Trying to decide whether to buy a lovebird or a budgie? Well wonder no more!
In this article we’re going to discuss the pros and cons of each pet bird, so you can make an informed decision about the best pet for you.
While cage birds are still less popular pets than cats or dogs, for those in the know there really is no substitute.
While budgies and lovebirds can make attractive pets to admire from a distance they really come into their own when it comes to human-pet interactions. Both species are long-lived and easily-tamed, meaning that you can expect a long relationship with your pet. There can be few more enjoyable experiences than building a true bond with your pet bird; but should you invest your time into a budgie or a lovebird?
Lovebirds are capable of melting even the hardest hearts. These tubby-looking birds, with their short tails, are often seen snuggling up together on the perch, hence their common name. While lovebirds are available in a number of colour combinations the most common example is the peach-faced lovebird. This green lovebird, with a red or orange face may also be found in a yellow colour form on occasion (known as “lutino”).
In contrast to the lovebird, budgies generally appear rather more slight, with a noticeably longer tail. They’re also available in a far wider range of different colours, from blues and greens to yellows and whites.
Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, so in terms of appearance there can be no winner. That said, the larger range of different colours and patterns might make buying a budgerigar a rather more exciting prospect, especially if children are involved in the selection process.
In contrast to a hamster or gerbil, which rarely make noise, cage birds can be surprisingly vocal. Whether they’re excited or scared, budgies and lovebirds are not pets for silent homes. But how do the noise levels compare?
Budgies have two core sounds which they produce. The first is a gentle rolling “babble” which they make while communicating with you or one another. It is a soothing and pleasant chirp. That said, budgies are capable of producing a harsher call when scared or surprised.
Lovebirds most commonly make just one sound – a raucous and ear-piercing screech which can be quite deafening, especially in a small room. This noise is also far more likely to elicit complaints from neighbours or other members of the family.
While it should be appreciated that most pet birds will vocalize from time-to-time, generally budgerigars offer lower levels of noise overall so win here.
Aggression in Budgies and Lovebirds
Ironically, bearing in mind the lovebirds behaviour towards its friends, Lovebirds can be surprisingly aggressive towards other creatures. For example, aviary-owners soon learn not to keep lovebirds with smaller, or more docile, species such as budgies or finches. These aviary-mates are often hampered from dawn to dusk, leading to stress, lost feathers or a decline in health.
Budgies, on the other hand, tend to positively thrive on relationships with other bird species. They can be kept safely with a range of finches, or even with some larger birds like cockatiels.
For the pet owner, seeking just one or two birds in a cage this need not be a factor of concern. But if you have other birds in the house – or are considering a mixed aviary – it is likely that budgies will fit into the scheme far more satisfactorily.
Many bird owners need to man-handle their pet on occasion. Perhaps this is to clip their wings, apply ointment or to sort out overgrown claws. Either way, sooner or later you’ll encounter the uncomfortable situation of having to grasp your beloved, trusting pet in your hand as they scream, claw and bite at you to get away, thoroughly angry about the indignity that has befallen them.
Here it’s worth considering the size of the beak – and the strength of their “bite”.
Speaking as someone who has held both species on multiple occasions, it is fair to mention that the lovebirds – with their larger and more impressive beaks – can give a truly painful bite and easily draw blood. While a nip from a budgie isn’t what one might call comfortable, it is far less painful than a lovebird bite.
In terms of care and maintenance, therefore, most owners will find budgies far easier to cope with in this respect.
Experts disagree over the exact lifespans of these birds, as so many factors can come into play. Broadly speaking budgies can be expected to live for 5-10 years (with 7-8 being typical) while lovebirds may reach the ripe old age of 15.
Quite whether this is a good thing is personal preference. On the one hand, a longer-lived bird means more responsibility and commitment. On the other, once you’ve fallen in love with your pet and built a strong bond with them, you shouldn’t be in any hurry to see their demise.
If the pet bird is intended for children it may be that the shorter-lived budgie would be a better option, as Mum and Dad won’t have to care for it for too long after little Suzie gets bored and moves on to the next “toy”.
Lovebirds vs. Budgies – Conclusions
It would be wrong to say that either lovebirds or budgies were better than one another. Both can made wonderful and loving pets, given the right household, and there are strong opponents on both sides of the argument.
Broadly speaking it would seem that budgies have a slight upper hand. However, it is only by speaking to your local pet shop and getting to know both species individually will you truly know which is likely to be the best pet for you.
Whatever your decision we wish you every happiness with your new friend!