Calls & Sounds

Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus)

Female Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) at nest hollow
Mutawintji National Park, NSW

The Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) is a small, colourful parrot species native to Australia. Budgerigars are one of the most popular pet / companion parrot species in the world and are affectionately know as the ‘budgie’ or ‘parakeet’. It is thought the name ‘budgerigar’ is derived from the indigenous Gamilaraay language word ‘Betcherrygah’ which apparently means ‘good food’. Whether this indicates the budgerigar was an indicator species for food abundance or, the bird itself is good snack is not known!

Budgerigars are a nomadic species and are most common in the arid regions of Australia. They prefer open woodlands, arid shrubland and grasslands and are usually found in small flocks. Huge swarming flocks of thousands of birds can gather after periods of rain, moving in spectacular murmurations as they move through the landscape.

What does a budgerigar sound like? Budgies are a vocal species, often chattering and chirruping away as they move about in small flocks. The most common calls made by wild budgerigars are a liquid warbling chirrup and a short buzzy harsh rattling sound. As flocks move about, the sounds of wing beats whoosh as they fly past. In larger flocks these wingbeats combine into a loud roar as the bird wheel and turn.

Listen to Budgie Sounds

The video below features an 80 minute outback soundscape with flocks of Budgerigars. I recorded this audio in 2020 in far western New South Wales after a few weeks of good rain which had triggered the budgies to breed in large numbers. The budgerigars would often be seen in noisy flocks of over 500 birds and were nesting in tree hollows along creeklines. Other species heard in this recording include Red-backed Kingfisher, Diamond Dove, Crimson Chat, Chestnut-crowned Babbler, Bourke’s Parrot, Rufous Songlark, Singing Honeyeater, Willie Wagtail, Masked Woodswallow and Zebra Finch.


Budgerigar – Typical chirruping calls

XC597623 This sample features the typical chirruping calls of the Budgerigar. Recorded in Paroo Darling National Park, New South Wales.


Budgerigar – Typical harsh chatter

XC634964 These are the commonly-heard chattering calls. Recorded in Sturt National Park, New South Wales.

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