Native ranges in the Namib Desert and arid areas of Namibia and Angola
The Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis), also known as the Rosy-faced Lovebird, is a species of lovebird native to arid regions in southwestern Africa such as the Namib Desert. A loud and constant chirper, these birds are very social animals and often congregate in small groups in the wild. They eat throughout the day and take frequent baths. Coloration can vary widely among populations but females are generally darker and greener, whilst males are smaller and brighter. Lovebirds are renowned for their sleep position in which they sit side-by-side and turn their faces in towards each other. Also, females are well noted to tear raw materials into long strips, "twisty-tie" them onto their backs, and fly distances back to make a nest.
It was described by the French ornithologist Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot in 1818. It was originally named Psittacus roseicollis but later moved to the genus Agapornis with the other lovebirds. Two subspecies are recognised: A. r. roseicollis in Namibia and South Africa and A. r. catumbella in Angola.
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.
Distribution and habitat
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. 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.
Escapes from captivity are frequent in many parts of the world and feral birds dwell in Arizona and London.
Status and conservation
Populations have been reduced in some areas by trapping for the pet trade. However numbers may have increased in other parts due to the creation by man of new water sources and the building of artificial structures which provide new nesting sites. Because of this the species is classed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Behaviour in the wild
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.
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Pair at nestbox
Lovebirds, being active birds, need some room to move in their cage. A cage approximately 24" W x 14" D x 30" H (60 W x 35 D x 75 H cm) is a good size, but if you can afford it, the bigger the better. The bars should be spaced no wider than 3/8" (1 cm) apart, otherwise the bird will be able to stick its head through the bars. A variety of perches will allow the lovebird to exercise its feet and prevent arthritis. The perches should be at least 4" (10 cm) long and 1/2" (13 mm) in diameter. A variety of different toys placed in the cage may prevent a pet parrot from boredom and loneliness. The parrot's chewing and playing may break some toys and small detachable parts may be dangerous to the parrot.
Adult in nestbox with eggs and chicks
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.
Peach-faced Lovebirds get their name for their affection towards their owner or other birds. Lovebirds are very playful and love to have all the attention centered around them. If trained correctly, Peach-faced Lovebirds will happily perch on a human's shoulder. All lovebirds are unique; they all have different temperaments. Some are calmer than others, while some are extremely stubborn. All lovebirds require companionship, however, be it from a human or another Peach-faced Lovebird purchased as a companion. Two lovebirds may not interact with a human owner as much as if they were by themselves. Two lovebirds may not get along, and may have to be separated.
Dangers and toxins
- blue-green algae
- dog and cat saliva
- household cleaners and detergents
- scented candles
- Volatile organic compounds
Main article: Peach-faced Lovebird colour genetics
Peach-faced Lovebirds have the widest range of colour mutations of all the Agapornis species. Generally speaking, these mutations fall into the genetic categories of Dominant, Codominant, Recessive, and Sex-Linked Recessive (referred to simply as "sex-linked"). While this seems fairly straight-forward, it can quickly become confusing when a single specimen has multiple examples of these mutational traits.
Colour varieties in aviculture
Left: Wild type
Left: Wild type
Right: Pied Wild Green
Seagreen (also known as AquaTurquoise in Europe)