Most likely a budgie stepping over another is trying to either establish its dominance or simply acting playful. However, if this is accompanied by both birds joining their beaks and bobbing their heads, then, this is probably a mating ritual.
A budgie stepping on another budgie can be either a sign of aggression or affection.
But, how do we tell these apart?
However, if one of them is a new member of the flock, then perhaps, the older one is expressing its territorial behavior.
But, if opposite genders are involved then it is likely mating which is normally a loving gesture.
So, at least I wouldn’t dare call that lovely.
Besides, ornithologists agree that if anything that’s bullying, most budgie keepers struggle to associate bullying with such a cute creature.
But the question is:
Why Do Budgies Bully Each Other?
That depends on their personalities as well as circumstances.
Anyways, budgies may bully each other for the following reasons
1. Clashing Personalities
Each budgie has a unique personality. While budgies raised in a flock learn to tolerate each other, certain birds are not made for each other.
So, if two such birds are kept in a single cage, they may end up bullying each other.
Related article – Can you keep two budgies in one cage?
2. Territorial Behavior
Like other birds, budgies too express territorial behavior.
This may be a fight for the perfect perch, the favorite toy, or even the cage itself.
Typically, the larger budgie ends up oppressing the smaller one.
3. Inadequate Cage
If the cage is too small then a budgie will likely end up stepping over another’s tail, or feathers.
Squabbling will continue, turning into an outright fight.
It’s best to add at least 18iches x 18iches x 24 inches cage space per budgie.
Check out my article – Best large cage for budgies
4. Competition For Food
If there is only a single food station, then this will give a sense of competition to all the flock members.
This may trigger bullying.
5. Breeding Patterns & Hormonal Changes
However, this rivalry may turn into bullying especially if there are two males and a single female.
Females prefer bold aggressive males, furthering such intimidating behaviors.
Sometimes a mother budgie subjugates her partner, especially if he slacks in caring for the eggs.
5. Curiosity & Boredom
This is most common among male budgies younger than 6 months of age.
You see, your attention and care can make an older budgie be jealous of a young one.
The reaction may come as biting your fingers to the newcomer.
This leads me to my next point..
Can Budgies Get Jealous Of Other Budgies?
Now, it can be anything, say You:
- Bring home another pet and spend more time with it.
- Show more affectionate behavior with a single budgie, especially the younger ones.
- Get a new toy or perch for a new budgie, while ignoring the old flock.
- Try to introduce a new budgie to your bird family in the same cage.
Budgies can also get jealous of new birds getting closer to their previous mates.
The jealousy is most pronounced with two females.
In most cases, the older female tries to bite or harass newly introduced female.
While most males are calm together, if it comes to a fight over mates, even the males that are raised together since birth end up turning against each other.
Budgies can also see their humans as potential mates and get jealous of their attention.
Regardless, if you face the issue of a budgie getting jealous of another, here are a few suggestions for you:
- Separate the cages of concerned budgies.
- Try to play with them outside age, a neutral place where both birds cannot declare their territory over the cage.
- Give their favorite treats to integrate the idea that they are rewarded for unity.
But then, a budgie may get jealous of other humans surrounding their favorite person.
Now, I know a bird keeper whose mother wouldn’t talk to him in presence of his budgies as they often turn sullen.
But then, I have also come across a woman who would intentionally pet her husband’s head to seek her budgie’s dear attention.
But I wouldn’t recommend manipulating a budgie’s sexual advances for your entertainment.
You see, if the bird is indeed seeking you as a mate, this would unnaturally change its hormone levels, perhaps, landing him into a pseudo-breeding state and unexplained aggression like biting.
But biting can be a sign of affection too.
Why Do Budgies Bite Each Other’s Feet?
Typically, to express unnerving aggression.
You must understand that beaks are to budgies what hands are to humans.
They communicate with each other through beaks.
In fact, the most affectionate gesture of a budgie is Beaking – a gentle touch with its beak.
Now, budgies often use their beaks to preen each other’s difficult-to-preen spots, like the top of the heads and their tail feathers.
Sometimes they even bite each other playfully, especially if the budgies in question have been raised together.
However, no budgie ever preens other’s feet.
When a budgie tries to bite another budgie’s feet it’s an attempt to establish dominance.
Ornithologists suggest the following causes:
- A dispute over the perfect perch – shaded and hidden from common sight at maximum height for the most protection possible.
- An immediate disliking of the newly introduced budgie.
- Fight or flight response for an offense like taking over the cage space or toys.
- For protecting mates during the breeding season.
- Exploring new objects.
Now, all this actually sounds like budgies are always fighting but did you the flock usually resolves all its issues.
In fact, the hostile budgies often become playmates once they become familiar with each other.
The most outgoing budgies even ram into other budgies to nudge them to play along.
This leads me to my next point
Why Do Budgies Poke Each Other?
This is usually a sign of affection or companionship, but it may be a sign of aggression.
I bet you are confused wondering what determines if a bird is just jolly or outright rude.
Don’t worry, even the most experienced birders tend to wait near the cage if they are introducing a new budgie to the flock.
However, there are certain signs that can tell us if a budgie is poking another budgie out of love or out of hostility (See fig 1).
Figure 1: Differentiating between Budgies’ expressions of Playfulness and Aggression
A budgie stepping over another budgie can either be a mating ritual or an attempt to establish dominance.
Sometimes budgies do so by biting or poking each other.
This can be triggered by several reasons from inadequate cage space to jealousy or even curiosity.
I hope this article cleared all your ambiguities and helped you differentiate between a gentle budgie beaking or an aggressive stroke.