Black-collared Lovebird (Agapornis swinderniana)

The Black-collared Lovebird (Agapornis swinderniana) – also referred to as Swindern’s Lovebird – is a rare lovebird species that was discovered by Heinrich Kuhl in 1820.

Its name commemorates the Dutch professor, Theodore van Swinderen, of Groningen University.

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    Black-collared Lovebird

    Distribution / Range

    The Black-collared Lovebirds are distributed across a wide range in equatorial Africa.

    Specifically, they occur in the forests of Cameroon, Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia and Uganda.

    These shy birds typically hide high in the forest canopy and are difficult to spot.

    Black-collared Lovebird (Agapornis swinderniana) - also referred to as Swindern’s Lovebird


    These small lovebirds typically measure 13 – 13.5 cm in length (~5 in) long (including tail) and weight between 39 – 41 grams (1.8 – 1.5 oz).

    The plumage is mostly green, slightly paler on the head and upper body and back. Its most distinctive marking is the characteristic black half collar at the nape (back of the neck).

    The chest is orange or olive-yellow, merging into yellow on the belly. The rump has bright blue and red markings. They have blue upper tail feathers and the root of tail is red.

    The feet, legs and beak are grey to black, the beak is black, and the irises are yellow.

    Males and females are similarly marked.

    Immatures: The plumage of juveniles is generally paler. They either lack the black band to the nape (back of the neck) or it is very faint. The bill is pale grey with a blackish base and the irises are brown.

    Their average lifespan is 10 to 15 years.

    Black-collared Lovebird (Agapornis swinderniana) - also referred to as Swindern’s Lovebird - STAMPS

    Black-collared Lovebird

    Sub-species, including nominate form:

    • Black-collared or Swindern’s Love Bird, Agapornis gapornis swinderniana swinderniana – Nominate Species … Range: Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana
      • Cameroon Black-collared Lovebird,Agapornis swindernianus zenkeri (Reichenow 1895 )
        • Range: Cameroon and Gabon, East / Western Regions of Central African Republic, Congo
        • ID and Additional Info: The yellow area below the half collar at the nape is extended and is orange. It is also somewhat larger than the nominate species and has a slightly brighter green plumage. This particular species was successfully kept by a missionary named Father Hutsebour, who kept them alive on a diet consisting of sycamore figs. Attempts to maintain them with a different diet failed and these birds died within a few days. This species has never been successfully exported.
      • Ituri Black-collared Lovebird or Emin’s Lovebird, Agapornis swindernianus emini (Neumann, 1908)
        • Range: Central Congo, Uganda

    Captivity / Aviculture

    The Black-collared Lovebird is relatively unknown in Europe, Americas and other countries as its dietary requirement for native figs have been blamed for the lack of success in keeping this species in captivity.

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      Without certain native (fresh) fig seed, fig flesh and rice as a base diet, these lovebirds died within days leading many to believe that this species cannot be adapted to life in captivity.

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        Although there are some unverified reports of successfully maintaining some as pets and even breeding several color mutations – none have been confirmed.

        Potential Problems / Training and Behavioral Guidance:

        Black-collared lovebirds are not readily available in aviculture and little is known about their pet potential. Should captive birds be available, every effort should be made to place them into a well-managed breeding program to conserve this species for future generations.

        Little is known pertaining to their personality and pet potential. Should individual birds not be suitable for a breeding program and you are considering it as a pet, the below information may be of value …

        Lovebirds, in general, are pretty easy to manage for most people. They are not as destructive and noisy as their larger cousins. If not properly socialized, however, they will discover their beaks as method of “disciplining us”.

        It really is important to learn to understand them and to guide their behavior before an undesirable behavior has been established. There are few things to consider …

        • Biting: If not properly socialized, however, they will discover their beaks as method of “disciplining us”. They can be very aggressive towards other animals (including birds), if they don’t know them or are jealous of the attention they are getting from their favorite human.
        • Noise: Lovebirds are very vocal birds, making loud, high-pitched noises that can be a nuisance. They make noise all day, but especially at certain times of day.
        • Chewing: As stated above, lovebirds are also very active, and love to chew things. When they are let out of their cage, it would be wise to watch them carefully, and protect any furniture, electrical wiring or anything else that they could possibly chew on. They are not big chewers – as their preferred medium is “paper.”
        • Paper: They love to tear up paper — especially when they are in the “mating” spirit — which is all-year-round for birds kept indoors (not exposed to the seasons). I have learned not to keep important papers laying around – and even use it as a way to keep my lovebird busy.


        Lovebirds can start breeding when they are as young as ten months of age and may continue until they are five to six years. They are very prolific and may produce several egg clutches within a single year. Due to this, they are usually readily available on the pet market.

        During breeding season the behavior between partners will change: the male displays a more aggressive behavior, while the female begins preparing the nest. There are specific nesting boxes for lovebird-size birds, but if not available a cockatiel nesting box will do just fine. Samples of available nest boxes.

        The female constructs the nests; and she incubates the three to six eggs for about twenty-three days. She raises the hatchlings until they leave the nest when they are about six weeks old. At this point, the father takes over the feeding of the fledglings for another two weeks or so until they are weaned and independent.

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          Note: Captive breeding of this species is complex and should be handled by the most experienced aviculturist.


          Species: Scientific: Agapornis swindernianus swindernianus aka Agapornis swinderniana swinderniana… English: Black-collared Lovebird, Swindern’s Lovebird … Dutch: Zwartkraagagapornis, Groenkopagapornis … German: Grünköpfchen, Von Swinderns Unzertrennlicher … French: Inséparable de Van Swindern


          Cameroon Black-collared Lovebirds:

          Species: Scientific: Agapornis swindernianus zenkeri aka Agapornis swinderniana zenkeri / Agapornis swinderniana emini … English: Cameroon Black-collared Lovebird … Dutch: Zenkers Zwartkraagagapornis … German: Zenkers Grünkopfchen … French: Inséparable à collet noire de Zenker

          Emin Black-collared Lovebirds:

          Species: Scientific: Agapornis swindernianus emini aka Agapornis swinderniana emini … English: Emin Black-collared Lovebird … Dutch: Emin Zwartkraagagapornis … German: Emin Grünköpfchen … French: Inséparable de Emin

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