African Lovebirds Genus Agapornis


African lovebirds are a group of delightful small parrots which belong to. the genus Agapornis. There are nine species comprising this genus which are divided into primitive and more advanced species. The primitive species are those which taxonomists believe broke off the evolutionary branch earlier and are characterized by lack of a white eye ring and sexual dimorphism. These primitive species are A. cana(Madagascar), A. taranta (Abyssinian) and A.pullaria(Redfaced). Madagascar Lovebird Agapornis cana

The Madagascar Lovebird is the only lovebird found on the island of Madagascar and is considered the most primitive of the Agapornis genus. It is sexually dimorphic (the sexes can be easily distinguished from one another). The male has a gray head and the female is all green. This is the smallest lovebird, averaging around 30 grams body weight. In the wild they are found in small flocks of five to 30 birdsatelevations up to 1500m. (5000 ft.). They feed on grass seeds. In captivity they will eat small seeds such as those found in finch, canary or budgie mixes. They also should be offered a mix of chopped vegetables and fruits along with a mineral block. The soft foods are especially important when babies are in the nest.

They are solitary nesters and it may be best to allow them their own cage or flight for breeding. In the wild they are reported to breed in November and December but seem to breed year round in captivity, even when kept outdoors. They will breed in cages as small as 1 ft. x 1ft.x18 in. or in large flights. As with other species, it is probably best to offer them as much room as you can. l use 2 ft. x 2 ft. x 3 ft. cages for all my lovebirds. Maclagascars may breed in regular budgie type nestboxes or nest logs, but l have had best success with a tunnel nestbox. They seem to favor willow as nesting material, but may use palm frond or other materials as well. The female will chew these into small C-shape pieces which she will tuck into ruffled feathers and carry back to the nest. They are pad nesters and do not build elaborate nests. The clutch size ranges from four to six small elliptical white eggs. The female incubates and is usually joined by the male in the nest at night. Incubation usually lasts about 23 clays. Several sources state the young emerge from the nest in plumage resembling the female. In captivity, the sex of the young has been evident with the first feathers on the head. Males are gray and females green, just as in the adult.

Young fledge at approximately 43 clays. This may differ for handfed babies which may wean quickly. The parents frequently feather pick the young if they are not pulled for handrearing.

The Madagascar is a quiet and attractive lovebird. It is best to separate the young into pairs or small groups as they frequently become aggressive at four to six months of age and may kill cage mates when in crowded situations. This may occur as they are trying to pair off. Even when handfed, Macldies have limited pet potential as most must be handled very frequently to retain their tameness. Abyssinian Lovebird Agapornis taranta

The Abyssinian Lovebird is found at higher elevations than the others (5,000- 10,000 ft.). It is frequently seen in the tops of junipers and is reported to feed on the berries. It is a large lovebird, averaging 50 grams. It is also called the Blackwinged lovebird as the males have black feathers on the underside of their wings. This is also true of male Madagascars and Red-faced lovebirds, though. Sexes are easily identified as male Abyssinians have a red forehead and the females are all green.

Diets most frequently fed are small hookbill mixes together with a vegetable and fruit mix.