Budgerigars are exceptional pet birds due to their intelligence, manageable size and playful antics. A lone budgie will bond well with you, but sometimes a companion bird is an ideal addition -- especially if you don't have a lot of time for your budgie.
Overall, budgies are smart, entertaining birds who often enjoy the company of another bird. With that being said, they have extremely individual personalities, like all parrots, and can be territorial. Females tend to be much more dominant than males and, as such, can be harder to find a companion for.
Another budgie is often the best choice when trying to find a companion bird. Two males are typically the best companions, and those that bond will serenade each other, interact and become best friends. Females, being the dominant and more aggressive sex, may not fare well with other females, and housing one with a male can lead to the boy being picked on, especially if the cage is of a smaller side. That isn't to say that all male pairs will bond or that a female pair or mixed pair won't bond. Because their individual personalities may be as diverse as humans', you never know which two -- or more -- birds will get along.
Some species of birds are much more aggressive than others. This trait, along with size, should play a pivotal role in your decision if you choose a companion bird that's not a budgie. Budgies tend to be harmful companions for smaller birds or birds of the same size, such as cockatiels. Even if your budgie gets along with a larger or smaller bird, accidental injuries can occur during play or regular movement throughout the cage.
After quarantining the new bird, move its cage into the same room as your budgie's cage. Let them look at each other and get to know each other from the safety of their own cages. After a couple days, move the cages closer to each other, but not touching, for more detailed interaction. If the birds seem to get along well in their separate cages, have a supervised playtime outside of the cage in a safe, small room. Keep the play times short and look for any signs of aggression. Remember that even if the birds are getting along outside the cage, that doesn't mean they will live well together in the same cage.
Sometimes a multiple bird aviary is a great idea, particularly if you have the space, money and energy to spend on taking care of several birds. Having multiple birds, whether all budgies or a mixed aviary, can lead to additional problems, but it can also work out for the best. Budgies and many other parrots are flocking birds that live in groups in the wild. In multiple bird groups, it is not uncommon to have birds form small, intimate groups and cliques. This may lead to one clique picking on another clique or, worse, a single bird. In multiple-bird settings -- even with just two birds -- the cage needs to be large enough that every bird can fly, feed and rest without bumping into another bird.
With a professional background in gardening, landscapes, pests and natural ecosystems, Jasey Kelly has been sharing her knowledge through writing since 2009 and has served as an expert writer in these fields. Kelly's background also includes childcare, and animal rescue and care.