Article and Photos by Robert Alison, Ph.D.
Australia is currently experiencing its worst drought in 1,000 years, according to the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, a group that advises the Australian government on natural resource management issues for the Basin region. The drought has devastated the local parrot populations, including the budgerigar’s.
Irrefutably the world’s most popular pet parrot, the total budgie aviculture population is estimated at more than 30 million. Budgerigars in aviculture are overwhelmingly secure, but the wild population is on precarious footing.
The budgie (Melopsittacus undulatus) is one of very few Down Under native birds able to survive in the oppressive heat and parching aridity of the Australian Outback, the nucleus of its range. It lives only in interior Australia rather than the lush, coastal areas. The climate is always incessantly hot and dry, especially in the summer. Blistering heat and parching desiccation are constant features of the main budgie breeding range, and periodic droughts make conditions worse.
**For the full article, pick up the April issue of BIRD TALK**
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