Budgies and cockatiels are both from the parrot family and renowned for being friendly, intelligent, and outgoing, while their small size makes them easy to handle and look after. It is no surprise then that they are the two most popular pet birds in the world!
But although they have similarities, they have several differences too, both in appearance and personality. Not surprisingly, many people find it challenging to choose which one of these cuties to select as pets.
Wouldn’t it be fantastic then if we could cross breed these two birds and have the best of both worlds in one package? But is a cockatiel and budgie hybrid even possible?
It is genetically impossible for a budgie and a cockatiel to mate and produce an offspring. Cockatiels are from the genus Nymphicus hollandicus, whereas the budgie is from the genus Melopsittacus undulatus, so they can’t reproduce.
There is also quite a bit more to it than that. Do they even get along? Do any other types of similar hybrids exist? There are all these and so many more questions, that I’m going to look at in this article.
So let’s delve further and discover why a cockatiel and a budgie combination can never happen.
Do Cockatiels And Budgies Get Along?
Flocks of cockatiels and budgies live happily together in the wild, but can you put these two birds in a cage with one another?
In a spacious, non-breeding aviary or neutral play area, these two species can cohabit with little problem. However, if their space is limited, like in a cage, they may get snippy towards each other.
Because there is a considerable difference in size between the cockatiel and the budgie, if one or both were to become aggressive towards one another, the cockatiel could quite easily cause serious injury to the budgie or even death.
If you want these two birds as pets, it is best to keep them in separate cages but allow them to enjoy each other in their play area.
What Is A Hybrid Bird?
A hybrid bird has two different species of bird as its parents, which usually occurs between two closely related species. The resulting outcome can have any number of traits and characteristics from both or either parent. (Source)
Around 10% of the 10,000 recognized bird species have reproduced with another species either in captivity or the wild.
Generally, in bird breeding and hybridization, the father’s genes are often most dominant.
However, hybrid birds usually die young, with those who survive are often sterile or unable to attract a mate.
That said, some successful pairings produce fertile offspring, especially among waterfowl, hummingbirds, birds of paradise and large gulls.
Generally, though, birds prefer to breed with their own kind as they tend to have distinctive courtship calls and colors, with attractive behaviours to members of their species.
Can Parrots Mate With Other Birds?
As cockatiels and budgies are from the parrot family, we want to know if parrots can mate with other birds.
The answer is no and yes.
No, they cannot mate with other birds, but they can breed with other parrot species so long as they have the same genus.
One example of a successful parrot hybrid is the Catalina Macaw, a crossbreed of the scarlet macaw and the blue and gold macaw. A Catalina macaw can breed with another Catalina macaw. (Source)
Hybrid Parrot Controversy
The breeding of hybrid parrots is a controversial one among aviculturists.
Some enthusiasts believe that they should only breed with their own species as there are many endangered parrot species.
Crossbreeding parrots can produce some beautiful birds, but many argue that this is unethical.
Also, if breeders are crossbreeding to encourage certain traits, they could unintentionally reproduce ones that harm the bird’s health.
On the other side of the coin, hybrid parrots can sometimes be healthier.
Can Cockatiels Mate With Budgies?
So, we know that some parrots can breed with other parrots if they have the same genus, but what about cockatiels and budgies?
Even if the two species are housed together and exhibit courtship behavior, they cannot produce offspring.
Cockatiels are from the genus Nymphicus hollandicus, whereas the budgie is from the genus Melopsittacus undulatus, so they can’t reproduce.
What Is A Genus?
If you look up the definition for the word genus, it will tell you that it is a taxonomic classification, which ranks below family and above species.
Genus is a Greek term for “race”, meaning “a class of similar things,” such as a group of birds, animals or plants that consist of closely related species but with definable differences.
A good example here is horses, donkeys, and zebra, who, although they are different species, have similar characteristics and all belong to the same genus, Equus.
What Is A Species?
Species comes from the Latin word “specere”, meaning “appearance.”
Species are a group of living organisms that share common characteristics, capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring.
There are roughly 350 species of parrots in the world today in 80 genera.
Can A Cockatiel Mate With Another Bird?
The cockatiel belongs to the cockatoo family, consisting of 21 species, and is one of the only parrot families to often crossbreed in the wild. So, a cockatiel can mate with a cockatoo.
Nikki Wann also discovered in Brisbane, Australia, that the cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus) could cross breed outside of their own genus with galahs (Eolophus roseicapilla) after an accidental pairing of the two, resulting in the galahtiel. (Source)
Can Budgies Mate With Other Birds?
Budgies are the only birds in their genus Melopsittacus undulatus, so they cannot mate with other birds other than their own kind.
The Cockatiel And The Budgerigar
The cockatiel and the budgerigar are native to Australia and part of the parrot family, with the cockatiel from the cockatoo branch. In the wild, the two species live happily together in their groups.
They are desert-adapted birds and can survive in unfavorable conditions, so their diet is not particularly demanding.
Like many parrots, they live in flocks and lay their eggs in hollow logs and trees.
Both the cockatiel and the budgie became companion birds during the 19th century thanks to the efforts of John Gould, an English ornithologist and bird artist. Gould brought the birds to England, where their popularity quickly spread throughout Europe.
The cockatiel is the larger of the two species, measuring 12 to 14 inches from their head to the end of their tail feathers, whereas the smaller budgie measures only 5 to 6 inches long. English budgies, though, are considerably bigger at 12 inches.
Wild cockatiels are gray with red cheek patches and white wing patches, while the wild budgie is green with a yellow face. However, both species have been selectively bred as domesticated birds and found in various colors, especially the budgie.
When it comes to their lifespan, the cockatiel can live an average age of between 15 to 25 years, while the smaller budgie lives an average of 5 to 15 years.
The cockatiel is a low energy bird who loves a fuss from its owner and is quite happy to sit on its perch and look at its surroundings. In contrast, the independent budgie has lots of energy and prefers flying around and playing.
Cockatiels love to whistle and are louder than budgies, but they only vocalize at certain times, whereas budgies tend to spend more time making noise, constantly chatting throughout the day.
However, these birds are quiet at night, so they won’t upset the neighbors, especially if you live in an apartment.
Both require at least one hour out of their cage to fly around and exercise.
You can teach the two species to do tricks while the males can learn to talk, although the budgie has a broader vocabulary range than the cockatiel.
Both birds, though, make excellent pets!
Cockatiels and budgies make excellent pets, and it is possible to keep them together if they are in a large aviary or kept in different cages.
Although both birds are from the parrot species, they do not share the same genus, so they can’t reproduce. However, the cockatiel can mate with cockatoos as they have the same genus, but the budgie sticks to its own kind as they are the only species in their genus.
Breeding hybrid birds is a controversial subject as many offspring die before adulthood and those that do survive are usually sterile.