The History of the Lovebird
Lovebirds originate from Africa and were first imported to Europe during the 1800’s. The first written record of lovebirds appeared during the 1600’s. It took scientists and bird enthusiasts over 200 years to discover and identify the nine different lovebird species. Before long, they were in high demand and tens of thousands of lovebirds were shipped to the USA and Europe.
Regrettably, a large number of these wild birds failed to flourish in captivity and many died. Several species were regularly caught by trappers, which often wiped out entire local populations. Today, some lovebird species are so rare they can only be found in national parks and protected forests.
In the 1970’s the US and European governments placed restrictions on the importation of lovebirds. Today, most of the lovebirds available for sale are born and raised in captivity.
The Natural Habitat of the Lovebird
In their indigenous habitat lovebirds live in communities of 5-20 birds. They tend to settle and feed together as one big happy family. Only during breeding season do they break apart and live in pairs. Lovebirds mate for life, but they have been known to have affairs with other mates on the side. Lovebirds nest in tree holes, abandoned weaver finch nests, and termite heaps. They prefer to live in tall grasslands close to a water supply. In some dry regions, lovebirds are nomadic and move frequently to avoid times of drought.
They eat a wide variety of foods and love to plunder fields ripe with millet, rice, corn and sesame. The Black Collared Lovebird has a selective appetite and will only eat figs.
Unlike most parrots where the majority of species are extremely similar to one another, the lovebird species are quite distinct. Only three of the nine lovebird species are readily available for purchase. The other 6 are rare and difficult, if not impossible, to find.
The most common lovebirds include:
- The Peace Faced Lovebird. This bird is 15-18cm long and weighs close to 60 gram. It has a bright green body, blue tail feathers, red face and black or brown eyes.
- Fisher’s Lovebirds. These birds are relatively small. They have an orange face and a variety of other feather colours including blue, yellow, orange and green. Due to their small size, the Fisher Lovebird is a good choice for beginners. However, they are high-spirited and need a lot of attention to stay tame. The good thing is you won’t have to invest in a huge bird cage for your little Fisher. A small parrot cage or finch cage will do just fine.
- Black-Masked Lovebirds have a dark green body with a yellow chest and neck. Some of these birds have blue instead of green bodies.
Caring for Your Lovebird
Lovebirds are energetic little creatures, but they can be extremely cuddly, friendly and amusing. In a way, they’re a lot like teenagers. Ever feel that love-hate relationship with a teenager who drives you up the wall one minute and then melts your heart the next? Well, lovebirds are the same way.
Many people believe lovebirds must be kept in pairs… and if left alone, without a bird companion, will die of a broken heart. Well, this is not exactly true. As long as you give your lovebird an abundance of attention, he’ll do just fine being the only bird in the house. However, if you are unable to spend at least 3-5 hours a day with your bird, purchasing a second lovebird is probably your best bet.
You will need to find a birdcage large enough to accommodate a pair. If cost is a concern, rest easy. There are dozens of beautiful bird cages available at a reasonable price. And remember, just because you’re purchasing a cheap bird cage, doesn’t mean it isn’t first-class quality. The most important thing is to find a lovebird cage that meets the needs of your bird.
Choosing the Perfect Cage
When picking out a cage for your lovebird, be sure it is large enough for your pet to adequately move around. Could you imagine spending most of your time stuffed in a small closet? You wouldn’t like that would you? Well, neither will your bird. Your lovebird cage should be no smaller than 90cm x 60cm x 90cm. Ideally, your parrot cage should be large enough for your bird to fly from branch to branch and stretch his wings. An indoor aviary may be the perfect choice. Your bird will love the space to fly.
Sunshine—Essential for Lovebirds
Sunlight and adequate lighting is essential for lovebirds. Lovebirds have an uropygial gland located at the base of their tail. This gland secretes oil which the bird uses to spread throughout its feathers. When exposed to sunlight, the oil turns into Vitamin D, providing your pet with a healthy dose of this essential nutrient. However, if your lovebird is not exposed to adequate lighting, he will develop a Vitamin D deficiency.
If you live in a warm, sunny region of the country, consider purchasing an outdoor bird cage or an outdoor aviary for your bird. These bird cages can be placed on a deck or slab of cement. They’ll allow your bird to soak up some much-needed sunlight and fresh air. If you do not want to purchase an outdoor aviary, consider picking up some casters for your birdcage. This will allow you to attach wheels to the bottom of your cage, so you can easily roll it outside and back inside the house.