Lovebird is the commonly used name for the genus, Agapornis (from the Greek αγάπη, agape, for love, and όρνις, ornis, for Bird), and can refer to any of the nine species of the genus. They are a social and affectionate small parrot. Eight species of the genus are native to the African continent and the Madagascar Lovebird is native to Madagascar.
The name Lovebird stems from these parrots' strong, monogamous pair bonding and the long periods of time in which paired birds will spend sat beside one another. This is reflected by the bird's name in other languages: in German, "die Unzertrennlichen", and in French "les inséparables", both meaning "the inseparables".
Lovebirds live in small flocks and eat mainly fruit, vegetables, some grasses and seed. Abyssinian Lovebirds also eat insects and figs, and the Black-collared Lovebirds have a special dietary requirement for native figs making them almost impossible to keep in captivity.
Some species of the genus are amongst the most popular parrots kept as pets, and several colour mutations have been selectively breed in aviculture. Their average lifespan is 10 to 15 years.
The lovebird genus comprises nine species of which five are monotypic and four are divided into subspecies. Eight of them are native in the mainland of Africa and the Madagascar Lovebird is native to Madagascar. In the wild the different species are separated geographically.
Species and subspecies:
|Common and binomial names||Photograph||Description||Range|
or Rosy-faced Lovebird
|15 cm (6 in) long. Mostly green, orange face, blue lower back and rump, horn-coloured beak||Africa|
or Yellow-collared Lovebird
|14 cm (5.5 in) long. Mostly green, black head, yellow upper chest continuous with yellow collar, red beak, white eyerings||Africa|
|14 cm (5.5 in) long. Mostly green, orange upper body and head, blue lower back and rump, red beak, white eyerings||Africa|
or Nyasa Lovebird
|13 cm (5 in) long. Mostly green including green back and green rump, orange head, red beak, white eyerings||Africa|
|14 cm (5.5 in) long. Mostly green, brownish-black cheeks and throat, reddish-brown forehead and forecrown, orange upper chest, red beak, white eyerings||Africa|
or Madagascar Lovebird
|13 cm (5 in) long. Mostly green with darker green on back, pale grey beak. Sexual dimorphism: male has a grey upper body, neck and head.||Madagascar|
or Black-winged Lovebird
|16.5 cm (6.5 in) long. Mostly green, red beak, some black wing feathers. Sexual dimorphism: only the male has red on forehead and crown, females plumage is all green||Africa|
or Red-faced Lovebird
|15 cm (6 in) long. Mostly green with red on upper neck and face. Sexual dimorphism: the male has more extensive and a darker red on face and head, and the male has a darker red beak than the female||Africa|
or Swindern's Lovebird
|13.5 cm (5 in) long. Mostly green, brown collar which has a black upper margin at the back of the neck, dark grey/black beak||Africa|
Lovebirds have the potential to make great pets for those who have the patience and time required of any parrot species. Because of their inclination to bond, they can form great long-term relationships with people.
Provided with adequate flying space, a stimulating environment, and appropriate nutrition a lovebird can become cherished companion parrot. They love to snuggle and often preen their favorite people.
Like with any other pet, it is essential that the person makes sure the birds they are about to buy were bred in captivity, rather than caught from the wild. Besides conservational and ethical reasons, animals caught wild are more likely to get sick and to die. Lovebirds, especially when kept individually or brought up hand-fed, make very good pets. They can be very interactive with humans, and when comfortable, will willingly perch on a finger or shoulders. Lovebirds rarely talk, but there is a chance they may learn to mimic human sounds if taught to at a young age. Lovebirds have a fairly loud call.
Lovebirds are very vocal birds, making loud, high-pitched noises. Some make noise all day, especially during the first morning hours.Untamed birds will call even more than tame birds.
Lovebirds are also very active, and love to chew things. When they are flying within a household, it is wise to watch them carefully and protect any furniture, electrical wiring or anything else that they could possibly chew on.Try to place fresh willow or oak branches in a favorite spot to satisfy this natural behaviour.
Lovebirds are all of the genus Agapornis and can produce offspring with other lovebirds within the same genus. The cross-species hybrids are sterile. It is recommended to only place birds of the same species together, or of the same sex, for the sake of the potentially faulted hybrid offspring.Conversely, forced inbreeding(given a large choice lovebirds will not naturally inbreed) is also not recommended and will result in smaller, more infertile, poorly animals.