Lovebirds are chunky, short-tailed birds belonging to the genus Agapornis. These birds are native to savannas of sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar and live in forests. There is a total of nine species of lovebirds among which eight species are distributed across Africa.
And one species is called the grey-headed lovebird or Madagascar lovebird found in Madagascar. The species is the only lovebird, which is endemic to this island.
Lovebirds mostly occur in green colors like small parrots but some members also have orange, yellow, grey, black, or red colors on their heads and neck.
They have a prominent ring around their eyes and their beaks are relatively large and sharp. The rosy-faced lovebird is the largest species of lovebird, distributed from Angola to South Africa.
Lovebirds are social birds and always found in flocks, and forage together sometimes. They obtain their nutrition from seeds, fruits, and berries and are herbivores. Some species of lovebirds are specialists that only feed upon particular plant material whereas some other species are generalists and feed on whatever they can find.
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Lovebird Mating and Nesting
The homes of lovebirds are generally made on tree holes, rocks, and shrubs. In some species, the members build their nests together while in other species they pair off and build a nest away from the flock.
The birds make pairs for their whole life and are monogamous thus they are named “lovebirds”. Courtship rituals are also seen in these birds in which males feed small pieces of food to the female, in some species males dance and sing to impress the female.
Around 4 to 6 eggs are laid by the female during the breeding season. The incubation period is of approximately 20 days after which the eggs hatch and both the parents take care of the chick for one month of age.
Lanner falcons are one of the predators of lovebirds, who often seek refuge in thorny bushes to avoid capture. Besides this, habitat destruction and capture for the pet trade are some other threats to lovebirds.
Their bright colors, small size, and high energy makes them popular pets. If they are kept alone and bond with humans, they are known to be extremely affectionate.
Lovebirds are facing threats due to habitat destruction but besides this six species are listed as least concerned species and three species are listed as vulnerable and near threatened among which the black-cheeked lovebird is listed vulnerable and the Nyasa and Fischer’s lovebirds are listed as near threatened.
Fun Facts About Lovebird
There are several biological adaptations made by the lovebirds, which help them to live in their environment. They are the smallest species of parrots and can perform acrobatics in the air. Let’s understand some biological concepts about lovebirds!
i. Head movements during flying
Lovebirds have great flying skills and they are also able to maneuver quickly in dense areas. Researchers study their swift and agile flying skills by using high-speed cameras to film the birds.
With the help of the captured footage, they discovered that these birds can move their heads very quickly. Lovebirds can move their heads up to 270 degrees at a speed of 2700 degrees per second.
The speed is similar to insects and this swift movement is one of the fastest animal movements. Thus, their ability helps them to see in all the directions while flying in the air, which means that they get more time to see and react to the environment and helps to avoid collisions, enabling them to keep a clear line of sight during twisting and turning.
ii. Beak adaptations
The robust, hooked bill is the characteristic feature of lovebirds, which is also present in lovebirds. The bill looks very similar to the bill of owls and hawks from distance but actually, the bill of lovebird have the upper and lower mandibles sharper, more uniform curve.
The upper mandible of the lovebird’s beak has hooked and fits into the lower mandible. The bills of lovebirds are broad and powerful and thus enable them to crack seeds and tear them into fruits.
The beak has continuous growth because it is made of keratin. These birds nibble their beak on hard objects like branches to ensure that their beak has a perfect length and is sharp.
In some parts of the animal kingdom, monogamy is a fascinating behavior. In some animals, when the offspring had much better chances of survival in presence of both the parents, monogamy was likely evolved.
Lovebirds can often be observed feeding and pruning each other which resembles their strong bond with each other. They form mating pairs for their whole life. Unlike other bird species, who make pairs for only one or more breeding seasons, lovebirds make bonds for up to 15 years or form mating pairs for life.
They are monogamous, which has various advantages. For instance, the birds can share parental responsibilities. After laying eggs, the female sits on her nest to incubate the eggs for approximately three weeks and the male brings her food.
After the eggs hatched, both the parents take care of their brood where usually males gather food while females stay in the nest. Thus in monogamous pair, one parent is always able to protect the chicks from predators.
Another advantage of monogamy is that they won’t have to waste their energy trying to find a mate after bonding. There is not any requirement and advantage to waste energy searching for a new mate at each breeding season if the bond between the birds is right