The wild budgie is similar to the birds we see today in pet shops, though smaller between 6 and 7 inches long , and only found in the nominate color, green. Europeans became charmed with the birds, which bred readily, making them a staple pet in wealthy homes. The Budgie was displayed at the Antwerp Zoo in Belgium around , and began to gain in popularity, not only with the wealthy.
Australia banned exportation of Budgies in , and the Europeans had to breed their existing stock in order to continue the hobby. The budgie is native to Australia, where it still dominates the grasslands in large, undulating flocks. The wild budgie is similar to the birds we see today in pet shops, though smaller, and only found in the nominate color, green.
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They breed in the rainy season when water and food are plentiful, and nest in hollowed out trees or tree limbs. They can be pesky to farmers, and are especially dangerous to grain crops. Budgies can live between 7 to 15 years, though the average is far less than seven due to mistreatment, accidents, or lack of knowledge about appropriate bird care.
Budgies are also prone to obesity, fatty tumors and liver, foot disorders, scaly face, and intestinal parasites, all of which require veterinary care. Budgies and humans are vocal learners. Vocal learners are species that require exposure to vocalizing conspecifics in order to learn their vocalizations. Among primates, vocal learning is found only in humans, and is not a very common trait in the animal kingdom.
Both budgies and humans are also vocal mimics, a subgroup of vocal learners.
- budgerigar parrot walking on the flat. budgie -
Vocal mimics can also mimic heterospecific and environmental sounds in addition to learning from conspecifics. As a result, their vocal production is based heavily in their auditory perception. Recently, it has also been shown that budgies, like Snowball the cockatoo , can synchronize with a beat. Synchronizing with a beat requires an animal to process auditory input and coordinate their bodily movements so that they match that input and, like vocal learning, is also not very widespread in the animal kingdom.
Budgies also have excellent pitch perception , where they can accurately identify frequencies to a much finer degree than at least most humans rare people with absolute pitch performed similarly on pitch discrimination tasks. They also can identify different vowel sounds in human speech, and are experts in general at detecting spectral changes.
As such, budgies are a species that we would expect to perform at least as well as humans on any perceptual acoustic task. We have initiated several studies directly comparing these two species.
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