While budgies are popular pets, these little birds don't originate only from pet stores—they have a long history of life in the wild. Found most commonly in Australia, budgies have been around for about 4 million years, putting their extreme adaptability and strength in numbers to good use in a dry, warm landscape.
Budgies originate in Australia—this is where their ancestors' fossils have been found. And while enterprising travelers have taken budgies as pets to Asia, Europe, Africa and other continents, the only region where the species has developed a new natural habitat is Florida. While their numbers in Florida don't compare to the population in their native Australia, it is the only place outside their country of origin where wild flocks have settled.
Living in central Australia's dry, open plains, budgies are used to traveling frequently. They are highly adaptable creatures that don't mind taking up residence wherever they can, like inside hollow trees or underneath rocks. They migrate seasonally in search of food and water, heading north during winter. The plains in which they live are generally surrounded by wooded areas or waterways, where they will go when natural resources out in the open dwindle.
These birds don't typically live or travel solo—in fact, quite the opposite is true. Budgies live and migrate in large flocks, which can number in the tens of thousands. They are highly communicative, vocal birds that enjoy the company of others, and they take care of each other. Preening, for example, is frequently a partner activity during which one budgie tends to another.
Budgies in Captivity
The budgie's natural habitat and social behavior strongly influence his life in captivity. Because they are so social, for example, a pet bird should generally live with another budgie—otherwise he may become sad, lonely or anxious. Because they are used to migrating, exploring and building new homes, your budgies should have a large arsenal of toys to play with, to keep their mind busy. And because they get so much exercise migrating from place to place in the wild, your budgie should be let out of his cage regularly to stretch his wings and enjoy some freedom.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.