among other places. Only one other area in the world has known feral populations of budgies, though: St. Petersburg, Florida. They've been recorded there since the 1940s, although their populations are slowly declining.
Setting up your budgie's cage to mimic his natural behavior is beneficial to your feathered friend! Just because the cage you see in a pet store says "Perfect for Budgies" or something similar doesn't mean it's truly ideal. These little birds love to both fly and climb, so height and length are equally important. In the wild they play on branches, tall grasses and similar items; mimic these with various textured perches, bird swings and toys they can interact with. Keep in mind -- the bigger the cage, the better.