The term "parakeet" refers to several of the smaller species of parrots. Parakeets have long tails and come in a variety of vivid colors. They are arguably the most common birds kept as pets, and the budgerigar, or budgie is probably the most common pet among the parakeets. In fact, the budgerigar is also called the Common Pet Parakeet, and has gained popularity with its small size, playfulness, and ability to mimic the human voice.
Budgies and parakeets possess some of the traits which make parrots so popular without requiring nearly the amount of work and dedication that the larger parrots often require. Parakeets can be taught to talk, although to a lesser extent than parrots. However, parakeets are much quieter than some of their louder brethren like the Macaw or Cockatiel. Parakeets are affectionate and intelligent, and require about 30 minutes a day of interaction and a few hours a day out of the cage. Parrots often require hours of training a day. Parakeets are entertaining and make good companions, but with a lifespan of 10-15 years, don't require the same lifetime commitment of a parrot which lives 50 or 60 years.
Parakeets are active birds that enjoy climbing and flying. They should have a relatively large cage with multiple perches and some stimulating toys, like ropes, swings and ladders. The cage should be covered at night. Parakeets are cleaner than lories and lorikeets, but they will still need their cage cleaned weekly and their food and water changed daily. A parakeet diet should include pellets supplemented every day with fresh fruits, vegetables, greens, and additional proteins like mealworms or peanuts. Parakeets need to be given a bath 2-3 times a week, but if given cuttlebones will keep their own beaks and nails in good shape.
An unhealthy or neglected parakeet will engage in destructive behaviors such as feather-plucking and biting, but a healthy parakeet will be a cheerful, interesting and beautiful pet.