Avian Species Menu

Fischer's Lovebird

Fischer's Lovebird


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Species Organizations

National Audubon Society
Website: www.audubon.org
Cornell Lab of Orinthology
Website: www.birds.cornell.edu
The Avian Web
Website: www.avianweb.com

Classification
Order Passeriformes, Family Psittacidae
Scientific Name
Agapornis fischeri
Other Common Names
N/A
Species Description
The Fischer's Lovebird has a green back, chest, and wings. Their necks are a golden yellow and as it progresses upward it becomes darker orange. The top of the head is olive green, and the beak is bright red. The upper surface of the tail has some purple or blue feathers. It has a white circle of bare skin (eyering) around its eyes. Young birds are very similar to the adults, except for the fact that they are duller and the base of their mandible has brown markings. They are one of the smaller lovebirds, about 14 cm (5.5 in) in length and 43-58 g weight. Fischer's Lovebird has a fast, straight flight, and the sound of their wings as they fly can be heard. They have a high-pitched chirp and are noisy.

The breeding season is January through April and June through July. The nest is in a hole in a tree 2 to 15 metres above the ground. The eggs are white and there are usually four or five in a clutch, but there could be as few as three or as many as eight. The female incubates the eggs for 23 days, and the chicks fledge from the nest about 38–42 days after hatching.


Habitat
They live at elevations of 1,100-2,200 m in small flocks. They live in isolated clumps of trees with grass plains between them. The population is estimated to be between 290,000-1,000,000, with low densities outside of protected areas due to capture for the pet trade; export licenses were suspended in 1992 to halt any further decline in the species.

Distribution
Fischer's Lovebird are native to a small area of east-central Africa, south and southeast of Lake Victoria in northern Tanzania. In drought years, some birds move west into Rwanda and Burundi seeking moister conditions.

Captivity
Fischer's lovebirds are very active and require a roomy cage. They also require lots of toys and things to chew on and play with. Without a roomy cage (a minimum of 20 x 20 x 30 inches / 50 x 50 x 75 centimeters for one bird, 25 x 25 x 30 inches / 65 x 65 x 75 centimeters for a pair. Do not buy a round cage either, as they do not properly give a lovebird a corner to hide in when they feel insecure). Without enough toys (4-6) and things to play with they may get bored, depressed and may even go as far as feather-plucking, which can be difficult to stop. It is also a good idea to provide a bird bath tub, as they love to take baths almost every day. After bathing they like to sun themselves in order to dry off. However, they should not be near any windows, or they may become sick.

Summary
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.

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. Lovebirds (in general) are not known for their talking ability, although there are some lovebirds that do learn words - the females are usually the ones that do this. As is the case when many smaller parrots, the "voice" of lovebirds is high-pitched and raspy and it may be difficult to understand their speech. 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. They are also extremely active, and love to chew things. It is wise to observe the birds carefully when let out of their cage, and to protect any furniture, or anything they have access to.

Lovebirds are notorious for attempting to build nests, especially during mating season - for this reason, loose material such as shredded paper and fabric do not make suitable toys at certain times of year, as the lovebirds could see it as nest-making material and attempt to mate. Breeding is not something that should be attempted by someone without lots of experience. "Huts" or hiding places and small enclosures are also not good for the same reason.

Female lovebirds are prone to egg-binding, an often fatal condition in which an egg cannot be laid as it gets caught in the reproductive tract. It is thought that egg binding often occurs due to a lack of liquid calcium in the diet, which causes a softer shell. To prevent this females, particularly those kept in pairs, should be given calcium supplementation in their water from a young age. Additionally, egg binding appears more likely amongst younger birds; to avoid egg binding females in captivity should be prevented from engaging in mating behaviours until at least one year of age.

Lovebirds are also known to be nippy and bossy. Although this can be seen as amusing and endearing by many owners, some do not like it; a lovebird, while a nice pet, is not for everyone. They bite very hard and love to test their limits - if the owner does not set them early on, he or she will have a bird that bites to get their way.

Some species of the genus are amongst the most popular parrots kept as pets, and several color mutations have been selectively breed in aviculture. Their average lifespan is 10 to 15 years.

Lovebirds vary in size from about 13 to 17 centimeters in length and from about 40 to 60 grams in weight. They are among the smallest parrots in the world, and they are characterized by a stocky build, a short blunt tail, and a relatively large beak for their overall size.

Wild-type lovebirds are mostly green with a variety of colors on their upper body depending on the species. The Fischer's Lovebird, Black-cheeked Lovebird, and the Masked Lovebirds have a white ring around their eyes. The Abyssinian Lovebird, the Madagascar Lovebird, and the Red-faced Lovebird are sexually dimorphic. Many color mutations have been produced by selective breeding in the species that are popular in aviculture.


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