Why Is My Budgie Changing Colour? {Is My Budgie Sick?}

Are you seeing your budgie’s feathers changing colour? Is this a normal sign of aging or does this mean your budgie is stressed or ill? In this article, we’ll find out why a budgie would change colour.

Why Is My Budgie Changing Colour? Feathers on a budgie can change colour through puberty. Juvenile budgies are growing up, molting their baby feathers into their final adult colours. They should not change colour again or else it could be sign of stress or illness. 

Do Budgies Change Colour When They Get Older?

Your budgie is advancing in age and its juvenile colours are adapting into the final adult pigments that should remain this way for good. Sometimes an older budgie appear to have bars or black streaks.

The overall pigmentation could look more brown or dull with less vibrancy. A fungal infection, illness or plain old dirt could be causing an older budgie to change colour.

The worst-case scenario is noticing tattered, black or plucked feathers indicating high levels of stress or disease. Look for:

  • natural colour changes through puberty
  • bars or black streaks in adulthood
  • brown or dull feathers in advanced ages
  • black or plucked feathers in times of stress or illness

Why Do Budgies Change Colour?

A budgie in the wild is mainly green or yellow. These are the first and most naturally occurring colours, but genes mutate. Changes in pigmentation have taken place to allow budgies to carry new mutated genes that are colourful and vibrant.

Budgies in captivity have been selectively bred to obtain these new colours along with genetic mutations. The base color of white, yellow or green can adapt to take on more colours through puberty. The primary colour remains while new colours appear on top.

Reasons for colour changes:

  • Puberty
  • Genetic mutations 
  • Selective breeding
  • Molting
  • Old age
  • Stress
  • Illness

Why Are My Budgie’s Feathers Turning Brown?

We do not wish to see our budgies with brown feathers. Something could be wrong internally. It’s best to visit the avian vet. There could be a few possible explanations:

  • Illness
  • Stress from aggression
  • Digestive issues
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Dirt
  • Molting difficulties

Illnesses will be diagnosed by a professional. Aggressive budgies in the cage may have fought or given each other massive amounts of stress that amplified externally into a few browning feathers.

Poor digestion or breathing issues are related to immune system deficiencies. Hopefully your budgie is just dirty and needs a thorough cleaning.

Sometimes the molting process didn’t take well and didn’t complete itself. The feathers came out brown or unhealthy from a lack of nutrients to create a successful molt. Your budgie could be malnourished.

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Why Does My Budgie’s Beak Keep Changing Colour?

The cere or beak of your budgie can change colours multiple times throughout its life. The following reasons are why this happens:

  • maturity
  • pale pink to tan in females
  • pale pink to blue, brown or white in males
  • breeding season
  • brown or crusty beaks indicates illness
  • blue ceres indicates illness in females

A natural change occurs from babies to juveniles to adults. Pale pink is the starting point and depending on the sex of the budgie, the end colour will vary.

Sometimes a slight colour change takes place during breeding season and returns to normal after. Anything that is out of the ordinary such as brown, crusty or blue (in females) needs to be checked out by an avian vet.

Is My Budgie Sick?

Look at the colour changes from normal to black streaks or brown feathers as a sign of illness or fungal infection. Do not try to diagnose your budgie by yourself.

The black streaks on the back or wings could be a fungal infection. They could also be stress bars. There are medications available for respiratory or fungal infections causing undesired colour changes.

Clean the cage well and provide nourishment through healthy pellets, fruits, vegetables and sunlight. Look for:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Abnormal droppings

Did My Budgie Molt Into A New Colour?

Budgies can molt as much as 3 times a year. It should create a colour change unless it’s the first ever molt for your young budgie.

The new feathers after the first molt will become solid, uniform colors that differ from the dotted or striped patterns of baby budgies. These are your budgie’s natural colours now. Any further colour changes later in life may indicate stress or illness.

Why Is My White Budgie Turning Yellow?

The pigmentation in a budgie is due to a healthy uropygial gland. Tattered, pale, dusty looking feathers could indicate that this uropygial gland is not working properly.

Some budgies develop liver diseases causing feathers to turn from white to yellow. You must take your budgie to the vet for confirmation. The fatty cells on the liver are hindering its healthy function. It must be addressed.

What Does A Molting Budgie Look Like?

A molting budgie is growing out new feathers. They are usually sharper and whiter in colour. These stubby feathers are referred to as pin-feathers.

They will remain spiky for a few weeks. A full molt could take up to two months or slightly longer. If you see bald patches, asymmetrical molting, brown or black feathers, then your budgie may not have the necessary nutrients to successfully molt.

This process is taxing on their bodies. Enriched foods from mostly pellets and plenty of water must be given in larger helpings during a molting period.


Your budgie changes colours throughout its baby stages to becoming a juvenile and finally molting its feathers for its final adult colours.

Any colour changes that are brown, black or generally paler in colour could indicate old age.  The onset of illnesses or fungal infections could also cause darker colour changes that would require a trip to the avian vet.


We hope your budgie is healthy and happy in your home. We wish to assist with informational pieces that offer suggestions and tips, but we can never substitute the expertise and training of a medical professional.

Thanks for stopping by at BudgieRealm.com and see you again soon!