the difference between the terms budgie and parakeet

The difference between the terms budgie and parakeet

So, you brought home your first pet bird, and if you’re anything like me, you immediately started hitting Google and other resources with all sorts of questions. Things like, how long should my bird sleep, what’s the best food, etc. As you do more research, another question starts to loom large: what the heck is this animal called in the first place? Did I get a parakeet, a fancy parakeet, a budgie, or a budgerigar?

To clear it right up, if you have something that looks like this:

coming home from travel

You have a budgie which is the common term for a budgerigar, a small Australian parakeet. A parakeet is a parrot with a long tail and a slender body. There are hundreds of types of parakeets and budgies are just one of them. So, look at you go, in one new friend you have a budgie, a parakeet AND a parrot!

Where it got twisted is that if you’re in America, you have probably only seen these little guys referred to as parakeets or, for certain color mutations, fancy parakeets. When they first started selling budgies in America (or so the lore goes), the Ad Men sat around a table and said, “we can’t possibly sell something call budgerigar to American families! They will never be able to pronounce it, let alone understand what that is!”

Then they asked themselves if there was any other name they could call it and realized that it’s also a parakeet. Patting themselves on the back, they decided that budgies would be known as parakeets, and any other parakeet would have to pick another name or a modifier.

This is how we came to have our little misnomered babies. Here at Home Keet Home, I end up using the terms somewhat interchangeably, which is less than ideal if I want to look like a well-informed budgie owner! But, keeping in mind that many readers will be A. American and B. new to budgie parenthood, it seems prudent that folks be able to find us no matter where they are in the world or where they are in their journey with budgies!

You may also hear the term “English Budgie”. There really is no such thing as an English budgie. What people are talking about are larger Show or Exhibition Budgies that have been bred with some different characteristics, frequently for the purpose of showing them in the way that people who breed championship dogs would, although there are many people who breed exhibition style budgies for pets only.

Ultimately I don’t think anyone should feel shame or be shamed for using the terms they are familiar with. Much like learning over time about the complex social, emotional, intellectual and physical needs that budgies have, I wouldn’t expect anyone to know day one that the animal that was called a parakeet in every pet store in the USA is more accurately a budgie!

5 thoughts on “The difference between the terms budgie and parakeet”

  1. I just did a YouTube video about this not long ago. We added a sun conure to our flock and had to explain why he still fit in “The Parakeet Perch” lol! It also helped to name our channel The Parakeet Perch and not the budgie or budgerigar perch because there are so many more searches under the name parakeet…it’s definitely the preferred term. Little did I know, it would give me room for species expansion down the road too (score)!!

    1. I will have to check out your video! The possibility of species expansion is what has kept me from seriously considering a rebrand. I’d love to have a Linnie or a Bourke someday and I’m sure I’d want to write up a storm about them!

      1. Linnies are the best! Sadly, I’m not seeing a ton of those in this area anymore. I think it’s the high cost versus the small size of bird, if I had to take an educated guess. Hopefully you can expand sometime, it’s definitely interesting and fun to have a greater variety of birds.

      2. I would definitely love to expand at any moment! My husband, on the other hand…not so much. He struggles with his allergies when our current three are molting and doesn’t really want to push it. Someday though!

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