Budgies are social animals that can choose mates and collaborate to raise their young. While raising kids, budgies help their mates with duties like nurturing the hatchlings and defending the nest from predators.
Do budgies mate for life? No, budgies do not mate for life. They mate to breed and work together to take care of the chicks. Once the chicks are ready to leave the nest, the female leaves to find a new home and mate. However, budgies can mate for life if they are in captivity since they can’t migrate.
Read on to learn how budgies choose mates, how long they remain as a couple, and how they mourn dead partners.
Do Budgies Mate For Life?
Budgies do not mate for life unless they are in captivity. A couple of budgies often stay together until their chicks have matured enough to leave the nest. During this period, male budgies forage for food, defend the nest and help take care of the young chicks.
Since chicks are typically ready to leave the nest after three weeks, the bond between two budgies rarely extends beyond this period. The partners can choose to stay and mate again or look for new mates. The female often chooses to leave and find a new partner in another territory.
The constant migration by females is advantageous since it prevents inbreeding. By migrating away from her previous settlement, a female budgie is less likely to mate with a member of her bloodline.
Your budgies at home live in cages, so their mating patterns differ. Since they cannot migrate, the females stay with the males longer and form deeper bonds. Two of your budgies in the same cage will mate for life with no regard for in-breeding. Hence, you should shift the birds to avoid inbreeding.
How Do Budgies Select Mates?
Though several factors determine the choice of a mate, female budgies display a unique trait. They prefer intelligent mates instead of looking for strong, big, or good-looking mates.
Studies show that even if two budgies share a cage and have a strong bond, a female can switch her attention to another more intelligent mate. For instance, if a budgie shows superior mental abilities by solving a puzzle that stumped its rival, the female will switch attention.
You can select mates for your budgies living in captivity or allow them to select independently. If you select a mate for your budgies, choose one of similar size and temperament. Alternatively, you can create a large cage with several perches, put several budgies in it, and let them choose mates naturally. Remember to provide several nests and lots of food.
How Do Budgies Show Love To Their Mates?
Budgies do not love each other the same way humans do, but the bond between two budgies can become so strong that it appears as care. The following signs indicate that a budgie is attempting to show love;
|Preening the female’s feathers.
|Preening the male’s feathers.
|Touching beaks with the female in a manner that looks like kissing.
|The budgie raises her tail and wings.
|Feeding some of its food to the female to look like a provider.
|Its pupils may dilate.
|Performing a mating dance.
|Puffing up its size in a bid to look bigger and more impressive.
Budgies that share a bond will share perches, lean close and groom each other, and play together.
Can A Budgie Recognize Its Mate?
Male and female budgie calls sound different so a budgie can recognize another budgie’s call. However, since female budgies love calls that sound like theirs, males often mimic female calls during courtship. This mimicry impresses the female budgie, but once they mate, the male reverts to its original call.
While raising chicks, the mated budgies maintain contact to keep their bond strong. They also memorize their mate’s call and can recognize each other even after 70 days apart.
Do Budgies Practise Monogamy?
If a female has a mate with whom she’s raising chicks, she’ll react aggressively when another male tries to mate with her. This behavior shows that budgies practice social monogamy, where they remain strongly bonded when raising chicks.
Social monogamy is different from sexual monogamy because sometimes budgies will breed with other partners. However, this extra breeding often occurs in special circumstances, such as when budgies live in a dangerous area with many predators.
When a male mates with more than one female, he must take care of them. His attention is divided between the females, so he has to search for more food and defend multiple nests from predators. Hence, breeding with more than one female is disadvantageous to the females because they are often left unprotected and without enough food in the nest.
In some cases, a female will breed with a second male. However, this depends on whether she has time to spare from her maternal duties, so it rarely happens. Instead, the female focuses on nurturing the chicks and migrates to find a new mate as soon as they mature.
For your budgies that live in a cage, monogamy is the default. Since the two budgies in a cage, they spend a lot of time together and form a strong connection. Budgies in captivity generally mate for life because they have few options.
Do Budgies Mourn Their Dead Mates?
Budgies practice social monogamy, which allows sex with other budgies though raising the chicks is left for the two bonded partners. Because their bond is strong, a budgie will notice when its partner dies and mourn them. If you notice the following behavior, your budgie is most likely mourning;
- Checking the cage for its partner
- Reduced appetite or refusing to eat
- Plucking its feathers
- It’ll stop singing and chirping
- Refusing to play and being lethargic
- Bobbing its head repeatedly
- Calling the dead mate
The bonds between budgies are very strong, even when it’s just friendship. Hence, staying alone will be extremely painful if the bird notices its mate is gone. During the mourning period, your budgie needs extra care and attention. You can help by playing with the bird regularly and talking or singing to it softly.
Often, if the two budgies live together in the same cage, they can mate for life. This monogamy creates an even stronger bond between them, so the budgie will mourn the loss of its partner longer.
Here are some answers to common questions about how budgies mate.
Can budgies that mate for life cheat?
Wild male budgies use every opportunity they can to breed with other females. Female budgies know about this behavior, so they try to find mates who won’t wander. Since cheating by breeding with other females hurts the bond between two partners, a male budgie usually tries to be secretive.
Can I replace my budgie’s lost partner?
Yes, you can introduce a new partner to your budgie. However, you should only bring the new friend after your budgie has finished grieving its lost mate. When bringing a new budgie, introduce it carefully to avoid fights among the birds.
Budgies don’t mate for life unless they’re domesticated and living in cages. However, when two budgies mate, they maintain the bond for as long as the chicks need nurturing and parental care. Budgies raising chicks can recognize their partner’s call for as long as 70 days. When the chicks are mature enough, the female migrates to find a different mate.
Since your pet budgies can’t migrate, you should find them unrelated mates to avoid inbreeding. Also, since your budgies will typically mate for life and mourn dead partners, provide attention and care when one of the partners dies.