Are Budgies and Parakeets the Same Thing? The Truth Revealed!

Last updated on February 5th, 2024 at 10:36 pm

Written by Isra P

Are budgies and parakeets the same thing? That’s a mystery that has baffled the minds of budgerigars’ owners for a long time. Some people don’t think twice before calling a budgie a parakeet, but is that accurate? Well, yes and no. The truth lies somewhere in between.

Budgies and parakeets are not the same thing. While it is true that all budgies are parakeets, not all parakeets are budgies. In reality, the term parakeet refers to one of the 115 species of birds with a small to medium body size and long tails. They also have vibrant colors and are known for their ability to imitate human speech.

So, why do most people think parakeets and budgies always mean the same thing? Thankfully, there is an explanation for that, and it has to do with the specific part of the world where individuals are located. Keep reading to find out the staggering differences between budgies and other parakeets.

Americans call budgies parakeets simply because they are the most common of all parakeet species. However, the name budgie refers to the Australian budgerigar, whose genus and species is Melopsittacus undulatus.

When John Gould introduced the affectionate bird to Europe, the term budgerigar was a bit troublesome when referring to these interesting companions, so they shortened it to budgie.

The word budgie was easier to remember and pronounce than budgerigar, which is the name of the bird in its native land, Australia. So how did it become parakeet?

Well, the term parakeet is derived from the old French word perroquet, which was used in France to describe members of the parrot family that, include budgies. After some time, it naturally evolved to the more marketing-friendly term parakeet, which gained massive popularity in the US.

What's the Difference Between a Budgie and a Parakeet?

There are a few key differences between budgies and parakeets. For instance, some assume that budgies and parakeets are the same when it comes to small parrots. But, in fact, they could be different species.

Budgies, also known as Budgerigars, are native to Australia and belong to the Melopsittacus genus. Parakeets is a more general term used to identify a variety of small parrots, across multiple genera, with long tails found worldwide (reference).

Both of these types of birds are known to have the capacity to learn and speak human words and phrases. They are also playful and make good companions. On the other hand, budgies are easy to handle, while other parakeet species can be stubborn.

Types of Budgies

Among budgies, there are two main types: American and English. They all have their own characteristics, making both of them unique.

American Budgie

American budgie

American budgies are the most common and well-known. They are the typical domesticated budgies we are used to that can be found in most pet stores. These budgies have an average height of 8 inches (20.32 cm) and a weight of 1.14 ounces (32.3 g). Their head is round and have a less pronounced cere than English ones.

American Budgie
Average Weight1.1 ounces
Average Length8 inches
Average Lifespan7.5 years
Average Cost20 to 35 USD
AvailabilityVery High
TrainabilityEasy

English Budgie

English budgie

English ones are particular budgies originally bred to be more docile, colorful, and larger. Still, their primary purpose was to be used in pet shows and exhibitions. With an average height of 11 inches (27.9 cm) and weight of 1.4 ounces (39.6 g), English budgies boast astounding color markings on their feathers with countless patterns and variations, making them a sight to behold. Sadly, their selective breeding comes with a reduced life span of six years.

English Budgie
Average Weight1.4 ounces
Average Length11 inches
Average Lifespan6 years
Average Cost50 to 90 USD
AvailabilityLow
TrainabilityVery Easy

Types of Parakeets

Aside from budgies, there are several parakeet species found around the world belonging to different genera and families. Some of them include the rose-ringed parakeet, native to Africa and Asia, the monk parakeet, which originated from South America; the lineolated parakeet from the mountain regions of South America; and the alexandrine parakeet from Southeast Asia.

In the following video, you will see different types of parakeets beyond the budgerigar:

Rose-ringed Parakeet

rose-ringed parakeet

Rose-ringed parakeets (Psittacula krameri), commonly referred to as ring-necked parakeets, are a species of the parrot family native to regions of Africa and Asia (resource). They are well-known for the rose-colored ring they have around their necks. Green feathers mainly cover their bodies with beaks characterized by red and black hues.

This type of parakeet is ingenious, as it can learn over 200 words without much problem. In addition, it can become affectionate with several people in any given family, making them one of the top choices among all parrots. They are a bit on the larger size with a length of 16 inches, but not quite as much as Alexandrine parakeets.

Rose-ringed Parakeet
Average Weight4.5 ounces
Average Length16 inches
Average Lifespan25 years
Average Cost400 to 1500 USD
AvailabilityLow
TrainabilityModerate

Monk Parakeet

monk parakeet

Another popular member of the parrot family is the monk parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus). Originally from South America, this parakeet is known for having gray feathers that extend from its forehead to the breast area. This appearance resembling a monk’s hood has earned them the name of monk parakeets.

Their bodies are usually covered by green feathers, including their wings and tails. These parakeets are pretty clever and can imitate human speech with ease.

They are as big as English budgies measuring 11 inches from head to tail. The main difference is their hefty weight of 3.5 ounces, which is more than twice the average budgie’s weight. Sadly, they are considered an invasive species, and their sale has been forbidden in many territories.

Monk Parakeet
Average Weight3.5 ounces
Average Length11 inches
Average Lifespan25 years
Average Cost600 to 700 USD
AvailabilityModerate
TrainabilityEasy

Lineolated Parakeet

Lineolated Parakeet

The Lineolated parakeets (Bolborhynchus lineola) are small parrots belonging to the genus Bolborhynchus. They are native to the Andes mountain region of South America, near Ecuador and Peru.

Like budgies, they have many mutations with colors, such as green, yellow, blue, and even white. In addition, lineolated parakeets are often about the same size as American budgies, which makes them good candidates for peaceful coexistence.

Typically, they are primarily green in appearance measuring 7 inches long and weighing 1.8 ounces with long tails. Although they aren’t big, these parakeets can be even heavier than English budgies.

They might not be common pets as other members of the parrot family, but these parakeets are known to be good talkers. Their speech is reasonably clear, but they aren’t able to learn as many words as budgies.

Lineolated Parakeet
Average Weight1.8 ounces
Average Length7 inches
Average Lifespan10 years
Average Cost200 to 300 USD
AvailabilityLow
TrainabilityModerate

Alexandrine Parakeet

alexandrine parakeet

The Alexandrine parakeet (Psittacula eupatria) is a large parrot native to the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia. They are called that way because some believe that the legendary conqueror Alexander the Great was the first one to bring the exotic bird to the European continent.

Measuring an average of 23 inches from head to tail with a weight of 9.1 ounces, they are easily over three times bigger and eight times heavier than American budgies.

With green plumage, a red beak, and a red patch on the upper area of their wings, these parakeets can cost a pretty penny ranging from 500 to 1500 USD.

Although they are intelligent, playful, and can learn all kinds of phrases, they aren’t recommended for beginners as they can be a bit stubborn and aggressive.

Alexandrine Parakeet
Average Weight9.1 ounces
Average Length23 inches
Average Lifespan27 years
Average Cost500 to 1500 USD
AvailabilityLow
TrainabilityModerate

Can you Keep Budgies and Parakeets Together?

You can keep budgies and other parakeet species together as long as the requirements are met:

1. First, you have to make sure there isn’t a significant difference between the sizes of the parakeets. Moreover, all birds in the same cage and the general area mustn’t be aggressive toward others. Large parakeets have a habit of harming smaller ones, so keep that in mind.

2. Second, providing plenty of space with a fair amount of perches and several containers with food and water is a must to preserve the peace and well-being of all the birds.

3. As you may imagine, not all parakeets are used to the same diet and environmental temperature. Therefore, keeping those with similar needs in the same place is ideal.

4. Always consult an avian vet before placing different parakeet species together.

Can a Parakeet Mate with a Budgie?

It’s impossible for other parakeet species to mate with budgies for the same reason dogs can’t mate with cats. Since they all belong to different genera and species, they are unable to produce offspring due to their incompatibility in their genetic makeup, courtship rituals, and even breeding habits.

Moreover, the simple fact there are differences in the nutrient intake, ideal temperature, and humidity among the various species to create ideal conditions to mate makes it even less likely for them to have progeny.

If you are still wondering whether budgies and parakeets are the same thing, you now know that’s not the case. Even then, these other parakeet species could become friends with your budgies in no time. Some of the other parakeets share a lot of similarities with budgies. So, give them a try, and you may discover something amazing.

He is the leading creator of featheredbuddies.com, a website dedicated to helping bird owners. For many years, Isra P has cared for budgies and other birds to ensure their happiness and well-being. His passion and enthusiasm for them have led him to a quest to find out why birds act the way they do and how to enrich their lives.