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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Colorful Budgerigar

The Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus, nicknamed budgie), the only species in the Australian genus Melopsittacus, is a small parrot belonging to the tribe of the broad-tailed parrots (Platycercini); these are sometimes considered a subfamily (Platycercinae). In the latter case, the Budgerigar is sometimes isolated in a tribe of its own, the Melopsittacini, although it is probably quite closely related to Pezoporus and Neophema. Though Budgerigars are often called Parakeets, especially in American English, this term refers to any of a number of small Parrots with long flat tails. The Budgerigar is found throughout the drier parts of Australia and has survived in the inlands of that continent for over 5 million years.

Budgerigars are nomadic birds found in open habitats, primarily in Australian scrubland, open woodland and grassland. The birds are normally found in small flocks, but can form very large flocks under favourable conditions. The species is extremely nomadic and the movement of the flocks is tied to the availability of food and water. Drought can drive flocks into more wooded habitat or coastal areas. They feed on the seeds of spinifex, grass weeds, and sometimes ripening wheat.

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