Last Updated on November 17, 2023 by Ali Shahid
Lovebirds, often called pocket-size parrots, are the smallest in the parrot world, but they’re still full of love and energy. The sound of their chirping will fill the air in your home. Lovebirds come in nine species, all in the same genus Agapornis, but only peach-faced lovebirds, Fischer lovebirds, and black-masked lovebirds are commonly kept as pets.
There are several varieties of these small cute parrots with unique coloring, some of which become even more beautiful due to mutations, such as Dutch blue lovebirds, opaline lovebirds, lutino lovebirds, etc.
Mostly found in Central Africa and Madagascar, they love be live in pairs and often form bonds for the rest of their lives. It is only when a lovebird dies that they look for another. In captivity, animals follow the same rituals and should be kept in pairs for their well-being if they are not allowed enough time.
However, if you want to make a bond with a lovebird, it is advisable to buy a single lovebird, as a pair of lovebirds will form a relationship and bond between themselves and will never be interested in you.
If you are considering getting a lovebird or already have one and would like to learn more about the care, feeding, and other information related to lovebirds, this article is for you.
Origin and History
Lovebirds, part of the Agapornis genus, hail from mainland Africa and Madagascar. These charming birds inhabit diverse environments, ranging from forests and savannas to deserts and mountains.
Different lovebird species are spread across various locations in their natural habitat. Notably, feral lovebird populations have been documented in the Southwestern United States, specifically in Arizona, Texas, and Southern California. It is believed that these feral groups originated from escaped or abandoned birds.
Lovebirds are adept at dwelling in cavities like tree hollows, rocks, or shrubs. Some species opt for communal nesting in the wild, while others form pairs and establish their nests independently. Interestingly, lovebirds are adaptable to coexisting with human settlements, choosing locations like farms, parks, and gardens.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categorizes the black-cheeked lovebird as Vulnerable, the Nyasa and Fischer’s lovebird as Near Threatened, and the remaining species as Least Concern.
Factors like habitat destruction and the pet trade influence this classification. The peach-faced lovebird, indigenous to southwestern Africa, thrives in arid environments bordering deserts, sparse woodlands, and mountainous terrain. Despite their resilience, these lovebirds rely on the availability of water.
Lovebirds primarily sustain themselves on a diet of seeds, grains, nuts, and flowers. Occasionally, they are deemed pests due to their tendency to feed on agricultural crops like millet. This delicate balance in their ecosystem underscores the intricate relationship between lovebirds and their surroundings.
Different Species of Lovebirds
Lovebirds, all members of the Agapornis genus, are classified in the Psittaciformes order because of their parrot status. There are nine distinct species of lovebirds:
- Masked or Yellow-collared Lovebirds
- Black-cheeked Lovebirds.
- Nyasa or Liliana Lovebirds.
- Peach-faced or Rosy-faced Lovebirds.
- Fischer’s Lovebirds.
- Abyssinian or Black-winged Lovebirds.
- Black-Collared Lovebirds
- Red-headed or Red-faced Lovebirds
- Madagascar or Grey-headed Lovebirds
Lovebird species can be categorized into those with prominent white eye rings, including the Masked, Yellow-collared, Fischer’s, Black-cheeked, and Nyasa Lovebirds, and those without an eye ring, such as Peach-faced, Black-winged, Red-headed, Madagascar, and Black-collared Lovebirds.
Some species exhibit various color mutations resulting from selective breeding to emphasize specific color traits. Out of the nine species, only three are commonly considered suitable as pets. The Peach-faced Lovebirds, with their vibrant mix of yellow, green, and blue feathers and distinctive pink faces, are particularly popular among pet enthusiasts.
The Black-cheeked, Fischer’s, and Nyasa Lovebirds are the only species with conservation concerns. Fischer’s Lovebird, known for its delightful temperament, is another excellent choice as a pet.
Selective breeding is often employed to enhance specific traits and variations in the appearance of lovebirds. This practice contributes to the diverse and captivating array of lovebird species available in the pet trade.
Size and Coloration
Lovebirds are a hit among bird enthusiasts due to their diverse sizes and colors. These tiny cuties typically measure between 5 to 7 inches, boasting a wingspan of up to 24 cm and a weight ranging from 40 to 60 g. Identified by their robust build, stubby tails, and sizable, sharp beaks, lovebirds exhibit a spectrum of hues such as peach, teal, white, and green.
Their vibrant heads and faces often contrast with the rest of their feathers. Certain species flaunt distinctive white eye rings, while others do without this feature. The peach-faced lovebird stands out for its array of color mutations, attracting particular attention.
Notable varieties like Fischer’s lovebird, black-cheeked lovebird, and masked lovebird sport conspicuous white eye rings. In contrast, the Abyssinian, Madagascar, and red-faced lovebirds display dimorphism, enabling easy differentiation between males and females based on feather color.
Lovebirds, in general, are reasonably priced and compact parrots celebrated for their lively demeanor. Accommodating their active nature requires a relatively spacious cage.
Personality and Behavior
Lovebirds are renowned for their spirited, inquisitive, and playful nature. They engage in constant chattering, seeking refuge in their nest box when startled by sudden noises, potential threats, or adverse weather conditions.
These sociable avian companions form deep connections with their human owners, exhibiting a penchant for cuddliness. Maintaining an active lifestyle, lovebirds thrive on interaction and playtime. Their vocal prowess is evident as they sing, whistle, and even mimic speech throughout the day.
Despite their endearing qualities, lovebirds can display territorial and jealous tendencies if not appropriately tamed from a young age. While some experts suggest that female lovebirds may be more prone to jealousy and territorial behavior, birds of both genders can possess delightful personalities.
Ideally kept as pairs, lovebirds can also adapt to a single-companion setup with sufficient social interaction and an array of toys. Opting for a pair is advisable for those unable to invest ample time in interaction. Conversely, if forming a close bond with a lovebird is the goal and ample time can be devoted, a single lovebird is a suitable choice.
Sociality is a defining trait of lovebirds, and maintaining them in pairs is generally considered vital for their well-being and happiness. Single lovebirds require dedicated social interaction to compensate for the absence of an avian companion. These birds develop strong loyalties to their keeper or mates, emphasizing the need for compatibility among paired individuals. Mixing different species of lovebirds should be avoided to prevent conflicts.
Bonded pairs engage in mutual grooming and share nourishment, a behavior that extends beyond the breeding season. The harmonious coexistence of paired lovebirds is crucial for their overall contentment and companionship.
Speech and Sound
Lovebirds are lively, filling the air with constant singing and whistling throughout the day. Despite their vocal prowess, it’s worth noting that lovebirds don’t typically engage in human-like conversation. Instead, they prefer to communicate amongst themselves. While they may not be renowned for their talking skills, the melodic quality of their songs surpasses that of many other pet parrots.
The charm of lovebirds lies in their delightful chirps and melodious sounds, serving to express their emotions and communicate with others. The range and nature of these vocalizations can vary based on factors such as species, individual characteristics, and the specific situation.
Lovebirds exhibit diverse sounds, including chirps, songs, and various calls, each conveying a different emotional state. These social creatures use their vocalizations to express happiness, contentment, or even distress. The significance of these sounds extends beyond mere communication; they play a pivotal role in the intricate interactions between lovebirds and their human companions.
Care and Diet
Lovebirds enjoy their baths, whether in a shallow dish or a gentle mist of lukewarm water. Perching on the edge, lovebirds dip their heads and upper bodies into the water while flapping their wings when they bathe in a dish.
This bathing method is their preferred way of getting clean instead of fully immersing themselves in water. Lovebirds keep their nails and beaks clean by chewing and climbing. However, talking to your vet about nail trimming is a good idea to ensure they stay healthy.
In the wild, lovebirds eat a variety of foods like seeds, berries, fruits, grains, grasses, leaf buds, and crops like corn, maize, and figs. Typically, one lovebird consumes one 1/2 to two ounces (45-60 grams) of feed on a daily basis.
A recommended diet includes a small parrot mix with vitamins or a formulated diet with greens, fruits, and vegetables without extra vitamins—a more modern approach. Supplementation should consist of fresh vegetables, a variety of fruits, and millet spray. My lovebirds love to eat berries, apples, grapes, pears, bananas, and Kiwis.
Greens and vegetable supplements include spinach, endive, watercress, chickweed, radish, parsley, dandelions, carrot tops, corn on the cob, peas, field lettuce, and various garden herbs. It is also a good idea to include protein sources such as nuts, such as peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, and chestnuts.
For calcium, offer a cuttlebone or gravel with an oyster shell in a separate dish. Avoid giving avocados, as they can be harmful to birds. Choose earthenware or porcelain dishes for their food and water, as lovebirds tend to chew plastic, which can be dangerous. Because they drink a lot of water, be sure to change their water dishes several times throughout the day.
Due to their high energy levels, lovebirds need a spacious cage for proper accommodation. For a pair of birds, it’s recommended to have a cage with a minimum size of 32” x 20” x 20” (81 x 50 x 50 cm). Ensure the cage has four perches, feed and water dishes, and a designated bath area.
Whether placed on a stand or hung about 6 feet off the floor, the chosen location should be well-lit, well-ventilated, and draft-free, avoiding direct sunlight exposure from doors and windows. Positioning the cage close to at least one wall enhances the birds’ sense of security.
Maintain an average daytime temperature between 60oF to 70oF, with nighttime temperatures down to 40oF. Generally, if the ambient temperature is comfortable for you, it should be suitable for your bird. Keep an eye out for signs of temperature-related discomfort, such as prolonged fluffing for cold birds or wing extension and panting for overheated birds.
Cover the cage at night to prevent drafts and disturbances, as lovebirds appreciate special resting places. When setting up nesting spaces, it’s advisable to provide high-placed nest boxes, all at the same level and of the same type to prevent conflicts. Lovebird nest boxes are available in two sizes: 8″ x 8″ x 8″ (20 x 20 x 20 cm) or 10″ x 6″ x 6″ (25 x 15 x 15 cm).
Regularly check for eggs and promptly remove them to avoid overpopulation, keeping in mind the importance of responsible pet ownership given the prevalence of homeless animals.
Maintenance of Lovebird House
Maintaining a healthy living space for your avian companion involves a routine of essential tasks. Every day, diligently attend to the cleanliness of food and water dishes. Utilize plain newspaper to line the cage bottom, ensuring a daily replacement to ward off potential diseases.
On a weekly basis, embark on a thorough cleaning and disinfection ritual using warm soapy water or a specialized avian cage disinfectant. Take care to wash and thoroughly dry perches and toys as soon as they show signs of soiling. This regular regimen is vital for the well-being of your feathered friend, promoting a hygienic environment that safeguards against health issues.
Lovebirds, depending on their species, exhibit distinct behaviors regarding nest-building. For instance, the peach-faced lovebird adeptly tucks nesting material into the feathers of its rump, while the masked lovebird opts for carrying such materials in its beak.
Once the nest construction commences, the lovebirds transition to the mating phase, engaging in repeated mating sessions. Following this period, eggs appear approximately 3–5 days later.
During the pre-egg laying phase, the female invests significant time inside the nesting box. The laying of eggs begins after this preparatory period, with a new egg being added to the clutch every other day until completion, typically reaching four to six eggs.
Intriguingly, even in the absence of a nest or a male partner, lovebirds may sometimes exhibit the surprising phenomenon of egg production.
Choose a young bird that hasn’t formed strong attachments to build a close bond with your lovebird. Young lovebirds are quick learners and show affection, unlike older ones, who are harder to train and less open to new behaviors.
The most cooperative birds are those raised by hand, as they’ve already had significant social interaction but might not always be available. The key to taming lies in establishing trust and acceptance between you and your feathery friend.
Dedicate time daily for this process. Start by talking to your bird softly and moving slowly. Begin the hand-taming process only when your bird feels comfortable with you. Introduce a dowel gently against its chest while offering a treat to encourage perching.
This might take several tries. Once your bird is used to stepping onto the dowel, smoothly switch to using your finger. Keep in mind that lovebirds aren’t known for their talking abilities, and only a few may learn a few words.
Exercise and Activities
Lovebirds are early birds, waking up at dawn for a refreshing drink and a hearty meal, accompanied by cheerful chirps. As the morning progresses, they tend to settle down, resuming their lively chirping later in the day.
These birds stay quite busy throughout their day, engaging in activities such as flying around, climbing, gnawing on wood or chewing toys, and dedicating time to grooming themselves. They have a fondness for various toys, including seed bells, swings, ladders, mirrors, shiny objects, and wooden gnaws.
Lovebirds also have a natural knack for shredding paper, so it’s a good idea to provide them with dye-free paper for playtime. When lovebirds are out of their cage, they don’t limit themselves to a playpen; they enjoy exploring their surroundings.
Ensure the room they’re in doesn’t have open doors or windows, water containers like drinking glasses and toilets/sinks, and is far from any hot stoves. Keeping a watchful eye on your bird when it’s out of its cage is crucial for its safety.
Lifespan of lovebirds
The lifespan of lovebirds spans an average of 10 to 12 years, and some individuals surpass this, with the oldest recorded lovebird reaching an impressive 17 years. In their natural habitat, lovebirds generally live between 5 and 15 years, influenced by factors like species and environmental conditions.
Yet, under the right care in captivity, lovebirds can thrive for an extended period, ranging from 10 to 20 years, and in exceptional cases, some may even reach up to 25 years.
Health Issues of Lovebirds
Recognizing signs of illness in your feathered friend is crucial. Watch out for subtle changes in behavior, such as a bird appearing withdrawn or sitting with its eyes closed for extended periods. Other indicators include ruffled feathers, dull plumage, watery or lackluster eyes, a runny nose, increased sleep, diminished interest in surroundings, and prolonged stays at the feeding dish.
Pay attention to alterations in droppings; healthy ones are typically grayish-white and not excessively thin. Be vigilant for additional red flags like tail bobbing, falling off the perch, unusual breathing, sneezing, and excessive scratching.
Lovebirds are susceptible to various ailments, including injuries from fights, Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease, Polyoma Virus Infection, Candidiasis (yeast infections), Avian Pox Virus Infection, bacterial infections, internal parasites, mites, ticks, egg binding, intestinal influenza, coccidiosis, respiratory issues, and diarrhea.
If you observe any of these symptoms, you must seek prompt attention from an avian veterinarian for accurate diagnosis and immediate treatment. Your feathered companion’s well-being depends on timely and appropriate care!
From Where to Buy or Adopt Lovebirds
Lovebirds are delightful companions that can be acquired through various channels in the United States. The cost of bringing these feathered friends into your home typically ranges from $45 to $300, contingent on the species and your location. Let’s delve into the options available for obtaining or welcoming a lovebird into your life:
1. Animal Shelters and Rescues: Consider adopting a lovebird from animal shelters, bird rescues, or online platforms where owners seek new homes for their pets. Adoption fees at shelters usually fall between $20 and $100.
2. Online Platforms: Explore websites such as Adopt-a-Pet to discover lovebirds available for adoption. Some generous owners may be looking for caring homes for their pets, and you can find detailed profiles and photos of these birds in need.
3. Breeders and Pet Stores: If you prefer purchasing a lovebird, both breeders and pet stores offer this option. Reliable online platforms, like the ones listed below, facilitate the sale of lovebirds and provide shipping options across the entire US.
Our team of avian veterinarians has thoroughly researched and endorsed these platforms, assuring you a trustworthy and satisfactory experience. Feel confident in choosing one of these platforms for your new feathered friend, considering the positive feedback from numerous satisfied customers.
However, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons of each avenue and prioritize the well-being of your prospective lovebird in your decision-making process.
For your convenience, here are some reputable examples of platforms where you can find lovebirds for sale:
1. Birds Now: This platform provides a diverse selection of lovebirds for sale, sourced from aviaries, reputable breeders, and bird rescues across the United States. It stands as one of the industry’s oldest and most esteemed websites, dedicated to featuring authentic and experienced breeders offering their carefully bred products. You can confidently purchase any lovebird from this platform without any reservations.
2. New York Bird Supply: New York Bird Supply provides an assortment of lovebirds for purchase, featuring Lutino, Pied, Violet, White-Face, and Orange-Face varieties. Our commitment to our feathered friends’ well-being and proper care is paramount, and we exclusively dispatch robust and thriving birds. All avian companions are dispatched at a fixed rate of $79.99, with shipments exclusively conducted from Monday to Wednesday. This strategic scheduling ensures our birds’ secure and safe arrival to their newfound residences.
3. Hoobly Classifieds: Hoobly Classifieds presents an array of lovebirds available for purchase in diverse locations throughout the United States. Our listings showcase lovebirds in a spectrum of colors, spanning different ages and varying levels of tameness. Prices for these delightful companions range from $80 to $350.
4. Lovebird Haven: Lovebird Haven, situated in Burnaby, BC, Canada, specializes in breeding peach-faced lovebirds. They consistently provide top-notch, hand-raised baby lovebirds for sale as pets throughout the year. Their collection features a diverse array of adorable lovebirds. Prospective buyers seeking specific color variations can conveniently reach out to them at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s worth noting that Lovebird Haven does not offer delivery services.
It is important to research the seller and ensure that the lovebird’s welfare is a top priority when making a decision.
Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.