Budgerigars are also known as budgies or parakeets and are a parrot species from Australia. These birds tend to make great pets and enjoy interacting with people. Like other birds, they have characteristic behaviors that people may find confusing, such as resting on one leg.
So, why do budgies stand on one foot? Budgies tend to stand on one foot for one of several reasons, the most common being the ability to rest. They may find this position comfortable, and some will even sleep standing on only one leg. Budgies may also stand in this position if they are cold, in order to preserve heat.
Budgies are often found standing on one foot when they’re in a comfortable situation or atmosphere. You may also find them resting with their feathers slightly ruffled as they rest, which is also a sign of comfort.
When they’re in this position, the other leg is tucked up underneath them. They will typically alternate which leg they stand on every little while.
A Comfortable Place to Rest
It is common to find a budgie resting on just one foot. In fact, it would be odd and a sign of discomfort or stress if your budgie never stood on just one foot. It is most common to see this behavior during restful periods, such as around noontime, as well as nighttime.
They will rotate the foot they stand on during this time period, often swapping it several times over the course of a few hours.
This position helps to reduce your feathered friend’s possible muscle fatigue, especially since they spend all day standing or perching on their feet. By alternating the foot they stand on, they are giving the other foot a rest.
There are special ligaments within the foot that aid them in standing in this position, which also help to keep him or her situated comfortably on their perch. You won’t have to worry about them falling off, even if they fall asleep in this position.
We explain in detail (with pictures) why birds do not fall off their perches when they sleep in this article!
You may also find that your budgie is standing on one foot because he or she is cold. Their entire body is covered in feathers except for the legs and feet. By tucking a leg up underneath them, they are able to preserve heat and remain comfortable.
There are other signs that you might notice if your budgie is too cold. While a happy, comfortable budgie will have mildly ruffled feathers, a cold one will significantly fluff up his feathers, which traps warm air near his skin.
He may also sit with his head down, tucking his beak into his chest. Seeing him perched on one foot and in this position may be an indication that the room’s ambient temperature is too cool or there is a draft.
Budgies like an ambient temperature of around 70 degrees. The temperatures that we find comfortable will often keep our budgies comfortable as well.
If the room where the birdcage is located is too cold, you can also get a heat perch for your budgie. They are actually pretty awesome and inexpensive. We explain everything you need to know about heat perches in this article!
Just make sure their cage isn’t too close to the door, a window, or another source of drafts to keep them at the right temperature, so they are perching on one foot because they’re comfortable, not because they’re cold.
Perches for Your Parakeet
Having a variety of perches is also important to help keep your budgie comfortable and allow them to rest on only one foot periodically. By promoting a selection of perches, you are mimicking their natural environment, where branches come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.
Different diameters and textures help exercise your budgie’s feet and promote different means of grasping branches. A variety of perches also helps promote healthy circulation within your budgie’s feet.
Most pet stores will have a selection of these perches for sale, so you’ll just need to find ones that fit in your budgie’s cage.
Use caution when getting pet store perches though as sandpaper covered ones can be too rough on their feet, and smooth dowel surfaces are also not ideal.
You can also help exercise your budgie’s feet and make their cage more comfortable by selecting branches from trees outside and putting them in your bird’s cage.
This has a bit more of a risk than purchasing perches, as you want to make sure the type of tree is not toxic for your little parrot.
Do a bit of research before you bring the branch inside. Some common branches that tend to be safe for budgies include pecan, apple, and pear tree branches.
Using natural branches helps keep their feet healthy, as well as allows them to remove bark from the branches, which they do in the wild.
If you are not sure what perches you should get for your budgie, we show you 5 perfect perches for budgies in this article! It is a huge guide on perches for budgies!
How to Keep Your Budgie Relaxed
If you provide a comfortable, relaxing, and safe environment for your budgie, you’ll see them perching on only one foot at different times throughout the day.
These birds are often a product of their environment, meaning a relaxed atmosphere promotes relaxation, while a chaotic one will increase the odds that they won’t rest.
If there is too much noise and activity, your bird won’t likely relax. They’re more inclined to try to engage the humans in the room, such as by chirping. Instead of a busy room, try to promote a quiet atmosphere to let your bird rest.
Turning the lights down rather than having every bulb on can help, as can keeping the volume down.
You are more likely to see your bird stand on one foot when there’s soft, quiet music playing than if heavy metal is blaring from the speakers.
Other Ways to Help Your Budgie Rest
Your budgie needs an enriched environment to be properly stimulated. This includes a variety of perches, as well as toys for him or her to play with. (We show you 15 awesome toys for them in this article. Read it here!)
They may like swings or ropes to swing with. Some birds enjoy viewing themselves in mirrors (even though that can be pretty dangerous as we explain in this article) and others may just enjoy being held.
Provide plenty of stimulation to keep their brains engaged and active, which will make them happier and healthier.
It’s also important to keep the cage clean. If the cage and perches are dirty, you risk your budgie getting an infection, such as in its feet.
These are hard to treat because your bird spends all of their time on their feet, and treatment may involve foot soaks or oral antibiotics, depending on what is going on. In a dirty cage, your budgie is also not likely to relax, and a stressed budgie is less likely to perch on one foot and rest.
If you need a couple of tips on how to clean a birdcage quickly and properly, we recommend reading our articles below:
- 10 birdcage cleaning tips you just have to know!
- Cleaning a birdcage with vinegar? A great idea!
- Budgies are messy! Do this to stop them from making such a mess!
Why is my budgie puffed up? Budgies may puff up their feathers for several reasons. Contented budgies will relax with their feathers slightly puffed up, but cold budgies may look more akin to a puffball. Budgies may also puff their feathers when they are ill; other signs of illness include lethargy, inappetence, and excessive diarrhea.
Why does my budgie hang upside down? Budgies may hang upside down from their perches because they enjoy it. Some even sleep this way or use it as a form of play. Provide plenty of perching options and ropes to swing from to give your budgie an enriched environment. This is also a method of protecting themselves from predators in the wild.