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Lovebirds – Everything You Need to Know

Lovebirds

Do you want to add lovebirds to your existing flock? These popular birds with minuscule size and striking coloration are among the top favorite parrot species for over 100 years.

But don’t be deceived by their colorful plumage and amiable demeanor. If you’re looking to purchase lovebirds, know that behind their glitz and glamour are ugly sides and grey areas you should consider first.

In this article, we’ll dive into that and reveal to you the:

  • Personality and temperament of lovebirds and how it behaves with other birds
  • Pros and cons of raising lovebirds as pets
  • Care and bonding tips to overcome the distance between you and your bird

But before that, here’s a quick overview of lovebirds that you need to know about.

Lovebirds’ Quick Overview

Scientific name: Agapornis
Size: 5 to 6½ inches
Weight: 1½ to 2 oz
Wingspan: 9 and a half inches
Lifespan: 20 years
Speech Abilities: Poor; Can’t talk nor mimic words

 

types of lovebirds

Meet the Lovebirds

Lovebirds are popular tiny birds with a size ranging from 5 inches to just over 6½ inches. They belong to the genus Agapornis and are one of the smallest parrot species.

These birds feature colorful plumage with short, blunt tail feathers and a stockier build compared to parakeets.

Why Are Lovebirds Called Lovebirds?

The name means “birds that love each other” and it’s fitting because these creatures have a strong pair bond.

It starts with a courtship ritual where the male expresses his love by pecking. Then, a pair of male and female is formed and they will be linked for life.

Types of Lovebirds:

Lovebird parrots can be divided into two groups. The first group features prominent eye rings including:

  • the masked yellow-collared (A. personatus)
  • the Fischer’s (A. fischeri)
  • the black-cheeked (A. nigrigenis)
  • the Nyasa, or Lilian’s (A. lilianae)

On the contrary, the second group doesn’t have eye rings and they are the:

  • peach-faced, or rosy-faced (A. roseicollis)
  • black-winged, or Abyssinian, (A. taranta)
  • red-headed, or red-faced, (A. pullarius)
  • Madagascar, or grey-headed, (A. canus)
  • and black-collared, or Swindern’s, (A. swindernianus) lovebird

Lovebird Origin and Natural Habitat

Most lovebirds originate from Sub-Saharan Africa except Madagascar or grey-headed lovebird, which as its name implies is native to Madagascar island.

They usually nestle in forests and savannas. In South Africa, fossils of ancient lovebird species that date back as far as 1.9 million years have been discovered.

But if you live in Southwest America, San Francisco, and African cities, you may witness these birds at your backyard birdfeeder.

Feral populations, perhaps flocks that escaped from an aviary or are the remains of one that was abandoned, live in these places.

Lovebirds are cavity-dwellers. So they prefer to live in holes in trees, rocks, or shrubs in the wild. Some species pair off to construct their nests independently of the flock, while others choose to nest in groups.

They may use anything in an urban area, from a tree to a crevice in a wall. Peach-faced lovebirds, on the other hand, frequently reside among cacti in Phoenix, Arizona.

lovebirds as pets

Lovebird Personality and Temperament

These birds may be small but don’t underestimate the power of lovebirds. They’re bold, curious but easygoing. They’re also affectionate and intelligent like larger parrots.

Can I keep a single lovebird?

Contrary to the purported myth, bird owners can keep a single lovebird. In fact, if you want to have a strong bond with your bird, you must keep one alone if you want it to focus on you rather than its pair.

Can a single lovebird survive?

Yes, a single lovebird can survive but it needs plenty of social interaction and stimulation with its humans. They also need lots of toys to keep them occupied.

Are lovebirds aggressive?

The downside of this species is most female lovebirds tend to be territorial and may get aggressive over it. But with proper and consistent behavioral training, you can get rid of this undesirable behavior.

Lovebird’s Speech and Sound

Lovebirds are chatty birds who enjoy singing and whistling all day. But they’re especially vocal at dawn and dusk.

Can lovebirds talk?

They seem to like talking when they’re vocalizing but lovebirds do like to talk to each other but they don’t talk to people that much.

On the brighter side, their song is pleasant but the more lovebirds you get, the noisier they’ll become.

Why is my lovebird screaming?

Lovebirds scream or vocalize loudly when communicating with other birds in the wild. But those in captivity also scream when they’re alarmed, frightened, bored, stressed, or sick.

love birds price

Where to Find Lovebirds for Sale

These birds are usually available at pet stores and local bird breeders. Lovebirds’ price may vary depending on your geographic region, the bird’s rarity, and whether it’s hand-tamed or not.

But the cost widely ranges from $45 to $200.

If you’re looking to adopt a lovebird, you may visit the following rescue organizations:

You can save a considerable amount by going the lovebird adoption route but its availability may vary.

How many lovebirds should I get?

This bird species may prefer fellow lovebirds as companions over you. So, if you want to be a hands-on avian pet owner and create a strong bond with your lovebird, choose just one to ensure she’ll focus on you.

However, if you can’t get your bird enough socialization time, it’d be best to get a pair of lovebirds to keep them happy.

Lovebird’s Conservation Status

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources has classified six of the nine species of lovebirds as Least Concern. Three of the species, nevertheless, are threatened in some ways.

Both the Nyasa and Fischer’s lovebirds are classified as Near-Threatened, putting them one step closer to Endangered status than the other six species.

How many lovebirds are left?

Currently, the most popularly traded lovebird is Fischer’s, and its population is around 290,000 to 1,002,200. 

Of all the lovebird species, the black-cheeked lovebird is the most threatened in the wild. It is classified as Vulnerable, which is very close to the Endangered category.

Lovebird’s Population

Lovebirds with Decreasing Population
  • Nyasa Lovebird
  • Fischer’s Lovebird
  • Black-cheeked Lovebird
  • Red-headed Lovebird
  • Rosy-faced Lovebird
  • Black-collared Lovebird
Lovebirds with Stable Population
  • Black-winged Lovebird
  • Grey-headed Lovebird
  • Yellow-collared Lovebird

Predators and Threats of Lovebirds

Lovebirds are a common target of lanner falcons (Falco biarmicus), which they flee from by hiding in prickly shrubs.

Black-cheeked lovebirds also face drought brought by climate change that causes drying up of regional water sources that they rely on. The other factors that threaten lovebirds are deforestation of their habitat and their capture for the pet trade.

Lovebird Lifespan

So, how long do love birds live? Despite their minuscule size, lovebirds can live up to 20 years when given enough attention and taken care of properly.

Therefore, you need to consider this aspect before acquiring a lovebird since it requires a long-term commitment. But their lives can be cut short by accidents and common avian health issues below.

Common Health Issues of Lovebirds

Lovebirds are prone to chlamydiosis, also known as parrot fever. It’s a disease brought by Chlamydia psittaci that’s common in wild, caged, and aviary birds.

It causes appetite and weight loss, lethargy, nasal discharges, wet droppings, shivering, and breathing difficulties. The bacteria may also affect the bird’s organs like the liver, spleen, respiratory and digestive tract.

Lovebirds can be diagnosed by checking their feces or blood and treatment involves the use of oral or injectable doxycycline antibiotics.

C. psittaci can be transmitted not just to birds but also to humans and may cause chills, fever, sweating, headache, fatigue, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, inappetence, diarrhea, and dry cough.

Lovebirds can also self-mutilate and develop nutritional deficiencies due to an inadequate diet mainly consisting of seeds.

love birds cage

Lovebird Care Tips

It takes great effort and sacrifices to keep a lovebird. But should you decide to have one, here are some tips to raise these birds successfully.

Diet and Nutrition

Balanced nutrition is the key to having a healthy lovebird. So, love birds’ food must contain essential nutrients like:

  • water
  • protein
  • carbohydrates
  • fiber
  • lipids
  • minerals
  • vitamins

If you want to give them balanced nutrition, choose a high-quality love bird feed and supplement it with fruits and vegetables. You can also give them some seeds.

But you must limit them to avoid overfeeding which is the leading cause of many serious bird illnesses like obesity.

Grooming

You also need to control your bird’s nail growth and trim its beak to prevent overgrowing. Don’t forget to bathe them in a bathing dish or spray them with a light mist of lukewarm water to keep them clean.

Do lovebirds take a bath?

Not all lovebirds love taking a bath but it’s crucial to keep them clean and keep their plumage and feathers lustrous.

Cage and Housing

Similar to other birds, a lovebird cage should be at least 18x18x18 inches but the bigger the cage, the better.

Can you let love birds out of their cage?

You can let them fly out as long as you supervise them and their interaction with other pets like cats and dogs.

How many lovebirds can live together in one cage?

Since lovebirds tend to be mean to other smaller species, it’s best to house two lovebirds together. But you have to know that they can still get territorial toward their own kind.

So, if they fight constantly against each other, we recommend putting them in separate love birds cage but in the same room.

Do lovebirds fly away?

These birds can fly away and they don’t do so just to escape captivity but because it’s their nature. However, other owners clip their bird’s wings to prevent them from flying away.

Exercise

A lovebird must have at least 2 hours of daily out-of-cage time to explore the world outside its cage. You can also put toys inside its cage that can keep her occupied and busy.

How Do I Bond With My Lovebird?

If you recently took your lovebird home, here are some tips to bond with her and grow closer to each other.

1. Share your meals with your lovebird

It is the easiest way to take your relationship with your lovebird to the next level. You should attempt to imitate how these birds eat all of their meals with other flock members in the wild in order to foster trust.

Try to hand-feed your lovebird some fresh fruit while making sure they can see you enjoying it as well. Put a portion in their bowl if they won’t accept it from your hand. They’ll soon be enjoying nice treats that you hold out to them.

2. Socialize with your bird

You should spend at least an hour alone with your sweetheart each day. Spending more time with your bird will help you establish a stronger bond with them because they will come to regard you as a reliable companion.

If you have adopted a lovebird, it’s important to establish their trust because they might have had unpleasant experiences with prior owners. Because they are very social and clever beings, lovebirds will remember every interaction you have with them.

3. Build trust while grooming

Lovebirds bond with one another in their small flocks and families in the wild by constantly grooming one another.

Try to gently massage your bird by doing things like scratching the back of their heads or helping them get rid of loose pinfeathers. This grooming is a fantastic technique to establish trust and will also help them become accustomed to handling.

4. Spend time playing with them

Sharing enjoyable playtime with your lovebird is a terrific method to strengthen your relationship with them because they are playful and active animals.

Outside of their natural environment, give them interactive toys and sing or play soft music for them. Birds can even have their own favorite tunes, and they react positively to music. Some couples will even dance to their favorite tunes while imitating the melodies!

5. Hand them some treats

You can easily win your lovebird over by giving them their preferred treat. To get them out of their cage, provide them with fresh fruit, bird pellets, veggies, or seed from your hand.

By doing this, you’ll establish trust with your significant other and increase their sense of comfort around you. But be careful not to overfeed them with treats because too many seeds are one of the leading causes of being overweight in birds.

How long does it take for lovebirds to bond with you?

It takes time to bond with a lovebird. But give them a week or two to get used to their new home and always speak calmly and lovingly.

As time goes by, your relationship may improve and your bird may learn to trust you and associate you with love and good things in life like food.

More Love Bird Facts You Should Know About

Here are some more interesting facts about love birds that you should know about should you pursue raising them.

1. Lovebirds are active birds.

Most lovebirds in the wild start their morning routine by eating, drinking, and having a noisy concerto. They may stop at midmorning but will resume by late afternoon. Lovebirds love to fly and explore in the wild.

So, you need to free them from their cages and let them explore the environment and play with dye-free paper, toys that produce noise, perches, and ropes.

However, don’t forget to close all windows and make the room safe and secure.

2. You can potty-train lovebirds!

With consistent training, you can teach a lovebird to go potty on command. Since they poop every 10 to 15 minutes, they can make a lot of mess and that can cause lots of trouble when they go potty in your room outside their cage.

To prevent that, train your lovebirds to relieve themselves before letting them get out of their cage.

3. They like being tucked in at night.

As said earlier, lovebirds in the wild rest in trees and cacti with cozy holes. So, try offering your lovebird a covered bed or tiny tent to make it comfortable when sleeping.

Frequently Asked Questions About Lovebirds

Do lovebirds need to be in pairs?

Lovebirds don’t need to be always kept in pairs. Even though they are social birds who love having a fellow feathery companion, they can survive without one if you’d give them enough time and attention.

Is lovebirds a good pet?

Yes, lovebirds make a good pet bird even for beginners due to their affectionate, social, intelligent, and gentle nature. However, they’re slightly more aggressive than parakeets and cockatiels.

How long should a lovebird be out of its cage?

Small parrots like lovebirds need a good 2 to 3 hours of supervised out-of-cage time daily to exercise and explore their environment. It also offers an opportunity for you to socialize with your pet birds and grow closer.

Do love birds bite?

Lovebirds do have a tendency to become territorial over their cage and nesting box and may bite you when you invade their space. They may also bite you when they’re stressed or in a bad mood.

Do lovebirds like to cuddle?

These birds are cuddly and affectionate with their own kind which is why they’re called lovebirds. However, they can be cuddly with humans too when hand-raised and given plenty of socialization time.

How long can you leave a lovebird alone?

A single bird shouldn’t be left alone longer than a few hours without having anyone to interact with because it may lead to stress and depression.

How do I know if my lovebird is happy?

Singing, talking, and whistling indicates that a lovebird is in a good mood and happy. But if it’s clicking its tongue, that means either she wants your attention or entertaining herself.

How long do lovebird eggs take to hatch?

Female lovebirds incubate their eggs for 18 to 24 days. They can lay 4 to 6 eggs in a clutch but they may lose or break some of them during the incubation due to stress, lack of enrichment, inadequate nests, nutritional deficiencies, or accidents.

lovebird parrot

Lovebirds – Is It The Right Bird For You?

Like many other parrots, lovebirds make excellent companions because of their friendly and affectionate nature. It takes time to establish trust between you and your bird, but it’s definitely worth it.

Furthermore, these intelligent birds can be potty-trained before leaving the cage which saves you from cleaning up poops and mess around your house.

And they can survive without a pair as long as you provide them with enough socialization, playtime, and attention.

However, they also have aggressive tendencies when not given enough attention and during their breeding season. On top of that, they may scream loudly with their high-pitched voice and they can’t talk.

Pros & Cons of Lovebirds

Pros
  • Beautiful plumage and a variety of options
  • Can survive without a pair
  • Can be friendly and affectionate
  • A sociable and intelligent companion
  • Can be potty-trained
Cons
  • Sometimes aggressive and scream loudly
  • Needs plenty of social interaction
  • Can’t talk or mimic words

So, if you want a more gentle quieter bird with attractive plumage and excellent talking abilities, check out the next species below.

READ NEXT: Budgerigars – Everything You Need to Know

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