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    Overview

    Lovebirds are classified as belonging to the Psittacidae family, genus Agapornis. They all come from Africa and the Island of Madagascar, off Africa’s east coast. A lovebird is short, thick-bodied parrot about 5 to 6 inches long from head to tail. He has a relatively large beak for his size. The basic, or ground, color of lovebirds is green. This group of birds was named lovebirds because they groom each other constantly and sit as close together as possible when resting or sleeping.

    Appearance

    Although the ground color of wild lovebirds is green, some species also have gray, pink, red, blue and yellow feathers. In addition, mutations developed by breeders come in many other hues. A mutation is a change in a normal characteristic, such as color, that can occur spontaneously for no apparent reason.

    In the wild, a bird with color mutation probably will not survive. Others of his species may not recognize him as one of their own and may kill him. The color mutation may also make the bid more vulnerable to attack by predators.

    Classification

    There are several ways to classify lovebirds. Some experts sort them into groups of those that are sexually dimorphic (males and females look significantly different, especially in color) and those that are not.

    Species in which the males are visually different form females include:

    • Madagascar Lovebirds (Agapornis cana)
    • Red-faced lovebirds (Agapornis pullarius)
    • Black-winged Lovebirds (Agapornis taranta)

    Another grouping centers on those that have an eye ring of bare, white skin and those that do not. Eye-ringed species include:

    Those that do not have an eye ring are:

    • Madagascar (Agapornis cana)
    • Red-faced lovebirds (Agapornis pullarius)
    • Black-winged Lovebirds (Agapornis taranta)

    These 3 lovebirds are sexually dimorphic.

    In between those two groups is the Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis) which does not have an eye ring and is not sexually dimorphic. One Lovebird that falls into neither group is the Black-collared Black-winged Lovebirds (Agapornis swinderniana) Lovebird. It has an inconspicuous feathered eye ring. This species is not sexually dimorphic.

    As Pets

    Lovebirds are so small, compared to larger parrots, that they need only a relatively small cage. They take up little space, making them ideal for any living accommodation. These little birds are very hardy and suffer from few illnesses if kept clean and fed a balanced diet.

    Compared to the call of a macaw or a cockatoo, which can not only be deafening but also can upset neighbours far and near, lovebirds are relatively quiet. A lovebird will call to her owner when he or she is out of sight, but the sound will rarely carry through walls unless the windows or doors are open, and then it barely competes with the noise of wild birds.

    Companionship

    Lovebirds are flock birds, and they need companionship, but not necessarily another bird. If you buy a single bird, he will rely on you for attention. You will become the flock for this sociable little creature. They do not hide their feelings. This expressiveness makes them a joy to be with and watch. To be the object of a lovebird’s attention will give you an amazing amount of satisfaction and happiness.

    Noise

    Lovebirds chatter and call to one another and their human companions using a high-pitched sound. Many agree that the most annoying call belongs to the Peach-faced Lovebird. Fischer’s lovebirds, though not loud, have a piercing, shrill whistle, and a high-pitched twittering. When it comes to assessing noise levels, you must decide for yourself. If you are unsure about the potential noise of these birds, visit a breeder or pet store and observe the lovebirds at several times of the day for extended periods.

    Character

    Although lovebirds are small, they are neither meek nor gentle. Lovebirds are active, stubborn, energetic and need careful supervision when out of their cages because they have no concept of what possessions are valuable to you and will follow their instincts when it comes to chewing, shredding, and rearranging your belongings, particularly those that are made of wood and paper.

    Video Credits: National Geographic
    Image Credits: Ripton Scott, WikiMedia

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