When did budgerigars become first become popular as pets in Europe?

The explorer and naturalist John Gould probably brought the first live budgerigars back to Britain from Australia about 1840. They passed into the care of his brother-in-law, Charles Coxen and soon bred, heralding the start of a great interest in these lively parakeets as parlour pets of the rising Victorian middle class.

At this stage, all budgerigars were light green in colour. It was not until the 1870s that the first of the many thousands of colour variants now available was recorded from Belgium. By the 1880s, there were huge breeding establishments in France, housing as many as 100,000 budgerigars, to meet the demand for these parakeets throughout Europe. As further colours emerged, so prices boomed, with the first pair of white budgerigars reputedly being sold to Japan for far more than the cost of an average house at that stage.