Are Budgies Smart? The Astonishing Intelligence of These Birds

Last updated on May 4th, 2024 at 11:56 pm

Written by Isra P

Are budgies smart? That’s a question often asked by pet owners everywhere. Still, the answer depends on your definition of intelligence. For some people, it means recognizing their owners. Others find being able to solve puzzles to be a sign of a higher intellect. Finally, executing a command is something that many consider the number one indicator of a pet’s superior brain power.

Budgies are definitely smart. They have a higher neuron density than other birds and can mimic words, phrases, and songs similar to larger parrots. Budgies also have a pretty good memory, allowing them to learn names, identify the people they are familiar with, perform tricks, and resolve challenges.

Of course, you may wonder if budgies are as bright as other popular animals, such as cats and dogs. You could also be thinking about how to keep them sharp or even make them smarter. So keep reading to find out what is possible with the astounding intelligence of budgies.

A budgie’s brain is significantly big when compared to its body. Weighting around 1.32 g, the brain of a budgie is large, considering budgies weigh around 40 g.

As a matter of fact, it has a much higher neuron density on the forebrain than most mammals and other birds (except for other parrots and songbirds, which have a similar amount).

How Much IQ Does a Budgie Have?

It has been said that budgies are as intelligent as a 7-month-old human with an IQ of 100. That’s pretty smart, considering their tiny size. However, assessing their true potential is hard unless they are in the right environment where they can exercise their brain capacity.

How Smart are Budgies Compared to Other Birds?

Budgies are very smart when compared to most birds. As one of the psittacine species, they have a highly-developed intellect with a capacity to originate solutions when demanding tasks are presented.

a budgie and other types of birds

The large number of neurons in the frontal part of their brains allows them to have a cognitive ability that far surpasses the ones of most bird species. How’s that?

Well, budgies can imitate human speech and replicate the sounds made by other birds, including canaries’ sounds. They may also be trained to respond to specific commands and perform exercises related to basic human grammar.

Are Budgies Smarter than Chickens?

It could be said that budgies are a bit smarter than chickens. Although chickens have the ability to identify their owners and determine when they can obtain a better reward depending on the choices presented, they lack the capacity to express their needs to humans in the way members of the parrot family do.

Budgies are not only able to let you know what they need. They may also use tools to complete tasks and solve problems. For example, learning to speak and singing to you are tricks budgies can do that chickens can’t.

Are Budgies Smarter than Lovebirds?

Budgies and lovebirds have similar intelligence. They both can be taught to play games, follow your lead, and be nice to you.

Still, budgies have a slight edge over lovebirds regarding communicating their needs, being more talkative, and remembering names.

Are Budgies Smarter than Cockatiels?

Budgies and cockatiels have similar intelligence since they belong to the parrot family. Furthermore, they can both learn the human language allowing them to speak words and phrases without much effort.

They understand object permanence (meaning they are aware hidden objects exist without seeing or hearing them) at the level of a 2-year-old human child. However, cockatiels are larger and like to take their time to do what they want to do. Therefore, they will pay attention and learn what you teach, even if you think they are zoning out.

On the other hand, budgies are smaller and way more active. They go all out when you get them involved in the learning process. Still, due to their lively nature, they seem all over the place when you approach them.

How Smart are Budgies?

Budgies can do a lot of things other birds can’t. For example, their high cognitive capacity lets them interact with people uniquely by imitating human sounds. They can also perform all kinds of tasks and uncannily solve puzzles.

male budgie

An exciting study analyzed how females chose their male partners based on their problem-solving skills. It showed that female budgies preferred male budgies that solved specific puzzles over those that couldn’t do it successfully. In other words, intelligence is a trait that female budgies consider essential when picking a mate (resource).

In the following video, you will see a few jaw-dropping tricks performed by budgies:

Are Budgies Smarter than Dogs?

Both budgies and dogs are equally smart in their own way. Both species can be trained to follow commands and execute tasks according to their abilities.

While dogs may seem more in tune and empathetic towards people’s feelings, budgies are better communicators. Dogs have difficulty conveying a specific message, while budgies can learn hundreds of words and use them to talk to you when they think it’s necessary.

Are Budgies Smarter than Cats?

A budgie’s intelligence is higher than that of a cat in terms of its ability to communicate. Cats are excellent problem solvers as they can easily get out of difficult situations. They can also be potty trained without much problem.

While they can remember people and events effortlessly, cats have a hard time telling their owners what they need. On the other hand, budgies are more than willing to speak with their owners about their needs using their own words.

How Smart are Budgies Compared to Humans?

Budgies can be smarter than human toddlers. Although our brains are indeed perplexingly complex, our beloved winged companions aren’t that far behind. They can plan for the future, use simple grammar, and obtain an understanding of simple words by using proper context.

Budgies can understand grammar like a 7-month-old baby, but they are able to solve problems far beyond the scope of three and some four-year-old children. Of course, three-year-old children know plenty of more words than any budgie. Still, their ability to analyze a challenging puzzle and come out with the best solution is almost nonexistent.

Are Budgies Self-Aware?

It is unknown whether budgies possess self-awareness. Although there have been studies indicating that primates, elephants, and some birds have some degree of self-awareness, it is something that researchers haven’t been able to prove yet beyond any doubt.

What Mental age do Budgies Have?

It is known that budgies can handle grammar as well as a human baby of seven months. But does that mean that’s their mental age?

Not necessarily. Because budgies are also able to solve puzzles that three-year-old children can’t. In other words, it’s difficult to prove whether they have the mental age of a baby or a small child.

Budgie playing with toy

Do Budgies Understand Humans?

Budgies can understand humans as long as they are trained to do so. With time, they can connect their owners’ actions and commands with the expected behavior.

Budgies can also use the words they have acquired from familiar people to convey messages indicating they want to be fed or need company.

How Many Words can a Budgie Learn?

Like most parrots, budgies can learn over 100 words. Of course, on average, they typically memorize around 50. It is essential to note that everything depends on the budgie’s learning ability and the owner’s dedication.

How Many Words can a Budgie Speak?

Despite the fact that budgies can learn around a hundred words, they might not be capable of saying them all. You have to remember that memorizing and even understanding the context in which a word is used does not mean they can speak it.

So often, they will likely use a few words they are the most enthusiastic about.

Do Budgies Recognize Their Owners?

Budgies can recognize their owners, but that’s not all. Friends, family, and people that visit the home are often likely to be remembered as well. Moreover, if budgies have been well-trained, they might respond to their cues and develop strong bonds.

Do Budgies Know Their Names?

A budgie can know its name as long as it’s trained to do so. Keep in mind repetition is vital for the birds to associate it with themselves.

They may not be able to understand it right away, but in no time, they will. So as you mention their names, it’s crucial always to use the same tone and pitch to prevent them from confusing their names with other words.

Do Budgies Have Good Memory?

Members of the parrot family are known to have remarkable memories. Budgies are good at remembering people, things, sounds, and events that have been a part of their lives for many years. They also retain the ability to recognize specific commands and tasks that were taught to them for a long time.

What are Easy Words for Budgies to Learn?

As a general rule, budgies have an easy time learning short words that have simple meanings. Of course, you have to keep in mind that not all budgies are able to memorize terms quickly, so you have to be patient. A few simple words or phrases your pet might learn fast include hello, up, down, goodbye, treat, food, and come here.

How to Make Your Budgies Smarter

There are several ways for budgies to retain their mental sharpness or even become smarter. As long as you provide the necessary stimuli, they will gradually get better at puzzle-solving and increase the number of words they can learn and speak.

rainbow budgie playing with coconut toy

Provide an Exciting Environment

Ideally, you want your pets to have plenty of space to move around without problems. Why? Because that allows your budgies to perform their acrobatics more often, allowing them to exercise and improve their motor skills.

Rotate Their Toys

Budgies get bored fast, so they need constant modifications to their surroundings. That’s when new toys come in. Rotate them often, and you will see how your feathered buddies find novel ways to play with them.

Organize a Scavenger Hunt

Encourage your pets to forage whenever you have the chance. For instance, you can hide treats inside their cage and create a small maze for them to improve their problem-solving skills.

Train Them Often

Training your budgies can be a fun and rewarding experience. Begin by teaching them simple commands such as step up or come here. It’s essential, though, to reward them accordingly when they execute the task the way you want. That way, their intelligence will develop more than you can imagine.

So are budgies smart? Indeed, they are. Budgies have an unfathomable potential that can surprise you. The only thing you have to do is provide them with opportunities and let their imagination run free. They love you for it!

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.