Budgerigars, small parrots native to the interior of Australia (Forshaw 1973), are among the most popular cage-birds in the world. Breeders have developed color variants ranging from blue to white and owners have accidentally or deliberately released these parrots in many of the warmer parts of the United States.While individuals used for the most successful introductions to North America, House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) and European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were wild birds, escaped cage-birds usually lack the behavior learned from parents that enables them to successfully survive in the wild.
DISTRIBUTION. During the TBBA project field work in 1987-1992, volunteers found one confirmed breeding site in latilong 28096 and 2 possibles in 26097. Elsewhere Budgerigars were once established breeding residents on the west coast of Florida (Am. Ornithol. Union 1998), but a series of hard freezes in the 1980s apparently virtually eliminated the population (Pranty).
SEASONAL OCCURRENCE. Budgerigar is usually a resident in areas of the United States where breeding has occurred. In the remaining Florida population most young fledge from May to October (Pranty).
BREEDING HABITAT. In the United States Budgerigars are usually found around subdivisions with abundant bird feeders and nest boxes built for this parrot. Although they usually avoid undeveloped areas, nests have been found in pine-tree cavities, streetlights and cabbage palms. Females lay 4-8 eggs which hatch after about 18 days. Young birds fledge about a month after hatching (Pranty).
STATUS. Populations of escaped or released Budgerigars are most likely to persist in warmer parts of Texas, although hard freezes have occurred as far south as the lower Rio Grande valley. As a popular and inexpensive cage-bird, this parrot is among the most likely escapees to be found by atlasers.
Text by Robert C. Tweit (2005)
American Ornithologists’ Union. 1998. Checklist of North American birds, 7th edition. Am. Ornithol. Union, Washington, DC.
Forshaw, J. M. 1977. Parrots of the world. T. F. H. Publishing, Neptune, NJ.
Pranty, B. Budgerigst (Melopsittacus undulatus) In Florida Breeding Bird Atlas <http://www.floridaconservation.org/bba/data/default.asp>