Australia has been home to the wild budgerigars for at least five million years. Image (c) Bush Budgies
The home of the budgerigar is in Australia. They were discovered by the money forger Thomas Watling in 1792. Budgerigars were able to live in freedom until 1840, when the first live specimens were caught and exported to England.
The shipping of budgerigars was a very severe ordeal. The birds had little to no chances of survival, because no one knew what kind of food and care budgerigars needed. In fact, very little was known about budgerigars, because no one had ever studied a live specimen. Most of the budgerigars that did survive the whole journey often died shortly afterwards. This nightmare went on for years and the trade with budgerigars rose in such leaps and bounds that the Australian government finally imposed an export prohibition for budgerigars in 1884. This export prohibition is still valid today, although the budgerigar doesn't belong to the list of the threatened species in Australia.
The few birds that survived the shipping journey were pampered in every way possible in order to keep them alive and happy (and to encourage them to breed, of course). There is a positive consequence linked to this: it is so easy to breed budgerigars today that no one bothers to catch them in the wild anymore. Just like globetrotters, they have travelled all over the world.
Budgerigars can be found all over the world, although their natural habitat remains in Australia. Image (c) Wikipedia
The first breeding result was based on pure luck. A female budgie had crawled through the small hole of an excavated coconut and gave birth to a nest of baby budgies, right there inside that coconut! By the end of the 19th century, yellow budgies started to appear and in 1910 the first blue budgie attracted many surprised people to an exhibition. Today, there are millions of colour and mutation variations, some of them more extraordinary than the others.