Avian Species Menu

Peach-faced Lovebird

Peach-faced 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 roseicollis
Other Common Names
Rosy-faced Lovebird
Species Description
It is a fairly small bird, 17–18 cm long with an average wing length of 106 mm and tail length of 44–52 mm. Wild birds are mostly green with a blue rump. The face and throat are pinkish, darkest on the forehead and above the eye. The bill is greenish-yellow, the iris is brown and the legs and feet are grey. Juvenile birds have a paler face and throat and a brownish cere. It has various harsh, shrieking calls.

The diet mainly consists of seeds and berries. When food is plentiful, it may gather in flocks containing hundreds of birds. It can sometimes be a pest in agricultural areas feeding on crops such as millet.

Finding a pair of these birds for breeding is not easy because their sex is not easily determined. The sex can be determined by the pelvis bones which in males measure 1-3 mm while measuring 6-8 mm in females. The nest is built in a rock crevice or within a compartment of the large communal nests built by Sociable Weavers. Man-made structures such as the roofs of houses may also be used. 4-6 eggs are laid between February and April. They are dull white and measure 23.5 mm by 17.3 mm. They are incubated for about 23 days. The young birds fledge after 43 days.


Habitat
It lives up to 1,600 metres above sea-level in broad-leaved woodland, semi-desert, and mountainous areas. It is dependent on the presence of water sources and gathers around pools to drink.

Distribution
It inhabits dry, open country in southwest Africa. Its range extends from southwest Angola across most of Namibia to the lower Orange River valley in northwest South Africa. Escapes from captivity are frequent in many parts of the world and feral birds dwell in Arizona and London.

Captivity
Peach-faced Lovebirds require a variety of foods, including vegetables, seeds, and fruits; nevertheless, some human foods are unsuitable or poisonous for them, including dairy products, chocolate, cheese, avocado, rhubarb, and strawberries (which contain trace amounts of carcinogenic pesticides). Perishable food that has been placed in the birds' housing for more than 24 hours is also likely to be unsuitable. Grapes, carrots, beans, squash, corn, millet, quinoa, and winterwheat are excellent foods. They can also eat various manufactured food pellets and pastas. Suitable seed and pellet mixes include a large array of different seed types.

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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