The term parakeet is used to refer to a number of species of small parrots, the most common of which is the Australian budgie. Parakeets make good starter pets for families because they are relatively inexpensive to purchase and care for, and they can be quite friendly in the right environment. Common parakeet behavior includes mimicking sounds, beak grinding, puffing up or shaking out their feathers, chewing, and regurgitating food.
Like most members of the parrot family, parakeets are excellent mimickers. They listen closely to every sound around them and, over a relatively short period, they learn to duplicate it. They frequently mimic everything from the phone ringing to the microwave beeping. Parakeets can be taught to speak, but teaching them takes a significant amount of time and patience. Although parakeets are not technically in the songbird family, singing is very common parakeet behavior as well.
Another characteristic of parakeet behavior is beak grinding. The birds typically do this as they are settling in for a nap. Bird behavior specialists are not sure exactly why parakeets and other birds do this, but most believe that it is simply a sign of happiness. It may also be a way for the parakeets to keep their beaks nice and sharp so they can break open seeds more easily. Parakeets also wipe their beaks across their perches, sides of the cage, or any other hard object to remove food debris.
Parakeets often puff up and shake their feathers throughout the day. There are many reasons for this type of parakeet behavior. Typically, they engage in these activities while preening their feathers to keep them clean and draw out the natural oils. Parakeets may also puff up to make themselves appear larger when faced with a potential threat. If another parakeet of the opposite sex is nearby, they could be showing off to a potential mate.
Chewing is a major characteristic of parakeet behavior, and is common in most members of the parrot family. They mainly chew to keep their beaks in prime condition as well as to entertain themselves. Parakeet owners should provide their birds with numerous different objects to chew on. Parakeets enjoy foraging, and a small cardboard box filled with seeds, treats, and shredded paper is a good way to encourage both chewing and foraging.
Regurgitating food is common in many breeds of birds, including parakeets. Although it appears as though they are vomiting, this characteristic of parakeet behavior is not a sign that the bird is ill. Parakeet parents feed their young by chewing up the food, swallowing it to get some digestive juices on it, then bringing it back up and spitting it into the mouths of their young. They also feed each other as a sign of affection, and will often regurgitate their food as an offering for their beloved owners.