Friday, November 17, 2006

Budgerigars and Cockatiels

First brought to Europe from Australia by John Gould, the notable British ornithologist and artist, the Budgerigar has become the world’s favourite cage bird.

They are found wild only in Australia, where flocks running into thousands may be seen, but there are almost certainly now more domestic birds than wild ones.

Wild birds are mainly bright green with black and yellow patterns on head, nape and wing coverts. The tail is a greenish blue and there are touches of a brighter blue on the face. Intensive selective breeding has produced birds of many colours, most common being blues, yellows, greys and whites.

Gould called them Warbling Grass Parakeets but their common English name comes from the Australian Aborigines who dubbed them ‘Betcherrygah’, which is a rendering of their calls.

Apart from the beautiful colours which have been developed, their appeal lies in a vivacious manner and the ability to imitate sounds including the human voice (though not in the same league as the Grey Parrot or Hill Mynah).

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