Lovebirds are pint-sized bundles of joy. They have the full personality of parrots while being easy to house because of their size. Lovebirds are little clowns, playing for hours at a time. They love to hang from toys, spin them around, and dance on your shoulder. Watch out for your buttons! They love to pull them off your shirts! They love to snuggle and preen. Many people believe lovebirds must be kept in pairs. This is simply not true. A single lovebird makes a better pet because it bonds to you rather than to another lovebird.
Watch these young lovebirds play “The Mirror Game” – They fly up to their reflections in the mirror to watch themselves fly, then land, then the other one goes. They never hit the mirror and can play this game forever without getting tired.
While it is easy to keep a pair of lovebirds tame, if you plan on spending lots of time with your bird you can keep it alone. However, if you work long hours and don’t think you’ll have a lot of time for your love bird, we recommend you get him a companion. This will keep your lovebirds happy and prevent boredom.
It is important to realize that while lovebirds are a small parrot, they have the intelligence and abilities of some of the largest parrots. They can amaze you with their ability to escape their own cages (I have to put clips on the cage doors to keep them in, and sometimes they figure out how to open those!), they will sometimes try to become the little bosses of the household (hence, the same type of gentle dominance training used for larger parrots should be used with lovebirds), and they can learn to mimic sounds and speech on occasion
(N.B. We don’t recommend you buy any species of bird only because of the expectation that it will speak; even the famous African Greys sometimes don’t learn to speak, and if that is a person’s only reason for buying a bird, the bird could end up abandoned because of the owner’s disappointment. In our opinion, parrots make great pets even if they never utter a word).
About the Nine Species of Lovebirds
Lovebirds, Agapornis, and African lovebirds are terms that can refer to nine different species of lovebird parrots. Peachfaced lovebirds are sometimes named by their color mutations: pied lovebirds, violet lovebirds, Dutch blue lovebirds, normal peachface lovebirds, orangeface lovebirds, and mauve lovebirds, to name a few. These lovebirds all belong to the species Agapornis roseicollis.
Fischer’s lovebirds and Masked lovebirds are DIFFERENT species of lovebirds (Agapornis personata fischeri and Agapornis personata personata, respectively) and should not be bred with peachfaced (A. roseicollis) lovebirds. Inter-species breeding sometimes results in mules (that is, lovebirds that cannot reproduce), but when it doesn’t, the consequence is pollution of the pure gene pool for these various
species of lovebirds. Responsible breeders do not inter-breed different species, especially since we can no longer import new, fresh stock from the wild! And frankly I’ve seen some of these crossed-species lovebirds and they often are very strange creatures. They tend to have very skittish personalities (the most terrified lovebirds I’ve ever encountered were a cross between a peachface and a Fischer’s–ALL the lovebird babies were excessively nervous). If, out of ignorance, you paired up different species of lovebirds, it is very possible to re-pair them properly. Just get them out of ear-shot of each other and find them new mates. I’ve even re-paired lovebirds who could hear each other (for color mutation purposes) and it worked out great for all four lovebirds. Please note that color mutations occur WITHIN the same species of lovebirds and it is not necessary to interbreed species to get these new colors.
There are several other species of lovebirds, commonly known as black-cheeked lovebirds, black-collared lovebirds (Agapornis Swindernia), Madagascar lovebirds (Agapornis cana–pictured right), Nyasa lovebirds (A. lilianae), Abyssian lovebirds (Agapornis taranta), and Red-Faced Lovebirds (Agapornis pullaria–pictured right). These species are relatively rare in American aviculture (although the black-cheek lovebird is more common than the others). The breeding of Madagascar lovebirds should only be attempted by very experienced lovebird breeders as they are very delicate and could easily disappear in aviculture.