Why Do Budgie Parakeets Regurgitate?

"How about I spit up a little food on you to show how much I care?"
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Nothing says "I love you" quite like regurgitation. At least, if you're a parakeet. If your little budgie friend spits up his seeds on you, it's a sign of deep affection. However, it's important to tell the difference between regurgitation and vomiting. The latter indicates a sick bird.

Regurgitation vs. Vomiting

If your budgie performs a head-bobbing movement or stretches his neck before bringing up seed, he's regurgitating. That's part of the bird's breeding behavior. Vomiting parakeets, on the other hand, just quickly flick their heads. Another sign is vomitus scattered around the cage or stuck around the bird's head and face. Vomiting results from gastrointestinal issues or problems with his liver or kidneys. Vomiting budgies require prompt veterinary attention.


Since regurgitation is part of mating behavior, you're more likely to find your budgie spitting seeds on you in the spring, when sex hormones kick in. Since breeding behavior relates to the amount of light, cover the cage so your bird doesn't receive more than 12 hours of light daily. Some budgies aren't overly affected by hormonal surges, while others turn into parakeet monsters. Besides regurgitation, other hormonal behavior includes biting and territorial aggression -- your bird doesn't want you near her cage. Females generally exhibit hormone-related behavior more than males, including regurgitation.


Although you might appreciate that your budgie's attempting to show affection, you probably don't want regurgitated seeds on your clothes, hair or person. If your parakeet frequently regurgitates on you, teach her you don't like this behavior. Since she's probably enjoying time outside of the cage with you when she spits up, put her back in the cage whenever she behaves this way. A smart bird gets the idea that regurgitating ends encounters with you.


While you can attempt to refocus your budgie's behavior when she regurgitates on you, don't scold her when she does it. Your sensitive parakeet would see scolding as meaning her affection isn't reciprocated. Regurgitating is how budgies show affection, both to mates and offspring. Imagine how you would react if your significant other didn't want to kiss you.

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