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Welcome to the BCT Library this page contains all articles, pictures,
survey results, and other information relating to Budgerigars.   To navigate your way around the library use the links down the right hand side of the screen.

ANBC National 2009 Archive - Burnie

The Australian National Budgerigar Championships were once again hosted in Tasmania during May 2009 in Bernie. To view the archived National 2009 pages CLICK HERE.

You can also access the full set of results & pictures from the 2009 National at the Live Results Feed Site.

ANBC National 2002 Archive - Hobart

The Australian National Budgerigar Championships were hosted in Tasmania during May 2002 in Hobart. To view the archived National 2002 pages CLICK HERE.

The Origin of the Budgerigar

Budgerigars also known as Melopsittacus Undulatus, are native to the country of Australia and are found in the wild in Western, Central, North Western, and South Australia and also in New South Wales and Queensland, but are absent in the state of Tasmania. In the wild the Budgerigar is only found in one variety, which is the Light Green Normal variety.
The name Budgerigar comes from a Aboriginal term which when translated means 'good bird,' or 'good food.'

Sexing the Budgerigar

Cock (Male) * Cere is bold and dark blue in colour
Hen (Female) Cere is flat and dark brown in colour
Young Cock ** 
(under 12 weeks)
Cere is bold and light pink in colour
Young Hen ** 
(under 12 weeks)
Cere is flat and has white around the nostrils

* The cock budgerigar of the following varieties have a bold cere which is light pink in colour: Lutino, Albino, Lacewings, Recessive Pieds.
** It is often difficult to decide the sex of a young budgerigar under the age of 12 weeks

Budgerigar Colour Chart

Colour Chart Image

Please Note: For best results with this chart, have your computer set to 256 Colours or High Colour (16-bit).

Why Join a Bird Club?

This question has been asked many times. Here are what we believe to be the benefits of joining your local Club or Society.

1. Most clubs are run by people with the same interest as your.

2. Free Information is available for e.g:
        [a] birdkeeping information and tips
        [b] feeding
        [c] health care information for your birds
        [d] improving your stock
        [e] membership gives access to purchasing rings
        [f] aviary designs
        [g] club Library
        [h] breeding tips

3. Clubs have a wealth of information which has been passed down over the years and many breeders are keen to share with new members.

4. It also enables you to purchase quality bloodlines which are proven winners at the time. Top breeders are more inclined to sell surplus birds from their good stock to club members.

5. Enables you to start exhibiting your birds at shows. This is the quickest path to improving your stock, as you constantly are having your birds compared to others.

6. Become an Office Bearer - for those willing to do so over many years we have found this to be very beneficial as you are always at the forefront of the hobby and part of the decision making processes.

7. All clubs have judges training courses which can lead eventually to becoming state/national accredited judges.

8. Friendship - many lifelong friendships have had their beginnings at a local bird club meeting.

As you can see we have only just touched on the subject, so why not seek out and join your local club and become part of a world wide hobby of breeding Budgerigars.

Breeding and Feeding in the Wild

In the wild the Budgerigars breeding habits are dictated by nature. By this we mean they only breed when feed is plentiful. Whole breeding colonies of thousands of birds have been known to abandon their nest comprising both eggs and young and move to a new location because their food supply has been exhausted. The wild budgerigars feed exclusively on seeding grasses. If drought conditions exist or bush fires destroy the feeding grounds the flock will move on to another location and start again, this results in the loss of many thousands of young birds. The birds usually nest in what is known as Mallee (Eucalyptus or as they are better known 'Gum Trees'). They seek out every hollow that is to be found and some large hollows can have up to five breeding pairs in them, each pair usually lay four to five eggs per clutch.

Breeding and Feeding for Exhibition

Breeding in captivity is not very difficult but it can be testing at times. This I believe is because we have changed the domesticated bird dramatically from that found in the wild. In our endeavour to breed the champion bird for exhibition we have changed the structure of the bird. The birds are now much larger in size ( 225 mm for exhibition birds compared to 192 mm in the wild). Their feathering has been lengthened and encouraged to grow in what is called directional feathering, this means the feathers do not follow the contour of the body as the do in the wild. This gives the appearance of a much bigger bird especially around the head area. This is not usually a problem with the cock budgerigar but in large hens it can be a major problem.

(The changes to the domesticated bird are discussed in the next article.)

At the F1 Stud we feed a commercially produced seed mixtures comprising: Plain Canary Seed 50%, White French Millet, Panicum, Jap Millet and Vitamins A, D3, and E all coated lightly with vegetable oil. To this we add small portions of Hulled Oats and Black Sunflower. The birds are given fresh Silver Beet every day. Carrots including tops, Apples, Sweetcorn cobs and wild seeding grasses, and especially chick weed are fed on a regular basis. When feeding young the breeding pairs are also given sprouted seeds comprising feed oats, black sunflower and mung beans every morning as well as soaked hulled oats. Chicken carcasses are thrown into the aviaries - the birds love them so much that they demolish all but the large bones.

Changes in the Domesticated Budgerigar

As mentioned in Issue 1 the structure of the bird has changed dramatically over the last fifty years since fanciers around the world have been breeding this fantastic little bird. We have seen an increase in length by 33 mm as well as the body structure which has increased to the extent that the modern exhibition Budgerigar is now twice the width of the wild specimen.   The changes don't stop there because the length of feather has also increased and the amount of underdown has thickened substantially.

This is all well and good for exhibiting of birds, as these changes are very pleasing to the eye and with the overall standard around the world getting closer together.   But with these changes we have seen problems developing in breeding, not so much with the big bold cock birds, but with the beautiful big hen birds, we have found that the best way to use these hens for breeding is when they are at about 6 months of age. If you can get more than one season out of them [count it as a bonus] as after 6 months you may have trouble getting any chicks from her.

Other problems that have surfaced because of these structural changes. These being feathers growing on the legs and feet, more weepy eye problems and the birds flight pattern is changing because of the amount of head feathering. Some birds have difficulty in seeing straight ahead without tilting their head from side to side, which in turn causes their flight pattern to alter. Although I am sure that none of us would go back in time, our challenge remains to try and get all varieties up to the one standard and of course to breed the elusive black or red budgerigar.

Sections of the Budgerigar

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1 - Spots, 2 - Bib, 3 - Beak, 4 - Cere, 5 - Eye, 6 - Frontal, 7 - Topskull (Crown),
8 - Backskull, 9 - Neck, 10 - Ear, 11 - Cheek Patch, 12 - Mantle, 13 - Back Proper,
14 - Rump, 15 - Tail, 16 - Flights, 17 - Legs & Feet, 18 - Wing, 19 - Wing Butts,
20 - Front Line

Build your own Budgerigar Nest Box

Below are some pictures of the nest boxes we use at the F1 Stud Avery in Tasmania:

  Nest Box 1 Nest Box 2
If you would like to see the measurements then CLICK HERE, to download the measurement image right-click the picture and select Save Image as...

Breeding & Exhibiting Yellow Faces

Many Breeders today have never seen a true yellow face, commonly called Australian Yellow Face or Golden Face. Good examples of these birds are rare today as most breeders now concentrate on the English Yellow Face [Cream Face].

Australian Yellow Face Type 1

Commonly called single factor.
Usually appear as good coloured when young but when they moult most develop a yellow wash down through the chest and in the tail secondaries.


Type 1 x white-faced bird  =     50% type 1 yellow face
                                                50% white face [does not carry yellow face]

Type 1 x type 1  =    25% type 2 yellow face
                                50% type 1 yellow face
                                25% white face [no yellow face carried]

Type 2

Commonly called double factor.
Good examples of these do not have the yellow wash down through chest area.
Experienced breeders can pick type 2 from type 1 by the under colour of the secondary flight feathers, (Double factors have white markings in this area, while single factors are yellow in colour).
Non experienced breeders have to test mate them.

Type 2 x white face  =    100% type 1 yellow face

Type 2 x type 1  =    50% type 2
                                50% type 1

Type 2 x type 2  = 100% type 2 yellow face

Common faults of these varieties are poor colouring.
Achieving the desired expectation from matings.
Birds appeared to be long necked.

English Yellow Face - Cream Face

As I mentioned before these birds have almost wiped out the true Australian Yellow Face.

Cream Face x white face  =    50% cream face
                                        =     50% white face

Cream Face x cream face  =     50% cream face
                                                50% white face  [double factor cream face]

White face double factor x white face = 100% cream face

Common faults of these varieties are yellow wash down chest area of those of blue colouring.
Most good examples of these are bred through the grey variety.
As breeders of these birds for many years the best colour contrast is obtained from using normal grey.
Good examples can be seen when dark factor blues are introduced.

For a truly beautiful bird try breeding a spangle yellow face opaline cinnamon grey, they are very pleasing to the eye.

Incubating Budgie Eggs

We had a question regarding "Incubating Budgerigar Eggs", at the time we did not know of any method for achieving this, but we recently received a reply from a reader that has successfully achieved this.   Here's the original question again and the new reply:

Incubating Budgie Eggs
What is the most successful way to artificially incubate and hatch budgie eggs? What is the best container to hold the eggs? Would an aquarium work? What is the right temperature and humidity in order for the eggs to hatch?
- Brenda Watson

Re: Incubating Budgie Eggs
I have successfully incubated budgie eggs at 98 ºF (36.67 ºC) and 70% humidity they must be turned at least 6 times per 24 hours
- Andy Spence

Exhibition Budgerigar - Year Round Feeding

Points to remember when deciding to breed and exhibit Budgerigars

In the wild
[a] They are ground feeding seed eating birds
[b] They breed only when feed, water are plentiful
[c] When nature dictates that these are not available they stop breeding and move on.

In captivity
The birds are still subjected to the rule of nature so we must create an artificial environment for our breeding and show seasons feeding is a major factor in creating these environments.

At the F1 Stud
Our birds are fed a variety of seeds and supplements depending on what is happening.

We break the year into three seasons:

[a] Breeding - late August to late January
[b] Showing - from February to June
[c] Rest & recreation - mid June to late August

Breeding Season

  1. Budgerigar Breeders Mix (50% canary)
  2. Shell Grit
  3. Cuttle Fish Bone
  4. Fresh Water
  5. Whole Oats
  6. Black Sunflower
  7. Seeding Grasses
  8. Chick Weed
  9. Silver Beet
  10. Bread
  11. Tree Branches [aviary]- Gum Tree
  12. Meat & Chicken bones [aviary]
  13. Rotten Wood [aviary]
  14. Charcoal [aviary]
  15. Sprouted seed mix consisting of feed oats, mull beans sunflower

No limit on amount of seed eaten.

Show Season
All of the following:

  1. Budgerigar Breeders Mix (50% canary)
  2. Shell Grit
  3. Cuttle Fish Bone
  4. Fresh Water
  5. Black Sunflower
  6. Seeding Grasses
  7. Chick Weed
  8. Silver Beet
  9. Bread
  10. Tree Branches [aviary]- Gum Tree
  11. Meat & Chicken bones [aviary]
  12. Apples
  13. Sweet corn

All seeds strictly controlled amount sunflower, meat and chicken, greens are limited

Rest & Recreation [Recuperation]

  1. Budgerigar Breeders Mix (50% canary)
  2. Shell Grit
  3. Cuttle Fish Bone
  4. Fresh Water
  5. Whole Oats
  6. Black Sunflower
  7. Seeding Grasses
  8. Chick Weed
  9. Silver Beet
  10. Bread
  11. Tree Branches [aviary]- Gum Tree
  12. Meat & Chicken bones [aviary]
  13. Rotten Wood [aviary]
  14. Charcoal [aviary]
  15. carrots
  16. apples
  17. sweet corn

Start increasing amount of seed given.
New tree branches weekly.

Remember you will only get out of this hobby what you are prepared to put in.

Moving House with your Stud

Moving from an existing well established Aviary [20 years old] to no aviary only a large tin shed.    ‘How this was accomplished!’
* With a Stud of approximately 200 Budgerigars and at the end of the Show Season with 2 pairs still breeding.
* An extension was built onto an existing shed approx. 6 metres x 6 metres with concrete floor making it completely mouse proof.
* All cages were to come.
* Travel distance for moving was approximately ½ hour.
* Birds were transported in a specially designed Budgerigar travel cage with 40 separate small cages, which held 4 birds each and then folded together making the environment dark for travel.
* For the 2 pairs still breeding [with very new babies].   The nest boxes were attached to 2 old show cages and transported [with both hens not even leaving the nest] and reattached to breeding cages at new residence.
* All birds were housed in training type cages within the tin shed.
* Building commenced – all walls were lined and insulated [for the purpose to prevent cold in winter and against heat in summer.].
* An indoor flight was built with plans for an extension of an outdoor flight to be attached and various other amenities to be added at a later date.
* Breeding cages have been set up and birds now have been paired ready for breeding.
* This has taken approximately 2 months and we look forward to a good breeding season in our new environment.

 Breeding in a New Environment – the Pitfalls and Advantages

Well, the breeding season is fast drawing to a close and this being a short season due to the moving and building of the breeding room etc. our numbers are down on past seasons, our season usually runs for six months, this one has been for only three months.

The new environment has worked well even though it is not finished, the birds have adapted to the change with no significant failures apart from the normal ones of getting those birds of superior quality to breed. In retrospect if we had our time over again, we would try to move in the non breeding season, this would give the birds more time to settle in and become accustomed to the new housing and possibly come into their natural breeding condition. The good news is we have bred some Quality birds which after they moult should be competitive on the show bench, we will give an update on the youngsters in the next issue.

The Basic Requirements for your Budgerigar

[1] FOOD
A good quality Budgerigar Mix, ie a premium mix is desirable. Budgerigars will also appreciate seeds added to this diet such as hulled oats and sunflower seeds, in small quantities. when the bird moults [especially the first moult at 3 months of age], the extra oils and carbohydrates provided by these seeds assist with the growth of new feathers. At moulting time extra canary seed [for protein] is also desirable, as feathers are mostly protein and canary seeds being high in protein will help new growth. Remember to check seed is always available, and blow the seed husks off the dish.
A clean supply changed daily is required. Birds will also bathe if water is placed in a dish on the floor of the cage. Water helps new feathers grow, helping to soften pin feathers Water also assists in preening, keeping feathers clean and stimulating oil placement by the bird.
All birds require grit as they have no teeth. They use the grit to help crush seed in the digestive process. A regular supply is necessary. Beach sand, shell grit, fine river gravel must be clean. Give a varied supply from different sources. Grit is available at pet shops.
Cuttle fish bone should always be available to your bird.  If this is unavailable calcium bells are easily obtained from pet shops.
[i] Silver beet        [ii] Carrot             [iii] apple
[iv] bread             [v] chicken bones  [vi] wild seeding grasses
Your bird should be allowed to fly once a day if possible. The cage should have enough space for the birds to be able to fly or hover. Do not clutter the cage with toys.
Provide indirect light such as broken sunshine or partial sunlight to the bird cage. Do not cook the bird by leaving it in full sunshine either inside or out.  Generally where you would be comfortable applies to the bird.
Keep a peg on the door and make sure cats cannot knock the cage over. Keep an eye on your bird if placed outside.
Clean the cage, perches, and dishes at regular intervals, e.g. every 1 or 2 weeks.
[10] DO NOT
1. DO NOT keep the bird in a cold draughty place.
2. DO NOT let the bird fly with electrical items such as heaters or fans operating in your house. Also water is dangerous as the bird could drown, e.g. baths, sinks, etc. Pull curtains closed as birds may fly into the glass if they do not know the house or are frightened.
3. DO NOT purchase cane bird cages as budgies can eat them and get out.

Culling Birds

Here are the NECESSARY ESSENTIALS to look at when culling your Budgerigars:

[1]   BIRDS - No favourites unless you are trying to breed or improve a certain variety.

[2]   SHOW CAGES - Essential for assessing birds at any time.

[3]   TRESTLES TO CARRY AT LEAST 8 CAGES - To get a fair assessment of birds -         as many as possible.

[4]   GOOD RECORDS - Showing family lines etc., good breeding traits and history.

[5]   TIME - Plenty of time because it is a slow process

[6]   GOAL - Where is your pinnacle ? What do you want to achieve?

[7]   COMMITMENT - Prepared to make the hard decisions that will be required.

[8]   KNOWLEDGE - A little knowledge will help make your decisions easier.

Budgie Word Glossary

Below is a list of few words used in reference to Budgerigars and their meanings:

CERE -        The section of a Budgerigar that is above the beak, the birds nostrils are also located here. [See Sexing the Budgerigar]

RUNNER -  A Budgerigar suffering from French Moult.

UNBROKEN CAP - Is the name given to a Budgerigar under the age of 12 weeks (approx.) or until they commence their first moult.   In most varieties it is easily identified by the barring across the head and the lack of an iris in the eye.   Also known as UBC or Nest Feather.

DIRECTIONAL FEATHER - Term used when describing the feather on a bird's head. Breeders today endeavour to breed their show birds with head feathers growing outwards away from the head, this type of feathering tends to give the impression that the bird has a large head.

PINCHED, NARROW, HAWK EYED - Terms used to describe birds with no head size and lack of directional feathering.

GOOD BLOW - Ability of a bird to puff their head feathering, again giving the impression that the bird has a larger head.

HEAVY WINGS - Used to describe birds with large secondary flights, also birds with long primary flights that fan out and hang down instead of being tight and follow the contour of the body.

LEG FEATHERS - In our endeavour to breed birds with more feather, we are now breeding them with feathers growing on the lower leg. This is unsightly to the eye and is regarded as a fault when showing, therefore, the feathers need to be removed by trimming with small scissors before exhibiting in shows.

PENCIL SHAPE - Birds that are long and thin, with lack of shoulder.

TYPE - Term used when describing general conformation, including balance, deportment, size and condition. Type is very important to those showing birds.

CLEFT MASK - Birds with this give the impression that the mask is split down the middle.

GROUND COLOUR - This is the underlying colour, white in the blue series, yellow in the green series, upon which all other pigments and markings are superimposed.

Survey Results Archive

This website's roots stem from an old website that was online from 1996 to 2001 called the "F1 Stud Web Page".   On that site they conducted a number of surveys, the results from these surveys are archived here for your information

Click on the Issue Number to view the Results of that Survey

Issue One
Mops (Feather Dusters)

Issue Two
French Moult

Issue Three
Short Tail Disease

Issue Four
Egg Bound Hens

Issue Five
Hatchings Per Nest

Issue Six
Crested Budgerigars

Library Contents:

ANBC National 2009 Archive & Results

ANBC National 2002 Archive

The Origin of the Budgerigar

Sexing the Budgerigar

Budgerigar Colour Chart

Why Join a Bird Club?

Breeding and feeding in the wild

Breeding and feeding for exhibition

Changes to the domesticated Budgerigar

Sections of the Budgerigar

Build your own Budgerigar Nest Box

Breeding & Exhibiting Yellow Faces

Incubating Budgerigar Eggs

Exhibition Budgerigar (Year Round Feeding)

Moving House with your Stud

in a New Environment
– the Pitfalls and Advantages

The basic requirements for your Budgerigar

Culling Budgerigars

Budgerigar Word Glossary

Survey Results Archive

Last Updated:
December 24, 2021


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