Your E-mail:
Will your bird get a holiday gift this year?

Printer Friendly

Why Budgies Talk

UCI researcher, Marin L. Moravec, explains why budgies say the things they do.

By Rose Gordon
Posted: March 7, 2007, 2 a.m. PST

Courtesy Rose Gordon
Marin L. Moravec, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Irvine 

Marin L. Moravec, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), went from studying worms at the University of Oregon to the fun — but challenging — world of birds in Professor Nancy Burley’s Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Laboratory.

Intrigued by a colleague’s finding that female budgies are more interested in mating with males that sound similar to them than males that sound different, Moravec decided to delve further into the private babblings of budgerigars and learn more about their courtship behavior. Six years later, she’s still talking bird. BIRD TALK recently visited her at the UCI aviary.

Q: In the department of biology there are a million things to study. Why did you choose birds?

A:Birds are incredibly fun to watch, particularly the budgies with which I work.

I think that people in general are drawn to birds for one reason — because they communicate mostly visually and vocally just like we do. Since we communicate the same way, we’re already hard-wired to accept and appreciate those patterns.

They’re very smart, too, which can be a little bit annoying when you’re trying to study them because they sometimes get out of their cages or just decide they don’t want to behave for you on a particular day, which is fun but also a challenge.

Q: Why would one budgie have a call similar to another budgie’s call?

A: That’s actually what I’m still exploring. I did find in my study, when I was checking neighbors versus strangers, that the ones that grew up being able to hear the other ones, did sound more similar to each other than they did the strangers, which they grew up never hearing.

Q: Why do budgies mimic each other?

A: That’s a good question. It could be any number of things. One reason might be because their social environment changes fairly often. They fly around in these huge flocks, but then when it comes time to breed, they split up into smaller flocks. So it may be one way to find your breeding flock. It may have something to do with the fact that they interact with so many birds in a large flock and it’s just a way to keep track of who you already know. We’re not really sure.

 Give us your opinion on
Why Budgies Talk

Submit a Comment or
Join Club
Earn 1,000 points! What's this?
Reader Comments
This is a interesting article
Dan, Sandy Valley, NV
Posted: 8/28/2009 11:32:19 AM
This article had some good information.
Jamie, Almont, MI
Posted: 4/7/2008 7:06:02 AM
jason, harlingen, TX
Posted: 2/18/2008 4:36:23 PM
Ooo thanks. this may explain why i do not have little parakeets even though i have many of them adults in my aviary!
neo, garden grove, CA
Posted: 9/12/2007 12:30:13 AM
View Current Comments
Top Products
BirdChannel Home | Bird Breeders | Bird Species | Related Links | BirdChannel Editors and Contributors
                       | Birds USA |  
Disclaimer: The posts and threads recorded in our message boards do not reflect the opinions of nor are endorsed by I-5 Publishing, LLC nor any of its employees. We are not responsible for the content of these posts and threads.
Copyright ©  I-5 Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.
Our Privacy Policy has changed. Your California Privacy Right/Privacy Policy
Advertise With Us  |  SiteMap  |  Contact Us  |  Terms of Use  |  Community Guidelines | Bird eClub Terms
BirdChannel Newsletter Signup | Link to Us | About Us | More Great I-5 Sites
Gold Standard

*Content generated by our loyal visitors, which includes comments and club postings, is free of constraints from our editors’ red pens, and therefore not governed by I-5 Publishing, LLC’s Gold Standard Quality Content, but instead allowed to follow the free form expression necessary for quick, inspired and spontaneous communication.

Become a fan of BirdChannel on Facebook Follow BirdChannel on Twitter
Get social and connect with BirdChannel.

Hi my name's Harley

Visit the Photo Gallery to
cast your vote!
Information on over 200 critter species