Home » Difference Between English Budgies And American Budgies
english budgie vs american budgie

Difference Between English Budgies And American Budgies

(Last Updated On: March 2, 2023)

While all budgies have an Australian ancestry, there are two different varieties. These are English budgies and American budgies, more commonly known as parakeets.

English budgies are larger than American budgies, usually by up to 3 inches. They have a much bigger head, more prominent markings on the cheeks and throat, and are usually more docile than American budgies, welcoming human handling from a young age.

This calm demeanor is because English budgies have been trained as show birds for almost 200 years. English budgies are quieter and less skittish, arguably making better pet birds for families.

You’ll find American parakeets if you’re looking for a budgie in a pet store. English budgies are usually only available through specialist breeders, reflected in their higher price tag. 

English and American budgies can live together and even breed, but personality differences exist. American budgies, especially females, can be territorial and may attack a passive English budgie.

Differences Between English vs. American Budgies

While English budgies and American parakeets are both Melopsittacus undulatus, these birds differ in various ways. This table summarizes the difference between English and American budgies:

 English BudgieAmerican Budgie
Size10 – 12 inches.7 – 9 inches.
WeightMaximum of 65 grams (2.2 oz).Maximum of 40 grams (1.4 oz).
LifespanUp to 7 years.Up to 12 years.
CostUp to $100 from a breeder.$15 – 20 in most pet stores.
PersonalityDocile, quiet, and like handling.Skittish, loud, and temperamental until tamed.

You may wonder how two birds with the same genetics can have such fundamental differences.


The terms “English budgie” and “American budgie” are a misnomer, as all budgies originally hail from Australia. The word “budgerigar” is a loose translation of the Aborigine term for “good food,” as budgies often led natives to food and water supplies.

Native budgies were imported from Australia to England in 1840. Queen Victoria was gifted a pair of budgies as pets, and their popularity exploded. Budgies were bred for display, and English budgies remain a fixture of bird shows and pageants in Britain.

Australia banned the export of budgies in 1894 due to concerns over dwindling population levels, so these birds didn’t make their way to America until much later. The first budgies in the U.S. arrived in the 1920s but became popular pets from the 1950s onward.

As budgies are usually companion animals in the U.S., the American parakeets you’ll find in a pet store are closer in size, spirit, and behavior to the wild budgies that remain commonplace in Australia today.


English budgies have a shorter average lifespan than American parakeets.

While American budgies that are well cared for can live for more than a decade, English budgies are unlikely to survive much longer than 7 years.

The reason is that English budgies are frequently inbred to maintain character traits and appearances. Siblings are frequently mated, or parents are encouraged to breed with offspring.

This inbreeding can cause various difficulties and complexities, notably a shorter lifespan.

While an English budgie with obvious deformities is unlikely to be sold to the public, these birds still pay the price for breeder practices in the form of a shorter life.

english vs american budgies


The fundamental difference between English and American budgies comes down to appearance. Once you know what you are looking for, you can easily identify the difference:

  • English budgies are larger than American budgies. Expect an English budgie to be at least 3 inches larger and almost 1 ounce heavier. As with American budgies, females are bigger than males.
  • The feathers of an English budgie will be longer and fluffier than an American parakeet.
  • English budgies have a much larger head than American budgies.
  • The feathers of an English budgie frequently grow over their eyes.
  • Check the throat spots and cheek patches of a budgie. You’re likely looking at an English budgie if these are large and prominent.

English budgies are bred for showcasing, so they have a wider range of color variances and mutations. Most pet stores stock American budgies with traditional yellow and green or blue and white feathers.


Both English and American budgies need daily exercise and should spend a minimum of 3 hours per day outside the cage. How these birds choose to spend this recreation time differs.

The smaller American budgie is considerably more aerodynamic and will welcome any opportunity to stretch its wings and fly around the home. Close all windows so the parakeet can’t escape, as captive budgies won’t survive long in the wild.

Due to their increased mass, English budgies are less likely to fly. This exercise time is likelier to involve exploring its surroundings on foot, only taking to the air occasionally and when necessary.

An English budgie is likelier to sit at the base of a cage rather than perching for several hours. Line the bottom of a cage and provide swings to reduce the risk of the bird developing bumblefoot.


Other than aesthetics, personality is the biggest difference between English and American budgies. While every bird has a unique personality, as a rule, they have different temperaments.

English budgies are famed for being loving, docile, and quiet. An English budgie will welcome human interaction and will need little encouragement to be handled. These birds are rarely aggressive and are frequently usually quieter.

American budgies are much wilder and more energetic. They can be naturally skittish and nervous, manifesting in minor aggression, such as pecking and biting.

American budgies are happier living in pairs. English budgies can also be housed together but will tolerate solitude better, although both birds are intelligent and require in-cage stimulation.


English budgies have long been bred for showing and presentation, so they’re much likelier to accept training. Most English budgies will take to stick training immediately, requiring less training.

English budgies can be trained to talk, especially if you adopt one from a young age.

American and English budgies are skilled mimics, but the Guinness World Record for a bird that knew the most words is held by an English budgie named Puck, who had a vocabulary of 1,728 words.

American budgies require more effort to train, as they haven’t been bred for display, so they retain more wild instincts. You’ll need to do slightly more to teach an American parakeet to welcome handling.


Most pet stores will sell American budgies for less than $20. English budgies are usually only available through specialist breeders, often costing up to $100.

Rare mutations of budgies are more expensive, so if you’re seeking a bird with unique markings or a distinctive color of plumage, this will cost you several hundred dollars.

If you buy an English budgie, ensure the breeder is reputable. Ask questions about the bird’s parentage to check if it’s inbred, and assess the demeanor of the budgie to be sure it’s healthy.

English budgie vs American parakeet

Can English and American Budgies Live Together?

English budgies and American parakeets can share a cage in a home.

Ensure the cage is large enough for each budgie to have sufficient space and territory. Although smaller, an American parakeet is likelier to become territorial in cramped conditions.

An English budgie may learn some unwelcome habits from its cagemate. The birds will communicate, and the English budgie may start matching the volume of the American parakeet.

English budgies rarely bite or peck, but a skittish American parakeet can be prone to these behaviors. If an English budgie sees an American budgie show aggressive behavior, it may mimic them.

Remember that American budgies can live up to twice as long as their English budgie counterparts.

If the two birds bond, the American parakeet may be left to deal with feelings of grief following losing a bonded partner.

Can English and American Budgies Breed?

If you keep mixed-sex English and American budgies in the same cage, they may breed if they form a strong bond. This is likeliest to happen at the onset of spring, and mating season for budgerigars can last until the end of October.

In some respects, breeding English budgies with American budgies is preferable to pairing them with mates of the same origin. It’s extremely unlikely that English and American budgies will share a bloodline, so the risks associated with inbreeding are minimal.

Budgies prefer to breed during or immediately following periods of intense rainfall, making it likelier that grass seeds – the favored food source of wild budgies – will be abundant.

Provide a nesting box where the female budgie can lay her eggs, increasing confidence in the female and encouraging her to mate with a male. If the male budgie starts to bob its head, display fluffed feathers, and pin its eyes, it’s initiating courtship.

If you don’t want the budgies to mate, avoid keeping males and females in the same cage.

Although spring and summer are traditional mating seasons for budgies, they can breed anytime in captivity. Two males or two females are the safest pairings.

English Budgie vs. American Parakeet – Which is the Best Pet?

Choosing between an English budgie and an American parakeet is a matter of deciding what you’re looking for in a pet. The differences make a selection process necessary.

Opt for an American budgie if the following is important to you:

  • Your budget is limited.
  • You want a bird with a longer lifespan.
  • You’re willing to tolerate noise and agitation in exchange for a strong personality.

Alternatively, choose an English budgie if these criteria apply:

  • You want a quiet, docile pet that’s easy to train.
  • Many people will enter the home and wish to interact with the bird.
  • You have young children.

Regardless of your decision, provide the budgie with nutritious food, company, and enrichment. A good quality of life will ensure that the budgie is happy and has a good quality of life.