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do parakeets forget their owners?

Do Parakeets Recognize Their Owners? (Face, Voice + Smell)

Last Updated on January 28, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

Parakeets (often called budgies or budgerigars) can recognize their owner’s face, voice, and scent sufficiently to distinguish them from others.

Spending time with a parakeet means it’ll remember and recognize you, even after weeks apart. You’ll smell and sound unique, even if you look physically similar to someone else.

Parakeets may grow confused if owners change their hair or clothes drastically.

Parakeets Know Their Owners

Budgies live in flocks of 100+ birds, depending on each other for survival. They utilize decisive communication methods like contact calls and other vocalizations to identify their flock.

Parakeets recognize humans based on the following characteristics:

  • Physical appearance.
  • Voices and sounds.
  • Scents.

This enables parakeets to instantly identify you, build trust, and develop a lasting bond. Since parakeets have good memories, they won’t forget your unique identifiers.

If another person provides care for the parakeet, it may reject their assistance because it realizes this person isn’t you. It may grow defensive of its space, refuse food, and avoid petting.

do parakeets recognize faces?

How Parakeets Recognize Their Owners

The intelligence of parakeets is attributed to the way they evolved. Their ability to recognize their owners fits into how they interact together.

Parakeets live in large flocks. Large numbers offer protection from predators, birds to forage alongside, and socialization. If they confuse their flock-mates, this has negative consequences.

Each flock develops unique contact calls, allowing members to identify each other. It also explains why birds vocalize loudly, screaming and squawking, especially in the morning.

In addition, birds use scent and appearance to tell their mates and hatchlings (chicks) apart, guiding their interactions and increasing their ability to form close bonds.


Parakeets have exceptional vision and can identify people by how they look. As mentioned, a parakeet may struggle to recognize you if you radically change your appearance.

Budgies dislike change because they’re neophobic. Sometimes, an oversized coat or a shirt with vibrant colors is sufficient to cause initial confusion.

For example, if you switch from outfits with muted to loud colors, this will confuse a parakeet.

Appearance is the most crucial factor in parakeet recognition. Avoid approaching parakeets in low lighting, as they sell less well in dark conditions.

If a parakeet doesn’t recognize you due to a change of hairstyle or clothing, it’s usually the distinct sound of your voice that enables it to identify you as a safe, trusted person.


Parakeets are chatty, making various sounds and noises to interact with their flock. Parakeets also learn the different sounds that humans make.

According to Animal Behavior, auditory memory plays a significant role in parakeets finding and interacting with their mates.

Budgerigars produce unique calls and chirps. They also adopt sounds they hear, including household items, and mimic those noises.

Once the mating season arrives, a male parakeet gets a female’s attention by mimicking her unique call. Females choose males who can best imitate them.

Once paired, they call out to each other frequently using this sound.

Parakeets mimic the sounds they hear from favored humans. According to Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, parakeets use voice to identify you, just as they learn the sounds of their mates.


Parakeets have olfactory glands and can smell things reasonably well, but their other senses are more developed. They use their eyes and ears to identify people, objects, and animals.

Parakeets need good vision more than a heightened sense of smell to forage for food. They also have to watch out for predators, so hearing them approach gives them more time to react.

Parakeets won’t recognize you by smell alone, but it’s a factor.

How To Know If A Parakeet Recognizes You

Each parakeet has a unique way of interacting with its owner. Some have enthusiastic responses, while others are more muted and reserved.

You can tell if a parakeet knows who you are by checking if it displays the following behaviors:

  • Chirping and singing.
  • Repeating phrases.
  • Moving closer to you.
  • Bobbing its head.
  • Dancing.
  • Side-stepping.

If it does these things, it recognizes you and is excited about spending time together.

do parakeets remember you?

How To Get A Parakeet to Recognize You

Spending additional time together is the most effective way to get a parakeet to remember you.

Parakeets have excellent memories but only memorize sounds and sights they enjoy. Pet parakeets have a favorite person they don’t want to forget.

Parakeets can recognize their owners after being apart for many weeks. So, they’ll need to appreciate your presence before mimicking you. Do the following:

  • Speak to it softly.
  • Avoid moving quickly or suddenly.
  • Provide food it enjoys.
  • Play together often, choosing games it prefers.
  • Avoid yelling or strict discipline.

You must set boundaries, but it needs to be done appropriately.

Spend Time Together

Parakeets require ample attention due to their advanced intelligence and social requirements.

For example, parakeets are more likely to talk if there’s another same-species bird nearby. It’s a form of bonding that carries over into human interaction. For a parakeet to recognize you:

The more you engage together, the stronger the relationship you’ll develop.

Share Enjoyable Activities

Your voice is the first thing a parakeet will remember, and it’ll also recall whether it was feeling happy and excited when it heard you. Therefore, speaking regularly and including it in daily activities is essential.

Talk to the parakeet while you perform household chores, work, relax, and watch TV. Get the parakeet to associate your voice with positive things, such as:

  • Food treats.
  • Playtime.
  • Out-of-cage activity.
  • Sleep and relaxation.
  • Bathing and splashing in water bowls.

You’ll fulfill some of the parakeet’s social needs by talking to it in an excited, high-energy tone. That way, a budgie will consider you part of its flock, memorizing the unique sounds you make.