Lovebirds – Detailed Information & Photos

Lovebirds are small African parrots that are named after the affectionate, strong, monogamous pair bonds they form with their chosen mate. However, the general perception is that lovebirds bond for life; however, “divorces” can and do happen in cases of established incompatibility.

Nonetheless, bonded pairs spend extended periods throughout the day and night snuggled up together, preening and feeding each other.

Lovebirds: The social and affectionate small parrots

Peachface Lovebirds

Distribution / Range

Eight of the nine species come from Africa, the remaining one from Madagascar.

The most common species in the United States (and maybe worldwide) is the charming Peach-faced Lovebird – which have been bred in an array of beautiful color mutations. The striking-looking black-maskeds are also widely available.

Numerous feral populations exist in the United States (California, Arizona, Florida, etc.)

Lovebirds as Pets

These small parrots (sometimes also referred to as “Pocket Parrot”) have the intelligence and abilities of many of the larger parrots. They can also get quite bossy with other pets and even family members.

Masked Lovebird

Their voice apparatus allows a wide range of articulations, including the imitation of the human voice.  Although they are not known to be great talkers; and most never learn to talk at all.

If bonded to a human, they will make a very special pet indeed; ever loving as is true to its name. However, they do need a mate that spends significant time throughout the day with them – and in the absence of a bird mate – the bird owner has to fill this strong need for affection.

A pet lovebird that is given little attention is probably one of the saddest sights I can think of. On the other hand, poorly socialized or even abused lovebirds are typically very aggressive – and gaining their trust and love is very time consuming.

Not everybody is able to give this special bird the time commitment it needs.

They make lively and energetic pet birds. They are available in a variety of colors and are playful and often boisterous birds. They require an owner who is willing to provide the care and attention this animated bird adores. Birds that do not receive this attention become prone to behavioral problems, including feather picking.

Their lifespan is 10 to 15 years.

Immature Masked Lovebird (8 weeks old) - Blue Mutation, commonly referred to as blue masked)

Male Abyssinian lovebird

Description

They are small, stocky versions of parrots, with a short, blunt tail, and a large hooked upper beak.

Those found in the wild are typically green with a variety of colors on their upper body, depending on the species. Some species, like the Black-masked, Fischer’s, Black-cheeked, and the yellow-collared lovebirds, have a white ring around the eye, although many color mutations have been developed in captivity.

They measure about 5 – 7.5 inches (13 – 19 cm) in length; and average 1.5 to 2.5 oz ( 40 – 70 grams) in weight, which puts them among the smallest parrots in the world. The Peach-faced is the largest lovebird species, weighing in at from 50-60 grams. Even though Abyssinian may be slightly longer than Peach-faces, they tend to be quite slender, and Peach-faces are typically heavier.

Gender Identification: In most lovebird species, males and females look alike and the only sure method of identifying their gender may be DNA sexing (or surgical sexing).

Once they have reached maturity (when they are about one year old), there may be behavioral indicators, such as shredding paper and stuffing the paper strips into its feathers (mostly female behavior – although some males also do it) or regurgitating for its owners (male behavior as the male typically feeds the nesting female) … More on lovebird sexing.

There are 9 species, of which 8 are commonly available as pets.

Aggressive Behavior with Other Birds and Animals

Male Madagascar Lovebird (Agapornis canus canus aka Agapornis cana cana) - also commonly referred to as Grey-headed Lovebird

As loving and affectionate as these birds tend to be with their chosen mate (whether it’s another bird or a human), as aggressive they can get with those they deem to be intruders or competitors for their mate’s affection.

Their dominant and territorial nature can be a big issue with other pets — such as birds in the household, but even cats, dogs will be ferociously attacked. Because of this, their interactions with other pets should be supervised.

Even though they have been kept without too many problems in large communal settings, in cages they will fiercelessly compete for the space and are known to bite off the toes of other birds. In general, they should not be kept with smaller birds or even the docile cockatiels.

To minimize risk of injury or even death, lovebirds should be housed only with their own species with plenty of room for all.

Two Fischer's Lovebirds to the left and two Peachfaced Lovebirds to the left (one pied and one lutino)

Breeding:

The best breeding results is typically achieved when kept in a colony system (for some of the rarer species, this may not apply – please read up on the respective species pages).

A group of five or six pairs requires an aviary a minimum of three meters long (~10 feet) and one meter (~3 – 4 feet) wide. They may also be bred successfully using the cabinet system, where cabinets no less than 80 x 50 x 50 cm are (30 x 20 x 20 inches) recommended.

Hens build substantial nests and will spend a lot of time gathering twigs and other nest building materials from their surrounds. Check out this page for more information on breeding these birds.

Feral Lovebirds

Diet / Feeding

Their natural diet includes various fruits, vegetables, plant material, grasses and seed. Black-winged Lovebirds (also known as Abyssinians) also feed on insects and figs.

Black-collared Lovebirds have a special dietary requirement for native figs, making them problematic to keep in captivity.

Lovebird Diet: Proper nutrition for good health and longevity. (Please also refer back to the respective species pages for specific requirements, particularly when it relates to the rare species (listed above), which have some significant differences in nutritional requirements …


Class: Aves … Order: Psittaciformes … Family: Psittacidae … Subfamily: Psittacinae … Genus: Scientific: Agapornis … Dutch: Onafscheidelijken … German: Unzertrennliche … French: Inséparables … CITES II – Endangered Species


Peach-faced Lovebird Chicks

More Lovebirds Information

4 thoughts on “Lovebirds – Detailed Information & Photos”

  1. I have two lovebirds but I had to separate them as one lovebird
    I have two lovebirds but I had to separate them as one lovebird was attacking the other. Is this normal?

    • Lovebirds can be very…
      Lovebirds can be very aggressive. If the female is hormonal, she could kill the other lovebird she is caged with. keep them separated but in clear sight of each other. If your attacker, most likely the female, calms down put them back together but under your watchful eye. She may be ready to breed while the other is not, or you may have two of the same sex birds.

  2. Is it a myth that you need…
    Is it a myth that you need to keep love birds together. can we keep a happy healthy love bird by itself. Is it OK to have one love bird?

    • love birds are flock animals…
      love birds are flock animals so do better with their own kind as does any flock bird.. not many people have enough time to devote to this beauty. I had a lovebird, she was aggressive and couldn’t be kept with another bird. Just because they are the same species doesn’t mean they will get along, so I don’t recommend getting more than one unless you have a separate cage for the second bird. There is always a chance they won’t get along.

      In other words, it is absolutely fine to have one lovebird. However, because birds in general are “flock” animals, you will need to spend a good amount of time with the bird. When you’re home it would be nice to allow it free time out of its cage and hanging on you or cuddling in your hair or clothes, and spending a bit of quality time with it while you’re prepping meals (just keep it away from dangers such as boiling water, hot stove tops, or ceiling fans) or just sitting watching tv. You DON’T need to spend the better part of your day with the bird, but setting aside special times each day will be very beneficial to your relationship and keeping a happy bird.

      If you work most of the day and the bird will be relegated to its cage (as it should when unsupervised), be sure you have a very spacious cage, and consider getting a lovebird playmate. In this case, I would suggest getting BOTH BIRDS AT THE SAME TIME so that they can share a cage from the get-go. They can be quite territorial so introducing a new bird to one you already have is tricky sometimes.

      If introducing a new bird, you should have two cages and allow for slow, supervised introduction. You might even put the current bird in a new cage and let the new bird have the first (and hopefully larger) cage for a few weeks, so that it can establish a bit of its own territory in the larger cage while keeping the two cages nearby each other. After you feel sure they are playing and enjoying each other’s company, only then should you try supervised cage sharing.

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