Spend a few hours with a budgie, and you will definitely start to pick up on their mannerisms, one of which is head-bobbing-and we will discuss why they do this in today’s article.
Why do budgies bob their heads? Budgies bob their heads for a variety of reasons, it is mostly a trait of male budgies, however, the females do it too. It is a ritual of courtship that a male does to impress a female. Baby budgies do this when they are hungry and asking parents for food. It could also be a sign of a medical condition like parasitic infections or seizures.
Budgies really love to sing and sometimes they sing to themselves. Other times they sing for their fellow cage-mates. Some enjoy singing more than others. Some do it as a means of entertainment, play, and socialization among their peers.
Some even incorporate other sounds along with trills, tweets, croaks, and screeches. And the best part? Head bobbing is part of this act of singing. Males may even sing to other males as a means of showing off. It is a completely natural behavior and has several different meanings when budgies do it.
The Act of Head Bobbing: A Deeper Look
The bobbing of the head among female and male budgies is a method of courtship, and if the male succeeds in impressing the female and she enjoys the dance, both of the birds will feed one another and then eventually participate in the act of mating.
This ritual will go on and on until eggs are laid.
Adult budgies are not the only age group who will bob their heads. Baby budgies do this when they are on the lookout for food and begging parents for some nourishment. This is prominent when a baby budgie has just fledged, or left the nest, and is learning how to fly.
The mother and father will encourage the baby to fly from spot to spot. The baby responds by crying and bobbing its head up and down and continues until the baby is independent and weaned.
This behavior in budgies is considered to be very cute and funny by owners of these birds. They sometimes supplement their head-bobbing with chatter, which adds to the behavior that bird owners just love to see in their pets.
It is a pleasure for bird owners to enjoy hearing their bird talk and make some joyful noises along the way.
Other Reasons for Head Bobbing
So, you already know about the mating dance of sorts that happens between the male and female budgies, and how males like to show off to their counterparts.
Sometimes, budgies may bob their heads when they are in front of a mirror because they believe they see another one! It makes for a funny moment and a cute photo op. It is a good illustration of the many varied and interesting head-bobbing budgie behaviors.
Still, if you notice that your budgie shows that and other weird behaviors in front of a mirror, you should quickly get rid of the mirror. We explain exactly why in this article!
Territorial reasons are another reason you might see your budgie bobbing his head. If another budgie comes into his zone, he might want to show he is the alpha bird. The other one may back off to avoid any conflict. Be sure to keep aggressive budgies separated.
Boredom is another reason you might see your budgie bobbing about. Be sure that you always give your budgie enough toys and another bird friend to play with aside from yourself. You can also teach your budgie how to talk during free time.
Here are a couple of our articles we highly recommend reading in this regard:
- Why your budgie needs a companion
- Good toys for budgies? Here are 15 amazing toys they love!
- How to tame a budgie?
The Dark Side of Head-Bobbing
Head-bobbing in budgies is typically a good thing. It indicates healthy habits like hunger and mating. Every budgie has its own personality, and some are just naturally more outgoing than others.
They are very smart and will mostly do these actions as a means of making their owners happy and garnering more attention. However, there are some caveats to consider if you begin to notice your budgie bobbing his head at inappropriate times.
This type of behavior could be due to an underlying medical condition and may be attributed to a mental disease of some variety. Other conditions that could be the culprit include seizures as well as parasitic infections.
It is therefore important to watch your budgie closely and if you see anything that does not look normal, schedule an appointment with your vet right away.
You know your bird better than anybody else and your vet can provide you a diagnosis and treatment plan to get your bird feeling better again.
Provided you give your budgie great care and love, you can look forward to 15-18 years of life for your pet. It is important to watch for any diseases. Here are some of the most common budgie diseases you will encounter.
- Parrot Fever or Psittacosis – Caused by the bacteria Chlamydia Psittaci and can be transmitted to people. Birds should be tested especially if they will be living with the elderly. They are the most prone to this ailment.
- Megabacteria – This is known as “going light” and is actually probably a yeast infection. You can treat it with antifungal drugs.
- Protozoal Infections – these are most commonly found in breeding colonies of budgies. Watch out for Trichomonas and giardia.
- Polyomavirus – You may also hear this described as “budgie fledgling disease.” This causes the death of chicks when they are first emerging from the nest.
- Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease – This will cause poor flight formation and teal feathers. This is often found in combination with polyomavirus. Birds that are affected by this are sometimes called “creepers” because they do not have flight feathers and therefore cannot fly.
- Goiter and Iodine Deficiency – This will cause the thyroid gland to enlarge, and cause changes in the voice of your bird.
Treating Your Budgie’s Infections
First and foremost, we want to stress that your veterinarian will have the best treatment plan for your budgie if, heaven forbid, he or she gets sick. In the event that should happen, you might encounter some of the following treatment methods for your feathered friend.
Parasites are part of the budgie illness roster. They can cause serious discomfort, such as the instance of skin parasites, or malnutrition as is found when dealing with intestinal parasites.
They are not usually fatal when they are diagnosed early, again making the case for why it is important to observe your pet daily.
The treatment of external parasitic infections is done by way of specific topical or oral antiparasitic medication. The bird’s environment, such as its cage, food and water bowls, as well as their toys, must be disinfected thoroughly.
Internal parasites are treated with a number of injectable or oral medications. Due to the life cycle of these parasites, several treatments may be required.
Be sure that you take your pet in for annual examinations by your veterinarian, and also conduct fecal tests to see if your bird has any parasites you need to contend with.
Multiple fecal tests are usually ordered because parasites may only shed eggs intermittently-therefore a series of tests can ensure that any parasites are NOT overlooked accidentally.
Treating protozoal infections in budgies is as easy as getting anti-parasitic medications from your vet. Do not ever self-medicate without a vet’s advice first-even if you have found and identified the protozoa yourself.
Be sure that you always give the advised dosage and complete the course of medication.
The life cycle of these protozoa will have been taken into consideration by the prescribing vet and stopping the treatment cycle too soon means that the next generation of protozoa is not killed off.
You will also want to give your birds who appear to be unaffected the medicine also, and of course, test the feces of all your birds when the course of medicine is complete.
Why Is My Budgie Running Back and Forth? Your budgie may pace back and forth on his post or even climb on his cage bars as a means of getting your attention. Budgies also use this practice as a way to alleviate boredom. And perhaps most importantly, your budgie may pace because he is feeling sick. Be sure to pay attention!
Do Budgies Kiss? From the moment a budgie leaves the nest to go sit on his or her perch, they are part of the group. Their behaviors are then focused on bonding and when birds become good friends, they will tap their beaks together. This is known as a “budgie kiss” and they also preen each other’s face and head, too.
Why Do Budgies Scream? Lack of exercise, boredom, illness or injury-and an expression of joy-are all reasons that your budgie may make a scream. If your bird is left alone for too long, they can scream because they’ve got nothing else to do. This also gets a human in the room to pay them some attention.
Budgies bob their heads for a variety of reasons. They do it out of seeking attention, as a means of mating with the opposite gender, and also an indicator that they are sick-so be sure you pay close attention to your pet every day.