There are nine species of lovebirds, and all belong to the genus Agapornis, though only a few are typically available as pets; namely the peach-faced, masked and Fisher’s lovebirds. Lovebirds are so named because of their strong pair bonds. Lovebirds range in size from just over 5 inches to just over 6 ½ inches, which makes them among the smaller parrot species. Lovebirds have short, blunt tail feathers, unlike budgies (“parakeets”), which have long pointed tails, and lovebirds are also stockier.
Lovebird species can be divided into those with prominent white eye rings — the masked (A. personata), the Fischer’s (A. fischeri), the black-cheeked (A. nigrigenis) and the Nyasa (A. lilianae) — and those without an eye ring — peach-faced (A. roseicollis), black-winged, or Abyssinian, (A. taranta), red-headed, or red-faced, (A. pullarius), Madagascar, or grey-headed, (A. canus) and the black-collared, or Swindern’s, (A. swindernianus) lovebird. Some lovebird species come in many color mutations, which are produced by selective breeding to bring out certain color traits.
In the wild, lovebirds live in small flocks and eat fruit, vegetables, grasses as well as seed. The Abyssinian, or black-winged lovebird, has a specialized diet that includes native figs, which is why they are so rare in captivity.
Native Region / Natural Habitat
Most lovebird species are native to the continent of Africa; the exception is the Madagascar (grey-headed) lovebird, which is native to the island of Madagascar.
Personality & Behavior
Lovebirds might be small but they are bold, inquisitive, curious and always on the go. Many people believe lovebirds come in pairs because they are often see photos of two lovebirds cuddled up against one another. No doubt, a lovebird often forms a deep bond with another lovebird. Potential owners should be aware, however, that a lovebird pair might choose not to interact with people, as they will be thoroughly focussed on each other. A single lovebird companion needs plenty of social interaction with the people in his/her life, as well as plenty of busy work in the form of toys and safe items to chew up and destroy. A female lovebird can become highly defensive of her territory (cage).
Speech & Sounds
Lovebirds are a chatty bunch, singing and whistling all day long, and are especially vocal at dawn and dusk. They are not known for their talking ability, but their song is pleasant, more so than many other companion parrots. The more lovebirds you acquire (and it’s hard to buy just one) the noisier they will become. They are flocking birds in the wild and love to talk to one another.
Care & Feeding
Like most birds, lovebirds love to exercise and require the largest cage that your budget and space can afford. Lovebirds that are cooped up in a small cage and never given any freedom tend to become neurotic and can develop self-mutilating habits. With proper care and a well-balanced diet, a lovebird can live between 12 and 15 or more years.
Health & Common Conditions
Lovebirds are susceptible to Chlamydiosis, self-mutilation as well as nutritional deficiencies related to an inadequate diet, especially if fed a mostly seed diet.
Get a Lovebird
Lovebirds are readily available in most pet stores, as well as from bird breeders.