Lovebirds are sometimes called pocket-sized parrots. Their vibrant colors, sociable natures and reputation as great companions make them one of the most beloved small birds to have as pets. Find out more about types of lovebirds and how to take care of them.
You might be interested in getting your own Lovebird to pet. There are nine species of lovebirds, eight of which originate from Africa and one from Madagascar.
Three types of Lovebirds are most commonly kept as bird pets: the Peach-faced Lovebird and Fischer’s Lovebird. The six other species are rare and seldom kept in captivity.
Origin and History of LoveBirds
All lovebird species, with the exception of one Madagascar native, call Africa home. They are usually found in small groups.
These lovebird species are rare in captivity, other than in show-aviaries.
- Abyssinian (or black-winged lovebird) (Agapornis Taranta).
- Black-cheeked lovebird (Agapornis nigrigenis)
- Madagascar or grey-headed lovebird (Agapornis Cana)
- Nyasa and Lillian’s lovebird (Agapornis lilianae).
- Red-faced and red-headed lovebirds (Agapornis Pullaria)
- Swindern’s black-collared lovebird (Agapornis Swaindernia).
The wild populations of Nyasa, Fischer’s and black-cheeked lovebirds are alarming. Although they are not yet listed as endangered, their numbers are so small that each one falls under the “threatened or vulnerable” category.
Common Lovebird Characteristics
Before we get into the differences between the species, let’s first look at some common characteristics you will find Lovebirds to share, regardless of their species.
All Lovebirds share one common characteristic: their size. Because of their small size, they are often called “pocket parrots”, and because they belong to the family Psittaculidae. Most Lovebirds measure between 5 and 7 inches in height.
They have a stocky build and short, blunt tails. Their beak is sharp. Their color is often a good indicator of their breed, despite the fact that there have been new color mutations in most species. We will discuss this further shortly.
Zygodactyl feet are another common characteristic among all Lovebirds. These are the two toes that point forward and backward. This allows small birds to balance and to hold onto small items while perching.
9 Types Of Lovebirds Species (with Photos)
Because they are so cuddly and adorable, lovebirds make great pets. These “pocket parrots”, which are small, colorful additions to any family, are easy to care for and can be a great choice for beginners.
Globally, there are 9 species of lovebirds. Some of these species can be kept as pets, but not all. These three species are the most loved and beloved companions.
Habitat and History
We have identified all the African lovebird species. In the wild, lovebirds live in small groups. They all belong to the Agapornis Family and are closely related.
Only three species of lovebirds are kept in captivity. These are the Rosy-Faced Lovebirds, Fischer’s Lovebirds, and Black Masked Lovebirds.
Many lovebird species have more than one common name, which makes it easier to refer them to their scientific names when speaking with others. Lovebird parrots perched on a branch of a tree.
Some lovebird species are becoming endangered in the wild. These are the Nyasa, Fischer’s, and Black Cheeked Lovebirds. Although they are not yet on the endangered species lists, all of them fall under “threatened”, and “vulnerable,” categories.
These birds thrive in captivity. Because they are active and thrilling, they are a popular choice for pets.
They are curious and have a playful personality. They are affectionate birds and often form strong bonds with their owners.
Rosy-Faced or Peach-Faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis)
Lovebird with a peach-faced face
These lovebirds are one of the most popular species for pet owners. When we think about a lovebird, our minds immediately picture their beautiful plumage or cute faces.
Although they are easy to take care of, they can be aggressive at times. When you first start to interact with them, it is important to be cautious.
This is how lovebirds are often described. Their throats and faces are rosy pink. They have darker orange or reddish-brown hair that is visible above their eyes and on the forehead.
Their plumage is dark green across their entire body, with a black rump. Their legs and feet are gray. These birds are often dark brown or black with a horn-colored, horn-colored beak.
The Rosy-Faced Lovebird can be found in dry areas of Southwest Africa. They don’t mind living in any environment and can be found in open areas, forests, mountains and even semi-desert areas near water sources.
This lovebird species is adorable and small. They measure approximately 7-8 inches in length from head to tail tip, and weigh less than 2 ounces.
2. Black-Masked and Yellow-Collared Lovebirds (Agapornis individualata).
Lovebirds with yellow-collared feathers
The lovebird is known by two names, as there isn’t any agreement about which feature of theirs is more prominent: the bright yellow collar or the black mask on their faces.
They are another popular pet species. They are also a lot easier to keep than Rosy-Faced Lovebirds.
These birds look like a mask from the top. Their black eyes or deep brown eyes have white rings that highlight the mask feature. Their bright, standout red beaks make them shine.
A collar of bright yellow fades quickly to a green, and is hidden beneath all this. Sometimes, their tails or wings can be blue. Their feet and legs have grey stripes.
The Black-Masked Lovebird doesn’t have as many species as the Rosy Faced Lovebird. They are only found in the northeastern part of Tanzania. Their subspecies have been successfully introduced to Kenya and Burundi.
This species has slightly more males than females. The birds won’t weigh more than 1.75 ounces. They are also smaller than Rosy-Faced Lovebirds. Their maximum length is 2.3 inches.
3. Fischer’s Lovebirds (Agapornis fischeri)
Fischer’s Lovebirds are one of the rarest pet species. However, they are a standout with their bright and varied plumage colors.
Although they are very playful, they are also popular. However, they are quieter than most lovebird or parrot species. They are social, energetic, and can bond well.
The Fischer’s Lovebird has a vibrant green-blue plumage, with subtle color variations across their chest, wings and back. The color gradually turns brown and orange on their heads and necks, and fades to a golden yellow at the ends. Their eyes have rings of white and dark orange beaks.
These birds can only be found in Africa’s small area along Lake Victoria’s southern border in Tanzania. Some of these birds have migrated to Rwanda and Burundi due to climate change.
They are one of the smallest species of lovebirds, measuring only 5 inches from head and tail. They weigh between 1.5 and 2 ounces.
4. Nyasa or Lilian’s Lovebirds (Agapornis lilianae)
Sometimes, Nyasa or Lilian’s Lovebirds can be found in captivity. Because they are difficult to breed, many keep them as collectors or breeders. They are at risk of disappearing from the wild. Because they are so rare, they are among the least-studied lovebird species.
The Nyasa Lovebird looks very similar to Fischer’s Lovebird, but has gentler colors. Their heads and front are a rosy or orange color.
This turns into light orange, then yellow on their chests and down their heads. Their body is bright green with blue tints on their wings. Their black eyes have a white ring and their bright orange beak are highlighted by a bright orange beak.
They have a larger native area, but smaller and less common flocks. They are found in Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania as well as Zambia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Tanzania.
They measure a staggering 5.4 inches tall from their heads to their tails. They weigh between 1-1.3 ounces and are lighter than other species.
5. Black-Cheeked Lovebirds (Agapornis nigrigenis)
The Black-Cheeked Lovebird should not be confused with Black-Masked Lovebird. They were originally thought to be a subspecies the Nyasa Lovebird, but they have been identified as an individual species.
This bird is mainly covered in dark green plumage, especially on their wings and underside. The plumage fades to a light brown on the chest, and then becomes an orange. Their head is dark brown, with white circles around their eyes. Their beaks are bright red.
Black-cheeked Lovebirds can be found in southwestern Zambia. As they migrate to water sources, some of these birds have been seen in Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.
They are approximately 5.5 inches long and weigh approximately 1.4 ounces at the heaviest.
Similar Read: How to read lovebird body language (with pictures)
6. Black-Winged Abyssinian Lovebird (Agapornis Taranta)
The Abyssinian lovebird is quite different from the other species. Although they are not common, they have gained some popularity in recent years as pets.
These birds have bright red eyes and a beak. They are bright shades of green from the top of the head to the bottom. Their black underwing is the only exception. Females can be completely green with no red or black on their bodies.
The Abyssinian lovebirds are found in the mountains of Ethiopia and Eritrea.
These birds are usually larger than other lovebird species. They measure 6-7 inches in length and average 1.7 ounces.
7. Madagascar or Grey-Headed Lovebirds (Agapornis cana)
The Madagascar Lovebird, a native of Madagascar, can also be found on several other islands. They are currently not kept in captivity.
This lovebird species has different color patterns for males and females. The females have a complete green plumage, with some darker hues on their wings and back. Sometimes, it’s paler on their chests.
The entire body of males is covered in pale grey, almost like they are off-white.
They are a native species of Madagascar birds and they live in a rainforest environment. They are also found on other islands.
Madagascar Lovebirds are among the smallest lovebird species. They measure just 5 inches in length and weigh 1-1.25 ounces.
8. Red-Faced Lovebirds – Agapornis Pullaria
Red-faced Lovebirds look beautiful and have a charming demeanor. Many attempts have been made to raise them in captivity but all have failed.
They have special needs that can only be met by their natural environment, such as nesting, companionship, diet, and nutrition.
Red-faced Lovebirds display stunning green plumage on their bodies, tails and necks. The only difference between them is on their foreheads, beak, and frontal areas. This color is usually a peachy orange.
Red-Faced Lovebirds are the most widespread in their native habitat. They are found in all the African tropical rainforests that lie along the Equator. They are found in Uganda, Sierra Leone and Angola.
When they reach full maturity they are approximately 6 inches in length and weigh about 1.5 ounces.
9. Black-Collared or Swindern’s Lovebird
Another rare species is the Black-Collared Lovebird. Because they require native figs for their diet, they are not kept in captivity. They are shy of other creatures and can be seen high up in the trees where they call home.
They have very few markings on their bodies as they are mostly covered in green plumage. They also have a distinct black collar at the back of their neck.
They can also call their home on a wide range of land. These include the forests of Africa, which are similar to the species mentioned above. They can be found in Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire as well as Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Ghana.
This species is a good choice for lovebirds. It measures approximately 5 inches from head to tail and weighs around 1.4 ounces.
They can be described as playful, curious, feisty and active lovebirds. They can be cuddly and social birds, as they form strong bonds with their owners.
If not handled properly, lovebirds can be aggressive and territorial and even jealous. Experts believe that female lovebirds are more likely to be jealous and territorial than males, but both sexes can still have amazing personalities.
Although they are not as loud or as vocal as larger parrots lovebirds can still make a high-pitched screech when they want your attention. Although their normal chirps or squawks don’t sound too loud, they love to chatter.
They are not generally known for being able to imitate speech or sounds. However, there are always exceptions. Experts believe that females are more likely to imitate speech or sounds than males, but both sexes can still chatter.
Lovebird Markings and Colors
Lovebirds are well-known for their blunt, short tail feathers. This is what distinguishes them from budgerigars. Lovebirds are also larger.
These species can come in many colors, from white to green to teal to white. All of them are very vivid, with heads and faces that are a different color from the main body feathers. Popular pet lovebirds are mostly green in plumage.
There are many color variations in lovebirds. The peach-faced lovebird is the most popular and can be kept as a pet. It is simple to breed in captivity. This has been done for hundreds and years. You will see many colors.
Red-faced lovebirds, Madagascar, and Absynian are all dimorphic. This makes it easy to distinguish males from females by the color of the feathers. Because they are almost identical and monomorphic, it is hard to tell the genders of other species.
Parrots are known to have prominent white eyes rings in some lovebird species. This feature is absent in Swindern’s peach-faced lovebirds.
The lovebird’s bill is hooked, and the color can vary depending on species. It may be bright orange-red or pale beige. Their feet are zygodactyl. This means that two of their toes face forward and two point towards the rear. This improves their agility and allows them to grasp branches better.
Caring for Lovebirds
To keep your lovebird a happy and healthy companion, you will need to give it regular training and handling. A hand-raised fledgling can make it easier to tame your new lovebird. However, with patience and a little bit of time you can still tame any bird.
You should look for an older lover if you are looking to get one who has been trained and is experienced in handling situations.
One common misconception regarding lovebirds is that they should be kept in pairs. Many single lovebirds can live happily alone, as long as they get enough social interaction and attention from their owners.
Lovebirds are flock animals, so they thrive when they feel part of a group and can communicate with their fellow members. It is important to find a companion for your lovebird if you have limited time.
Feeding to Lovebirds
Like other parrots and lovebirds, they should be given a wide variety of food. Wild birds eat fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts. A pet lovebird should eat a variety of foods.
The diet should include good quality pelleted bird foods. It is possible to supplement this diet with fresh foods and seeds. You should limit the amount of seeds to 25 percent.
Rotate the types of fresh food you offer. It may take some time for your lovebird to adapt to new foods. For extra calcium, a cuttlebone bird treat may be offered in the cage.
A cage should be at least 2 feet in width, 2 feet in length, and 2 feet high. A larger cage is better.
You should consider a longer cage if you are able to. This will allow your lovebird to spread its wings and fly around the cage.
The spacing between bars should not exceed 1/2- to 5/8 inch. They should be horizontally oriented to allow birds to climb the sides of their cages.
Round cages are more likely to cause damage to tail feathers. To keep your lovebird’s feet strong and healthy, offer a range of perches (including natural branches if you can).
Exercise for LoveBirds
Lovebirds, like all parrots are very active and playful. They thrive on interaction and playtime. This will strengthen your relationship and prevent them from exhibiting unwelcome behavior.
To keep your birds busy, it is a good idea have a variety of toys and to rotate them around the cage. You should ensure that toys are free of zinc and lead and that no threads or loose cloth can get in the way of your lovebirds’ toes.
You should be aware that lovebirds can be very aggressive chewers. You should ensure that there are no small pieces that can be chewed and ingested. Clips, loose strings and any other small parts that could trap your bird’s head, feet or beak should be avoided.
Wood, sisal and leather toys as well as ladders and bells are all safe toys. Your lovebird may also use household items like empty cardboard tubes made from paper towels rolls, paper cups and ink-free cardboard.
We mentioned earlier that the first three species are most popular for keeping as pets, while the six remaining species are more rare. However, it is possible to further categorize each species by certain characteristics.
Dimorphic Lovebirds can be distinguished by the ability to distinguish between male and female. Monomorphic Lovebirds have male and female that look the same. Within the monomorphic category, it is possible to further distinguish the species based on eye rings or those without.
- Black-winged Lovebird
- Grey-headed Lovebird
- Red-headed Lovebird
- Monomorphic (Eye rings)
- Yellow-collared Lovebird
- Fischer’s Lovebird
- Lillian’s Lovebird
- Black-cheeked Lovebird
- Monomorphic (No Eye Rings).
- Lovebird with a peach-faced face
- Black-collared Lovebird
Lovebirds make wonderful pets. They are vibrant and colorful, social creatures that can provide entertainment and play, and they thrive on affection and companionship with their owners.
Although we have covered all the species of lovebirds, it is worth noting that only three are suitable to survive in captivity.
There are many subspecies of species that are suitable for pets. It is worth checking the breed you are considering before purchasing a pet.