Lovebirds belong to the genus of Agapornis which is a small group of parrots in the Old world parrot family Psittaculidae. The genus Agapornis has a total of nine species and eight of the species are native to the African continent. Only the grey-headed lovebirds are known to be the native of Madagascar.
The love birds are considered to be social and very affectionate and the name comes from the parrot’s strong and monogamous relationship that the pair of two birds have built with each other. Love birds are known to live in small flocks and mostly eat fruits, vegetables, grasses, and seeds. The Black-winged lovebirds are known to be the only species of love birds that also eat insects and figs and the black-coloured lovebirds have a special dietary requirement for the native figs which usually makes it very problematic for keeping them in captivity.
Few species of lovebirds are also kept as pets and for aviculture, many love birds are bred with several colour mutations. When it is kept in captivity, the average lifespan of a lovebird ranges from twenty years to thirty years.
In this article, we are going to discuss about love birds, their lifespan, habitats, description of American love birds, and also a few of the most important and frequently asked questions will also be answered.
What is a Lovebird?
Lovebirds are energetic, joyful, and lovely to look at. These little 'pocket' parrots are fascinating! Lovebirds are native to Africa's arid areas. They are well-suited to confinement since they originated in a hostile habitat. These lovely, vividly coloured tiny companions are not only friendly but are also resilient and easy to care for. They may also be able to assist you in having a good breeding experience.
Lovebirds dwell in flocks in the wild. They frequently form lifelong bonds with their mates and are very devoted and affectionate to their families. You will receive the same intense loyalty from your tiny companions if you can gain their hearts as young birds. Both their keepers and their partner are extremely sociable animals.
The benefits of having only one lovebird may be incredible. A pet lovebird's extraordinarily determined spirit may far outstrip that of other tiny parrots, both in terms of learning tricks and displaying affection. A lovebird maintained alone, on the other hand, will require a lot of care and attention to survive due to their intense attachment.
Lovebirds are also known to be very loyal to their companion as they have been observed not switching from one companion to another whether it's a bird or a human whom they have known for years.
Description of a Lovebird
The lovebird is a tiny stocky parrot that ranges in size from 5.1 to 6.7 inches in length. They have a big beak and either a circular or square tail. They live for an average of 10 to 12 years, with some surviving much longer. The lovebird has been known to live for 17 years, and some people have stated that their birds have lived much longer. Lovebirds maintained in captivity have also been known to survive for up to 25 years in the past.
The colours and patterns of various lovebird species help to distinguish them. They come in a wide range of colours, and each species has its own set of combinations. Younger birds have a fuller appearance and black in their beaks. As the birds grow older, their colouration becomes more vibrant. Adult lovebirds, regardless of species, are stunning parrots.
Three of the nine species of lovebirds are regularly offered as pets. The remaining six are more uncommon, and in some cases, non-existent in the United States. Peach-faced Lovebirds, Masked Lovebirds, and Fischer's Lovebirds are the three most common species, and all three make excellent pets. Lovebirds have a wide range of colour variations that have evolved from these three main species. This is particularly true of the Peach-faced Lovebird, which may be produced with hundreds of distinct mutations. As a result, there is a slew of new lovebird hues to choose from.
Diet of the Love Birds
A well-balanced diet of the love birds consist of the following:
About 70-80% of the lovebird diet is made up of specialized pellets, vegetables, fruits, and small amounts of fortified seeds.
Vegetables are also considered to be the go-to meal for many love birds as it is very healthy. Freshly harvested or the overheated seeds of the beet, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cucumber, cabbages, fresh beans, fresh peas, all pepper varieties, and all squash varieties are usually fed to the lovebirds.
Lovebirds have been known to have acidity problems and that is the reason that most of the veterinarians suggest the owners do not offer fresh tomatoes to the parrots as they could permanently cause ulcers. Onions and garlic should also be avoided since the chemical components found in them have the potential to induce anaemia. Celery is not harmful; however, before giving it to parrots, the stringy component should be removed. Mushrooms should also be avoided as they have very high oxalic acid content.
The American love birds are also not fed avocado, fruit seeds, chocolate, caffeine, or alcohol as these can cause serious medical conditions.
Nesting Behaviour of the Lovebirds
The female will bring nesting material into the nest in a variety of methods, depending on the type of lovebird. The masked lovebird brings nesting material back in its mouth, whereas the peach-faced lovebird tucks nesting material into the feathers of its rump. Mating will begin after the lovebirds begin building their nest. The lovebirds will mate several times throughout this period. 3–5 days later, the eggs arrive. Before laying eggs, the female would spend hours inside her nesting box. Following the initial egg, a fresh egg will be laid every other day until the clutch is full, which is usually four to six eggs. Lovebirds can lay eggs even if they don't have a nest or a mate.
An Undomesticated Population of the Lovebirds
Fischer's lovebirds and masked lovebirds are seen in large numbers in East African cities. Between these two species, there are interspecific hybrids. The hybrid looks like the masked lovebird except for the reddish-brown head and orange on the upper breast.
Lovebirds that have gone rogue have been spotted in Arizona and Texas, among other places in the Southwest. In Southern California, feral colonies of many species have been discovered.
A localized variant is known as an African Lovebird breed aggressively in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It's normal to see other smaller species beheaded overnight in an aviary with smaller birds. Within three weeks, the remaining companion also passes away.
In South Africa, there are two feral colonies in the Pretoria region: Silver Lakes, Faerie Glen, and Centurion. They are most likely the result of aviary birds escaping. They are mostly masked, black cheeked, Fischer, and hybrid birds that come in a variety of colours. In many situations, white and yellow, as well as blue, are present. The white ringed eyes stand out a lot.
Care and Feeding of the Love Birds
In the wild, birds are known to feed on seeds, berries, fruits, grasses, leaf buds, and crops of corn, maize, and figs. Their food and water bowls should be made of pottery or porcelain, as plastic will be pecked.
Formulated diets, either pellet or extruded, seed-only diets, and tiny parrot mixes with a combination of both are available for Lovebirds. There are advantages and disadvantages to feeding solely a formulated food or simply a seed diet.
Vitamins are not required in a formulated diet since it offers a strong nutritional foundation. On the other hand, it lacks the phytonutrients present in vegetables, fruits, cereals, and seeds. Phytonutrients are thought to assist the immune system, repair the body, and prevent certain illnesses. Furthermore, owing to the lack of diversity in prepared food, parrots may get bored.
The seed-only diet on the other hand offers a vast variety but it requires additional vitamins and calcium supplements. A psychological enrichment is required along with the nutrition while keeping in mind the diet of the lovebirds.
A single lovebird's daily diet will consist of 1 1/2 to 2 ounces or 45-60 grams of feed. A meal consisting of a tiny parrot mix plus a range of nutrients and vitamins is commonly recommended. A tailored diet that includes greens, fruits, and vegetable supplements but no additional vitamins is also considered appropriate and is becoming more popular.
Fresh vegetables, greens, tree branches for the bark, certain fruits, and millet spray are among the supplements. Berries, apples, grapes, pears, bananas, and kiwi are just a few of the fruit supplements available. Spinach, endive, watercress, chickweed, radish, parsley, dandelions, carrot tops, corn on the cob, peas, endive, field lettuce, and different garden herbs are among the greens and vegetable supplements.
Nuts can be used as a source of additional protein. Unshelled peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, and chestnuts are all good choices.
Calcium can be provided via a cuttlebone or gravel and oyster shell in a separate dish. Avocados should not be fed to birds since it is harmful to them. Vitamins can be added to meals or ingested through the water. Because love birds drink a lot of water, they will require new drinking water daily.
Social Behaviour of the Love Birds
Lovebirds are highly sociable birds, both as pets and in the wild. In most cases, it is considered that keeping them in pairs, rather than individually, is vital for their health and pleasure. If you're maintaining a solitary lovebird, you'll need to offer the social contract that another bird would give. These birds form strong bonds with their keepers or mates.
Lovebirds can be violent toward other birds, in addition to their sociable behaviour toward you or their mate. You must ensure that all pairings get along and that they are genuine "pairs" rather than mismatched. During the breeding season and all year, bonded pairs groom each other frequently and feed each other from the crop.
These tiny birds will talk nonstop all day. If they are frightened by a loud noise, see a possible predator, or it becomes chilly and windy, they will retreat to their nest box.
To maintain the good health of the loved birds it is very important that the birdhouses and other accessories are maintained clean and are in good condition. The primary cage care includes doing tasks such as daily cleaning of the water and food dishes.
Breeding and Reproduction of the Love Birds
The love birds are considered to be the most easily breedable species of parrots. Each pair of breeding lovebirds will require two nest boxes for sleeping and nesting. These boxes must be of the same type and size, and they must be positioned on the same wall at the same height.
Single couples of lovebirds will happily reproduce, and certain species of lovebirds can be produced in a colony environment. The white eye-ring group of lovebirds is especially well-suited to a colony.
Lovebirds need to be at least ten months old even though twelve to thirteen months is suggested by many and also love birds that are five to six years old should be retired from breeding.
Females have a larger body than men and sit more widely with their legs apart, whilst males sit more upright. The tail of a female is more square, whereas the tail of a male is more rounded. When it comes to nesting behaviour, the female will perform the majority of the effort.
An anal examination can be performed, but accurate sexing of these birds requires skill. The ossa pubes are two bones on the ventral side of the pelvis that are spaced farther apart in the female than in the male.
The Sexing of the Lovebirds Usually Falls into Three Categories:
Dimorphic Types: The first group can be characterized as dimorphic since they have varied external appearances.
The first group consist of Abyssinian Lovebird Agapornis taranta, Madagascar Lovebird Agapornis cana, and Red-faced Lovebird Agapornis pullaria
Intermediate Types: The second or the intermediate group is harder to differentiate by appearance. This group consist of Peach-faced Lovebirds Agapornis roseicollis and Black-collared Lovebird Agapornis swinderniana
Monomorphic Types: There are no discernible variations between the third group, the white eye-ring group. The sexing of the white eye-ring group can be done with a surgical probe, endoscopy, or DNA testing.
If anyone is breeding lovebirds in a colony, it is critical to provide far more nest boxes than there are pairs of birds in order to avoid fighting. All of the nest boxes should be identical and installed at the same height as the enclosure. Also, keep an eye out for fighting, as it might result in death.
The female will lay approximately 5 eggs, however, the clutch size might range from 3 to 8 eggs. The eggs hatch after 22 to 25 days of incubation, with 75 to 80 percent of the eggs hatching. After the second egg hatches, the hen will begin to brood. The male will frequently join the hen in the nest. The chicks will begin to leave the nest in approximately 38 - 50 days and will be self-sufficient in about 2 weeks.
Did You Know?
Love birds do not mimic human voice or don't talk: Although love birds are one of the species of parrots many people tend to get confused with the fact that they might also speak or mimic the ability of humans to speak they do not have the ability to do so. Lovebirds aren't among the species that most people think of when they think of talking birds. This is due to the fact that they rarely choose to talk, and when they do, they frequently replicate basic noises like whistles or home sounds like doorbells and microwaves. It's unclear why certain lovebirds are more prone to imitating speech than others, but it's commonly assumed that those who do learn to speak are trained from an early age.
Lovebirds come in a variety of shapes and sizes. These little parrots are divided into nine subspecies, each with its own set of features and characteristics. Masked lovebirds, Black-cheeked lovebirds, Fischer's lovebirds, Nyasa lovebirds, Swindern's lovebirds, red-faced lovebirds, Abyssinian lovebirds, Madagascar lovebirds, and the famous peach-faced lovebirds are among them. The most popular lovebird is the peach-faced lovebird, which has a rainbow of yellow, green, and blue on its body as well as beautiful peachy-pink faces. While the many species of lovebirds range in appearance and behaviour, they all survive in captivity for up to 20 years on average.
Lovebirds are among the tiniest members of the parrot family while being genuine parrots. When measured from the beak to the end of the tailfeathers, most lovebirds are between 5 and 7 inches long at maturity. Their tiny size has contributed to their appeal among individuals who live in flats and other cramped quarters. Many of these bird lovers have discovered that keeping a smaller parrot like a macaw or cockatoo is simpler than keeping a larger parrot like a macaw or cockatoo.
Lovebirds, like other parrots, are very active birds who require a lot of activity to keep in good shape. Adopters of lovebirds must be willing and able to provide their feathery companion with a bird-safe space to play outside of its cage for many hours each day. This will allow the bird to exercise all of its muscle groups, as well as give essential cerebral stimulation for these very clever creatures.
It is a commonly held belief that you should never keep a single lovebird and that they will die of depression if they are not maintained in pairs. While it is true that they are very sociable birds who thrive on connection and must be socially stimulated, single lovebirds should be kept in the majority of situations. This is because these birds reproduce rapidly in captivity, and most bird owners are unable to care for a large family of parrots. It's also worth mentioning that birds maintained in pairs are more likely to bond with one another and avoid human contact. Those who want their bird to be friendly and open to being handled by humans have discovered that keeping birds alone and spending as much time as possible playing and interacting with them is the best way to meet their requirements.