How To Tell The Difference Between English VS American Budgies

Written by Peralee Knight
Published: May 10, 2022
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The key difference between English and American budgies is their size

The Budgie, or Budgerigar, is one of over 350 species found in the Parrot family. They are also grouped under the umbrella term Parakeet, which makes up many species of small birds with long tail feathers. There are two species of Budgerigar, but each species can be found in a wide variety of colors and sizes. The key answer to how to tell the difference between English vs American Budgies is the size of the bird. The English budgie is significantly larger than the American Budgie.

However, that is only one difference to look for when comparing these two little birds. Budgies are the Australian native that has won the hearts of pet owners around the world. And many bird lovers will agree that there is a lot more than a size difference between English and American Budgies!

English VS American Budgies: Key Physical Differences

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English Budgies are bigger than American Budgies, and have clearer feather markings.

©Werner Baumgarten/

Both the American and English Budgerigar are the domesticated cousins of the wild Budgie native to Australia. In the wild, these nomadic birds are smaller than domestic budgies. Wild Budgies are highly social, and their natural fascination with humans made them extremely easy to domesticate!

Wild Budgies can be identified by the vibrant green or yellow markings on their chest. They also have black feather markings on their back. Males have blue coloring around the beak, while females have pink or purple color markings. However, domesticated budgies come in many colors and varieties, and American and English Budgies are physically hugely different birds!

Physical Characteristics Of English Budgies

The most apparent difference between the English Budgie and the Americans is that the English are much larger. English Budgies are 10–12 inches high and weigh 0.7-2.1 ounces on average. English Budgies also have more defined color markings on their plumage.

The English Budgie is also referred to as the Show Budgie or Exhibition Budgie and has been selectively bred for years. There are over one hundred different acceptable color variations and patterns for show quality birds. However, this selective breeding has resulted in a slightly shorter lifespan. English Budgies live between 7-9 years on average.

Physical Characteristics Of American Budgies

The American Budgie is also called the Australian Budgie because genetically, they are much closer to their wild cousins. The American Budgie is smaller than the English and is between 7-9 inches tall, and weighs 0.88-1.4 ounces on average. Additionally, they can be identified by the plumage, which is just as vibrant but with less defined markings. American Budgies also have a wider variety of color variations.

These budgies have not undergone as much selective breeding and therefore can vary widely in coloring and appearance. However, the American budgie lives a bit longer than the English, around 8-10 years on average.

English Vs American Budgies: Personality And Behavior

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English Budgies are calmer and quieter, while American Budgies are more high-strung and much louder and more vocal!

© Lebed

While they may look alike, English and American budgies have very different personalities! Other than the size of the bird, the easiest way to tell the English Budgie from the American is personality. Both the English and Americans are friendly and curious birds. Also, both varieties can mimic human speech quite well. However, when it comes to behavior, most owners agree that the similarities end there!

Personality And Behavior Of English Budgies

In addition to appearance, the English Budgie has been selectively bred in terms of temperament and behavior. As such, the English are markedly calmer and more easygoing than the Americans. English Budgies are also much quieter, as they were bred as show birds. While known to chirrup, whistle, or mimic speech, they tend to do so at a much lower volume.

English Budgies find handling acceptable, though as with many pet birds it takes a bit of patience. This budgie is also known to be more accepting of people they do not know and will often hop onto the finger of a new person without much fuss!

Personality And Behavior Of American Budgies

The American Budgie shows off its closer connection to its wild cousins when it comes to behavior. American varieties are way more high-strung and much less easygoing than the English variety. They are also far more vocal and much louder than the calmer English Budgie. The American Budgie will make its feelings truly clear!

American Budgies do not take to handling as easily and are more prone to nipping or biting if not handled often. The sooner you begin hand and finger training the better and is recommended as soon as 10 weeks old.

How To Decide Which Budgie Is Right For You!

Three cute colorful Budgerigars birds sitting on a branch

English Budgies are easier to train and more affectionate, while American Budgies need a patient owner that can bring out the best in this energetic bird!

©Dorota Photography/

Choosing any pet is a process that takes time and consideration, and birds tend to require more thought than most. It takes thought and care to select the right Budgie for you. While English and American Budgies may appear to be similar, their differences become apparent quickly. Deciding which Budgie is right for your home and lifestyle is the key to finding the right feathered friend!

The English Budgie is recommended for owners that want a calm, quiet, and easygoing bird. This budgie is best for people who want a loving bird that accepts handling and training well. English Budgies are more suitable for families with children where many people are coming and going, as they are naturally friendlier.

The American Budgie requires a patient owner that has time to dedicate to training and does not mind a lot of noise. This budgie is wonderful for the right owner but is not the best choice for children, as they are highly prone to nip and bite. American Budgies need a lot of time and socialization to integrate well with multiple people and are not fond of strangers. But with time and dedication, the American Budgie can be a friendly pet!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Dorota Photography/

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