Budgies are incredible little birds that come in a variety of colors and markings. One of the most beautiful of those is the rainbow budgie.
If you have never seen a rainbow budgie in person, you can imagine from the name that they are a beautiful combination of several colors, but what exactly are rainbow budgies and how are they different from the standard?
What Is a Rainbow Budgie?
The only real difference between rainbow budgies and wild budgies is color. The rainbow mutation is made up of a combination of several color mutations.
- Yellow face
As you can imagine, combining all of those color mutations can take a lot of time and planning, so you are less likely to see this particular color in stores.
Breeding rainbow budgies can be challenging, but with the right genetics, you can make it happen.
A yellow face budgie is one that, you guessed it, has a yellow face.
There are a few variations of yellow face, including mutant 1, mutant 2, and golden face.
Arguably the best variation for rainbow budgies is mutant 2, as it only slightly alters the color, but any of the variations can be used.
Many breeders simply use the variant that is available to them. While this can create some variation in rainbows depending on origin and breeder, I think it makes each rainbow more unique.
In a normal budgie, opaline is exhibited in the form of a brighter base color and less black striping.
This makes the head and back appear solidly colored and reduces the amount of black on the wings and tail feathers.
This mutation is quite beautiful on its own, but when combined with other genes, it can be a powerhouse of beauty.
The clearwing gene is responsible for diluting the color of the budgie’s feathers. It is a major contributor to the pastel effect of rainbow budgies.
While the clearwing gene is pretty rare in the budgerigar hobby, it is necessary for creating a rainbow budgie.
A blue budgie lacks yellow pigmentation. These budgies can vary slightly in color darkness, due to the base color of green.
A budgie that would normally be dark green will instead be dark blue, and one that would normally be light green will be light blue.
I find these budgies to be quite striking. They lend themselves well to the creation of the rainbow variety.
Rainbow Budgie Size
Rainbow budgies can be either American, English, or a cross of the two.
American budgies are usually around 6-7 inches long and 30-50 grams.
Meanwhile, English budgies can be up to 10 inches long and 40-63 grams. A cross would be somewhere in the middle of these two.
When purchasing your rainbow budgie, be sure to find out which type it is so that you will know how big it should be.
A 60-gram American budgie would be grossly overweight, while a 30-gram English budgie would be severely underweight.
Knowing where your budgie should be in terms of size can help you keep your pet at the proper weight, thereby avoiding health issues.
How Long Do Rainbow Budgies Live?
With the proper nutrition and care, rainbow budgies can live to be 10-15 years old.
Before purchasing your rainbow budgie, make sure that you have found a reputable breeder who focuses on the health and longevity of their lines.
This could add several years to the lifespan of your new pet.
Can Rainbow Budgies Talk?
If you are looking for a bird to chat with, a rainbow budgie probably isn’t the right choice for you.
Budgies are happy to mimic sounds, whistles, and songs, but most are not capable of learning words.
This is due to the capacity of their vocal cords and is not a reflection on their intelligence.
If you want to teach your budgie to whistle songs, the best way to do it is to play the songs for them on a loop.
Check out YouTube for bird training videos. You can leave them on during the day; your budgie should start picking up the melody after a few days.
Where to Buy a Rainbow Budgie
If you are ready to add a rainbow budgie to your home, you will find several options.
One of the best places to get a rainbow budgie is a local breeder.
Many breeders offer hand-fed budgies, which tend to be a bit friendlier than those raised by their parents.
Also, breeders usually have healthier birds.
To find breeders in your area, you can join budgie groups on Facebook or check Craigslist or Google.
If you can’t find a breeder near you, note that some breeders will ship, or you can take a road trip to your favorite breeder.
One of my favorite things about visiting a local breeder is being able to pick out my bird in person.
While choosing from photos might get you the prettiest bird, it won’t necessarily get you the bird that would bond the best with you.
We have several birds that we wouldn’t have chosen from photos but that won our hearts with their personalities.
If you can’t find a breeder in your area by looking online, try to find a local bird show. There are bird shows within a few hours of my house about once a month.
This is where we have gotten the majority of our birds and we have had really good luck with them.
Bird shows are a great place to meet breeders and ask them about the temperament of their birds.
Even if no one at the show has rainbow budgies, a breeder might be able to put you on a waiting list or give you the contact information for another breeder with availability.
Bird shows are also a great place to get supplies for your bird, such as millet, toys, and treats.
There are usually lots of great deals and a wider variety than you see in most pet shops.
If you can’t find a breeder or bird show, your next step is to check your local pet store.
While many pet stores buy from large-scale breeders, they are usually able to access a rather large vendor list.
This means that even if they don’t have rainbow budgies in stock, they might be able to order them for you.
When buying from a pet store, ensure that all the cages appear clean and that the birds look healthy and active.
Birds can become sick rather easily and can be hard to treat once they are ill.
If you have exhausted all other options, an online store might be the perfect option for you.
While there aren’t a ton of online stores that sell birds, those that do are generally very knowledgeable when it comes to shipping.
You should be able to get rainbow budgies, and just about any other bird you would like, from an online store.
However, be sure to check out the store’s reviews before purchasing. As with anything else, some sellers are better than others.
Be cautious when purchasing birds that seem cheaper than they should be, as they might be ill or the sale might be a scam.
If you prefer to rescue a rainbow budgie, you can contact a bird rescue in your area and let them know what you are looking for.
Rescues often keep a wish list of birds that families are looking for, in the event that those birds are not currently available.
If you want a bird quickly, this might not be your best option, but it would help a homeless bird find a new family.
You can also keep an eye on Craigslist for birds in need of a home.
On Craigslist, I frequently see rainbow budgies available in my area, and many are already hand-tame and loving members of someone’s family.
People frequently need to rehome birds due to life changes, allergies, or moving, so it never hurts to keep an eye on listings.
Can I Keep Other Birds With My Rainbow Budgie?
Budgies are very social, and rainbow budgies are no exception.
In this section, we will talk about birds that are compatible with your rainbow budgie and birds that are not.
The best cage mate for your rainbow budgie is another budgie. In the wild, budgies live in large flocks that often number in the hundreds.
This is for both socialization and safety. Generally, the more eyes that are watching out for predators, the safer the flock will be.
In captivity, we can’t easily keep, house, or care for a hundred budgies, but 3-5 is a great number to start with.
If you don’t have the space for 3+ budgies, try to get at least 2, as budgies can quickly become depressed without company.
Though cockatiels and rainbow budgies have similar care requirements, it is best to not keep them in a cage together.
Cockatiels are quite a bit larger than budgies, so they are capable of causing damage if they want to.
While you can’t house them together, many people do have success keeping them in cages next to each other and allowing them to have time out of the cages together.
If you plan on doing this, be sure to supervise the play, as they can sometimes get cranky with each other.
In small cages, it is best to not mix rainbow budgies and finches.
However, if you are building a large aviary, these birds tend to get along well.
Be sure that plenty of room is available for each species of bird to have its own area.
Also, keep several feeding and watering stations in the cage.
When selecting a finch species to keep with your rainbow budgies, you will want to choose ones that have relatively similar diets, to prevent either species from getting nutrient deficiencies.
It is best to not mix other species of birds with rainbow budgies.
While birds like rainbow lorikeets look beautiful with budgies, they have very different care requirements and could be aggressive with your new pet rainbow budgie.
Larger birds like ringnecks and parrots can easily injure rainbow budgies or bully them.
A bullied budgie is less likely to eat and drink and can even become depressed and die. That means it’s best to keep them in species-only cages unless you can create a large aviary.
If you have the space and can build a zoo-like outdoor enclosure, there are a lot more options when it comes to species you can keep with your budgies.
Several-thousand-square-foot enclosures offer plenty of room for birds to have their own territories and get away from larger birds that might bully them.
If you decide to build an aviary like this, you will need a small flock of each species you plan to have in the aviary. It is a good idea to introduce everyone to the cage at the same time.
This means you will need to set up several cages of each type of bird so that you can quarantine them and get them established before you release them into their new outdoor home.
When keeping birds in an aviary, you should spend time outside with them daily to ensure that no one is being bullied more than normal and that all the birds can eat and drink.
Also, make sure there are plenty of areas for the birds to nest and hide in, such as plants, perches, and nesting boxes.
What Is the Difference Between Rainbow Budgies and Rainbow Spangle Budgies?
Rainbow budgies and rainbow spangle budgies are very similar. Because the clearwing mutation is relatively rare, many breeders will substitute the spangle gene in its place.
Rainbow budgies and rainbow spangle budgies look very similar. The biggest difference is the black outline on the wing feathers, which will show in spangles, but not true rainbows.
How Much Do Rainbow Budgies Cost?
The price of rainbow budgies can vary based on many factors, but generally, they run between $50 and $150.
Here are some of the factors that will affect the pricing of rainbow budgies.
Supply and Demand
Supply and demand can affect the price of everything, not just birds.
If breeders in your area are short on rainbow budgies, the birds will likely be more expensive.
On the other hand, if they breed more than they have homes for, the birds will likely be a little cheaper than average.
If you are looking for a hand-fed rainbow budgie, expect the price to be significantly more than that of a parent-fed bird.
Hand-feeding is a very time-consuming process, and this is usually reflected in the price.
If you want a less expensive bird, you can opt for a parent-fed bird, but note that the bonding process might last a bit longer.
More to read:
- Budgie Pin Feathers: Explained And What to Do
- Why Is My Budgie Shaking? (Shaking Behavior Explained)
- Pregnant Budgie: Complete Care Guide
My name is Niels Joensen, and I’m the creator of Wings and Beaks. I got my first two budgies at the age of 13, and right away, I fell in love with these beautiful tiny birds. Wings and Beaks is where I share my knowledge and passion for budgies with other bird owners.