Little Green Men
Traditional breeding using modern science.
Traditional breeding using modern science.
3/9/21: In just a couple of weeks we have a photographer friend coming to get some quality photos of the aviary and our beautiful selection of birds. We are very excited to see what she can capture. I plan to tear down and rebuild the website with the new photos as soon as they're available.
3/8/21: NEW SPECIES FOR 2021 - Neophemas, the grasskeets!
Splendid a.k.a. scarlet-chested parrots
Turquoisine a.k.a. turquoise parrots
We are smitten with all the species in this Neophema genus. Their enchanting calls and adorable personalities have won our hearts. We are eagerly anticipating several fun research projects with these enchanting little parrots!
Little Green Men is a traditional home aviary based in Richmond, RI where flying reptiles play, chat, sing, whistle, and breed. Intelligent, affectionate, talkative, playful, silly, and riotously colorful, budgies are one of our favorite bird species. Adaptable breeders with a puzzling evolutionary history and fascinating genetics, budgies are also an important species to avian science.
Mission and Vision
Our mission is to raise healthy, strong, socialized birds in a clean, safe, and enriching environment, and to place them into well matched, loving homes. Using the scientific method and meticulous documentation we improve our knowledge with each clutch and ultimately hope to become a resource for other breeders and to contribute our research to the fields of aviculture and avian behavior.
How we operate
We raise a limited number of budgie chicks at a time so that we can fully socialize every chick individually and place them with the perfect home based on specifications in a reservation. Every bird we raise is healthy and hand tame at the time of pick up because of the extensive amount of time we spend with them. While they are growing we get to know them well enough to match them with the best home. We have all new owners handle the birds at pickup time so they can confirm that the bird meets all their expectations.
Our husbandry practices include meticulous hygiene routines, enrichment, reduction of stress, and individual attention for every bird in the aviary, made possible by keeping a small-scale aviary and not overcrowding. Overcrowding can lead to faster breeding and more chicks, but we condemn that technique in favor of safety, health and comfort. We also rest our females after only two clutches so they do not suffer exhaustion or worse tragedy. These policies mean that we raise fewer chicks, but that they are all healthy and well adjusted.
We offer a HEALTH GUARANTEE if a veterinary checkup is completed on the bird by an avian specialist within 48 hours of adoption and before acquiring any other new birds. We are very flexible on pickup times, so we can arrange pickup after you've made a veterinary appointment that works with your schedule. We have veterinary screenings done on all new birds that we purchase as well.
All new owners will receive a CARE PACKAGE when they pick up their new baby which will include a 3-week baby photo, a sample of the pellets we use, a favorite toy, and our extensive care sheet. All owners will also be treated with individual attention regarding their bird after adoption for as long into the future as they'd like. We are happy to help with advice about your other birds and avian science in general.
We encourage prospective owners to schedule a visit to the aviary (masked) prior to placing a reservation. We do not require this, but we do find it helps new owners feel more confident about placing a reservation and waiting for a bird.
To place a reservation for a budgie baby to be picked up after weaning, please fill out the form at the bottom of the page or text Katey at (401) 855-1809 with the following information
(* indicates required information):
Color or morph desired:
*Other birds you own:
*Non-avian pets you own:
*Past experience with birds (it's ok if you're new to bird
ownership, it's just good for us to know so we can provide additional
We do not require a deposit to reserve a bird, but if we feel someone is abusing our reservation policy we will uphold our right to refuse their request. Once we have received your request, we will contact you with an estimated wait time. Wait times to baby placement will depend on many factors including how specific you are in your desires and who is actively breeding. More precise specifications may take longer to fulfill while more generalized needs can be met more quickly.
Normal green (wild type): $60
Opaline green/olive: $60
Normal blue (= sky blue): $70
Opaline blue/cobalt: $70
Type I and II Yellowface: $70
Dominant pied: $75
Recessive pied: $75
Ino (albino/lutino/creamino): $80
Dark-Eyed Clear (white/yellow + black eyes): $85
Violet (visible): $85
Dilute (paler than greywing): $85
Spangle (single factor): $100
Rainbow dilute: $100
Rainbow spangle (SF): $120
Rainbow clearwing: $120
"Rainbow" is simply shorthand for the following genetic combinations which result in birds that appear multi-colored with little black or gray:
Rainbow spangle = sky blue + type II yellowface + opaline + spangle
Rainbow clearwing = sky blue + type II yellowface + opaline + clearwing
Rainbow dilute = sky blue + type II yellowface + opaline + dilute
Lacewing is a combination of albino and cinnamon. In lacewings, the albinism erases all pigment except for the wing and cheek markings. The result is an all white bird with cinnamon markings, like a henna tattoo. This variety cannot be created simply by pairing a cinnamon with an albino, however, since the genetics behind it are more complex. In addition to their obvious attractiveness, the difficulty in creating them makes lacewings quite rare.
For questions about color morphs or bird genetics, please text Katey at (401) 855-1809.
Prices are not negotiable.
We do not sell cages or accessories.
Clipping: All our birds are allowed to fledge naturally and are flighted by default in our aviary. Our adult birds fly around our bedroom all day almost every day. We have strict safety and hygiene measures in place to allow for their flighted lifestyle. Whether or not your bird will be safer flighted or clipped is dependent on your bird's living situation once he goes home. If you'd like to have your bird's flight feathers clipped we can do that at no charge and we can show you how to maintain a good clip throughout your bird's life and not a harmful one (many clip jobs are poorly done and lead to more accidents than they prevent). We are happy to advise if you're not sure which option is right for you.
Bird sitting: Little Green Men serves as a sitting and boarding facility for most captive indoor bird species.* We are located near a 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic with an avian specialist, we have emergency supplies, and we have the space and resources to keep birds quarantined and safe while providing quality time for all.
In order to utilize our bird sitting services, all bird species must have a negative test for psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD). We will honor the negative result for your bird's life, unless new birds join your flock that haven't been screened. Your bird will still be quarantined from other birds (except his own family) during his stay as a standard precaution. We make time during the day for quarantined birds to get individual attention.
Budgies, cockatiels, lovebirds, conures and other small parrots:
Mid-sized or slightly needier birds (Indian ringnecks, pionus):
Larger, more demanding parrot species (greys, Amazons, cockatoos):
Fruit eaters (lories, mynahs, toucans):
Due to state legislation we cannot accept quaker parrots/monk parakeets.
We will work with you to carefully plan your bird's daily routine during his stay and adhere to all your home rules as well as our own.
Commonly called simply the "parakeet" in the U.S., the proper common name for Melopsittacus undulatus is the budgerigar. Never let anyone tell you otherwise - budgies are parrots. The arbitrary term "parakeet" is a term often applied to many smaller species of parrot, but there is no genetic or evolutionary delineation between "parrots" and "parakeets". Similarity in size does not necessarily indicate a close evolutionary relationship. Indeed, budgies appear to have diverged from other psittacines quite a long time ago and have a multitude of genetic novelties that occur in no other psittacine species. Recent morphological studies combined with information from previous mitochondrial DNA analyses have determined that the closest living taxa to Melopsittacus are Loriculus (hanging parrots), Agapornis (lovebirds), and the whole families of Cyclopsittini (fig parrots) and Lorrini (lories) (Mayr, 2008).
Budgies are one of the smallest parrot species and are remarkable among parrots for many reasons. Their spectacular budgerigar murmurations in the wild leave researchers stumped and viewers in awe. Wild budgies live in extended families of about 50-100 individuals, joining with other family groups at water sources where they unite for their mesmerizing performances of up to ten thousand budgies. They are largely nomadic and may travel hundreds of miles per day across the vast red center of Australia to find the most recent rainfall, able to sense it at a distance of 40 miles. They are exquisitely adapted to locating their primary energy source - seeds.
The inclusion of seeds in a captive parrot's diet is a surprisingly controversial subject which is addressed in detail in our care sheet. For the most current information about bird husbandry, about which we learn more all the time, it is a good idea to check Google Scholar for recent primary literature or to ask an avian specialist veterinarian as they both read and conduct this research on a regular basis. It is also important to remember that each individual budgie may have different requirements based on lifestyle, personality, habits and genetics. It will come down to careful attention to your bird on a daily basis to know if they are getting the right nutrition.
Our bizarre little friends make excellent companions because they are flock animals. They are entirely reliant on their flock in the wild and stick close to them wherever they go. Anyone who has owned a tame budgie has seen this instinct in action. Every budgie requires companionship, either in the form of other budgies to live with or its owner, in order to be a fulfilled and happy budgie.
Yes, they talk! They talk well. Single budgies who have bonded closely with their owner are especially proficient and can learn hundreds of words, including full sentences. In fact, the world record holder for the most words spoken by a bird belongs to, not an African grey, but a budgie. It is sometimes said that males are "better" at talking than females, but this is somewhat misleading. A male and a female are likely to learn a phrase in about the same length of time with the same amount of practice. The difference is that males are more talkative - that is, once they learn the phrase, they may say it 100 times a day while the female might only say it when she feels like it or when you're interacting with her. Though more research is needed to understand the nature of mimicry in the animal kingdom, one possible reason for the budgie's ability to mimic is due to the need to recognize and repeat its own family's calls among thousands of birds. Females must learn to repeat their family's unique chirps just as well as males, so they should not be worse imitators. This necessity also explains why budgies most closely bonded with their owners tend to speak most fluently.
Egg volume: (length)2 × width × 0.51 (Hoyt 1979)
Your budgie should never be outside. Budgies are common carriers of many different pathogens, and no matter how careful you are or how many tests you perform, there are hundreds of potential contaminants your budgie may carry that can pose a threat to wildlife but leave your budgie in apparently perfect health. By the same token, wild birds can carry all kinds of diseases from poultry-based viruses to avian malaria and other diseases. Your budgie should not be exposed to these pathogens (Baron et al, 2014). Baron, H. R., Howe, L., Varsani, A., & Doneley, R. J. (2014). Disease screening of three breeding populations of adult exhibition budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) in New Zealand reveals a high prevalence of a novel polyomavirus and avian malaria infection. Avian diseases, 58(1), 111-117.
People tempted to bring their budgie outside should also remember that budgies like to forage on the ground, and our (U.S.) native flora and fauna is very different from the budgie's native Australian flora and fauna. The parasites are different, the bugs are different, the fungus is different, the bacteria is different, the plants are different. Budgies did not evolve in North America and are unlikely to be well-adapted to cope with all of our native microorganisms.
Another important reason to keep your budgie indoors is to maintain a steady temperature of their environment. Generally in the United States and United Kingdom where budgies are most popular outside of Australia (), the air is much more moist and dynamic than the red center of Australia where budgies are native. Rapid temperature changes and chilly breezes can pose a real threat. Budgies do have the ability to survive temperatures down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but they must adjust their metabolisms very gradually over months to achieve this feat (). We ourselves unfortunately lost our very first budgie to a January night when the heat shut off in our apartment, something that had never happened before and did not happen again afterward. The tragedy was made worse by our feeling of guilt that we didn't know it was happening. We had left the house to watch the AFC Championship game that evening and weren't home to know the temperature was dropping. If we had known, we could have gotten him out of there and to somewhere warm. We had only had him for ten days.
Even if the fluctuations are not enough to kill your budgie instantly, they can severely weaken his immune system and bring out dormant illnesses and digestive imbalances that can make him miserable or kill him secondarily (). Budgies don't need a heat lamp, they are perfectly comfortable between 60 and 75 degrees where most of us keep our houses, but they should avoid cool breezes and large fluctuations in temperature in general.
Lastly, the outdoors has predators. Budgies are extremely brightly colored. The odds that your budgie will be eaten are very high.
Are males better talkers than females?
For years we have been telling new bird owners that this is really not true, and we still 100% believe that. A study was done, however, that demonstrated that males almost invariably imitate the call of their mate, regardless of their age upon meeting or their familiarity with one another, while the females did not appear to imitate the calls of the males (Hile et al, 2000). This suggests that the reason for the mimicry performed by males is to solidify the pair bond during the mating season. However, the sample size in this study was very small (n=9), only one breeding cycle was observed for each pair, and the budgie pairs were only observed twice weekly, so it is possible the females were mimicking the males also but this was missed since they don't vocalize as frequently. Because so many females have been recorded mimicking just as well as males, an easily searchable phenomenon on YouTube or within our own aviary, we suspect that the purpose of female mimicry may simply be different to the purpose of the males'. More research is needed to determine the evolutionary significance of and the variables involved in the mimicking ability of both genders. Perhaps it is the inability of human owners to mimic the female's calls that forces her to conform to ours. Regardless of explanation, a single, well-bonded budgie of either gender is certainly the most likely to speak human words back to its owner.
The greatest threats that will face your budgie are:
While there are many other dangers a household can contain such as windows, other animals, teflon cookware, and drastic temperature changes, most of these are easily preventable as long as the owner is aware of them before bringing the bird home. The three I have listed are my primary concerns for new owners because they are the top dangers to budgies that aren't always obvious at a glance and can slip through the cracks as silent killers. Many owners will assume that their casual cleaning methods or cheap seed mix are sufficient for their bird's health because they "have never had any issues before", but it can become a serious threat at any time and without warning. If you take nothing else from this care sheet, please take away that your budgie's environment requires daily cleaning, stress can kill him, and good nutrition can save his life.
Hile, A. G., Plummer, T. K., & Striedter, G. F. (2000). Male vocal imitation produces call convergence during pair bonding in budgerigars, Melopsittacus undulatus. Animal Behaviour, 59(6), 1209-1218.
Richmond, Rhode Island, United States
LGM is open to visits by appointment only.