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Budgie vs lovebird | Which is right for me?

If you’re looking to add a new parrot to your family, you may have gotten stuck between budgie vs lovebird while searching for a species that suits you. Not surprising: the two species are in the top 5 most popular pet parrots and both can make delightful pets. But which one is better for you?

Let’s go into the differences and similarities between budgie vs lovebird so you can make an informed decision!

Budgie vs lovebird: Differences

The species

  • Taxonomy: Budgies are also known as budgerigars or common parakeets. They’re the only species in the genus Melopsittacus, with their scientific name being Melopsittacus undulatus.

    ‘Lovebird’ is a common name used to refer to the entire genus Agapornis, which contains 9 different species. Among the most popular are Agapornis roseicollis (the rosy-faced lovebird) and Agapornis personatus (the yellow-collared lovebird).
  • Habitat: These two species come from entirely different sides of the world, although the type of habitat they naturally inhabit is actually pretty similar.

    Budgies are Australian natives, mostly found in arid inland habitats. Lovebirds are from the continent of Africa, where they mainly occur in savannahland.
  • Size: Although both budgies and lovebirds fall into the ‘small parrot’ category, budgies are the tinier of the two. They can be longer, as their tail can be almost as long as their body, but they usually weigh less than a lovebird.
Blue budgie (top) and white lovebird (bottom) | Budgie vs lovebird: which is the parrot for you?

Personality & activity level

Although budgies and lovebirds aren’t that dissimilar when it comes to looks, their personalities are definitely different. Having kept both species as pets, I can say budgies are the more active of the two. Unless they’re asleep, these parakeets just don’t have an off button, spending all day chattering, exploring, playing and preening themselves and each other. They sometimes just seem to live on a different, faster plane of existence than us humans!

When it comes to interaction with humans, unless they’re hand-raised, budgies can be on the more distant side. They’ll learn to feel comfortable around you, eat from your hand, hang out on your head and even perform tricks. They’re usually just not very much into neck scratches or other physical contact, although there are always exceptions.

Lovebirds are also active, but not quite as bouncy as budgies. They’re also a lot feistier and can be bitey, although this is something that you can improve through training. Tame lovebirds tend to be stuck to their owners more than budgies, and many are absolute suckers for head scratches.

Noise levels

Although no parrot is quiet, both of these species are on the lower end of the spectrum in terms of noise levels. I’d say budgies produce a lower total decibel level throughout the day, owing to the fact that their chatter is constant (especially if you have males) but usually not overly loud. They can flock call pretty harshly, but it’s usually bearable.

Lovebird noise is a bit less constant but extremely shrill. I’ve seen someone describe it as a “fire alarm on stimulants” and I’m afraid I have to agree with that one!

Infographic showing the differences between budgies (Melopsittacus undulatus) and lovebirds (genus Agapornis), two popular small pet parrot species | Budgie vs lovebird

Budgie vs lovebird: Similarities

  • Colors: If you love a colorful bird then both species should work well for you. A wild-type budgie is naturally green and yellow with black markings, although a dazzling range of selectively bred color mutations now exists.

    Wild-type lovebirds are usually green with reddish-orange and possibly yellow. However, this genus has also been extensively selectively bred to produce more colors than I’m able to list here!
  • Diet: Both budgies and lovebirds are naturally granivores, living off mostly grass seeds. In the home, you can feed both species a mix of high-quality pellets and a varied small parrot seed mix, supplemented with plenty of fresh veggies, sprouts and other natural foods.
  • Lifespan: Both budgies and lovebirds should be able to make it to at least 10 years with good care. 15-20 years is also not unheard of and a lucky few live even longer than that. This means that buying one is a decades-long commitment.

Who is a budgie better for?

If you’re a family with children looking for a small feathered companion, look no further. Trust me on this one! Budgies are popular but somehow underrated. They can actually make fantastic pets for kids (with some supervision).

I’ve spoken to many people who grew up with a budgerigar and have extremely fond memories of the bird; they’re just extremely friendly, not territorial or naturally bitey at all. I’ve been bitten by untame budgies while having to administer medication and sure, it’s a good sting, but they really only go for it when they’re very scared.

Budgies bring life to the home with their warbling, chatter, dancing and lightning-fast flying speeds. They’re just little bundles of joy. If you’d like to know more about what a budgie needs to thrive, have a look at the full budgie care guide.

White budgerigar parrot (Melopsittacus undulatus).

Who is a lovebird better for?

Lovebirds make a great choice for anyone looking for an affectionate pet, as long as they’re not afraid to learn how to train a parrot. These guys are known for being nippy, but with proper socialization, this usually shouldn’t be problematic. Their funny antics, playfulness, loyal nature and trainability more than make up for the occasional nip, in my opinion.

If you’re new to the parrot hobby and would like a lovebird, I recommend looking for a (hobbyist) breeder who spends a lot of time with their clutches. Pet store birds can be a challenge to get to a point where they trust you, and since they can draw blood with their comparatively large beaks, it can be a bit of a daunting process.

All in all, I personally view lovebirds as delightful drama queens with a love for neck scratches and a fantastically smart little brain. You’ll never be bored with one of these little parrots around!

Rosy-faced lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis).

Conclusion

In most cases, you can’t go wrong with either of these small parrots. Both species will put a smile on your face on the daily! Lovebirds can be a bit more of a handful, while budgies tend to be somewhat more aloof.


If you have any more questions about budgie vs lovebird or if you want to share your experiences with either of these wonderful small parrot species, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

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