Do Budgies Have a Good Memory?

It seems that parrots can remember other birds and potential danger in the wild. They even recognize their partners and often refuse to breed with others. However, owners want to know whether budgies have a good memory and remember humans’ voices and faces, particularly after a long separation.

Researchers show that some parrot’s brain areas function similarly to the human cortex, so there are reasons to believe that budgies have a good memory. They can recall their owners’ voices and faces, but it is impossible to find scientific experiments that confirm long-term memory in these birds.

This article aims to solve existing doubts about budgies’ memory. It is crucial for their social behavior and better interaction with people and other birds.

What Can Budgies Remember?

It is not entirely clear how long a budgie can remember. However, some research and owner experiences suggest they can retain certain information for a while.

Memories about other birds

It is known that Budgies effortlessly learn words and even phrases and don’t forget them throughout their lives. This ability is connected to their life in the wild.

They need to remember unique sounds to recognize each other in their natural environment, particularly during mating.

Interestingly, these parrots can differentiate familiar and unfamiliar birds’ calls. That way, they can effortlessly find their flock. Many owners claim that their feathered pets can recognize other birds after being apart for a while. The condition is that they spent enough time in the same household before separation.

Memories about their parents

Budgies typically leave their parents when they are 7 to 8 weeks old, but it seems they can remember them or at least lessons learned from them forever. One of the theories is that budgie parents give their offspring names while they are in the nest.

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    Young birds accept given names and use them to introduce themselves to other parrots they meet throughout their lives. Moreover, there is evidence that the parental contact calls affect the structure of their babies’ voices.

    Another vital thing is the lessons they learn from their moms. They remember them throughout their lives and know what to do once they become parents.

    On the other hand, females failing to spend time with their parents and other flock members never learn to behave appropriately with their offspring. Therefore, such birds often abandon their hatchlings.

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      Memories about their partners

      Budgies are monogamous and typically choose partners based on their cognitive skills. Believe it or not, they can recognize each other thanks to their characteristic calls.

      Scientists proved that female and male budgies could identify each other up to 70 days after being separated for various reasons. However, the research shows that females can recognize partners up to 180 days after separation.

      Unfortunately, there is no relevant information on whether they can identify other birds’ looks or only recognize their sounds.

      In a situation of losing a partner, budgies will behave similarly to people. Some will get over the loss and find another partner, while others never accept someone else.

      Believe it or not, these parrots can mourn their partners’ or owners’ death for a long. Therefore, it is not rare seeing this bird flying around and desperately calling out while looking for the deceased human friend or beloved bird.

      Memories of human faces

      These intelligent birds can remember human faces and the voices of their human family members. Once a budgie becomes familiar with its owner, it will be able to identify them even after a long separation.

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        After adaptation, your new budgie will cuddle with you, flap with wings, and fly towards you as soon as you come into the room. That is the first sign it remembers you. This bird will also not forget other people coming to your home and pets it regularly meets in the house.

        After an in-depth internet search, you can find many anecdotes about budgies’ memory. Their owners describe how their feathered pets remember people and events and mourn after losing their humans.

        Some heart-warming stories describe the reaction of budgies separated from their owners for a long. Their happiness and unquestionable affection after the reunion are incredible.

        How Long Can Budgies Remember Someone or Something?

        Unlike other birds, budgies can learn and remember new songs and words all their lives, showing their impeccable memory.

        Ryohei Satoh from Kitasato University, Japan, researched memory correlated neuronal activity in these parrots. After numerous experiments, he concluded that budgies form auditory memory while learning a particular song.

        That ability is crucial for these birds living in the wild. In most cases, it is the only way to recognize partners and other members of the same flock. On the other hand, it will help budgies living in captivity to interact with owners and other birds and remember their faces and voices.

        Eda-Fujiwara and associates tried to research long-term memory in female budgies. Since these birds are monogamous, they presumed auditory memory is crucial for the partners’ recognition.

        After separating a pair of parrots, females reacted to their mates’ calls more than to sounds of unknown males for a month or two. However, all stopped preferring their mates’ calls after 180 days on average.

        It is still unclear whether they forgot their partners after that period or lost interest and refused to wait longer.

        Why Is Budgies Memory Vital for Their Surviving?

        One thing is for sure. Budgies living in the wild need excellent long-term memory because their lives often depend on it. For them, it is crucial to remember:

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          • Navigational paths
          • Particular locations
          • Food and water sources
          • Hazardous areas
          • Predators

          Your pet certainly has no such problems and can rely on you without remembering too much information. However, that doesn’t mean it is not capable of memorizing things.

          For example, abused budgies will remember scary situations and negatively respond to anything that reminds them of ill-treatment. They will react stressfully to the abuser long after being placed in safety.

          How Smart Are Budgies? What Does Science Say?

          Many birds have an excellent memory. For instance, it is well-known that ravens have long-term memory and can remember and distinguish both familiar and unfamiliar birds.

          It is also proven that African grey parrots can make complex inferences and perform the same cognitive tasks as a preschool child.

          Scientist Irene Maxine Pepperberg tested four parrots species and compared them with African grey trained in interspecies communication. She concluded that budgies could solve object-permanence tasks typically used for assessing human infants’ understanding levels.

          Seweryn Olkowicz and associates from the Czech Republic proved that parrots’ brains contain the same number of neurons as primates’ brains, but their packing density is higher. That is irrefutable proof of their intelligence and can explain their ability to imitate human voices and remember things.

          For example, budgies can detect the underlying grammatical structure, perceive lexical stress, and perceive the abstract notions at the human infant levels.

          Conclusion

          According to both budgies’ owners and science, these birds are intelligent creatures. They can memorize hundreds of words and recognize different words, songs, and human voices.

          They also remember their parents, partners, and owners and spend time mourning after their leaving or death. No one can confirm how long they won’t forget their beloved ones, but their happiness after a long separation is evident in many cases.

          Photo of author

          Gaurav Dhir

          Gaurav is an animal enthusiast. He lives in beautiful Ontario with his energetic family. As a part of his work at beautyofbirds.com, he has been working with ace parrot trainer, Cassie Malina to understand bird behavior and learn more about how he can train his feathered companions.

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