FAMILY NAME:                        AGAPORNIS
SIZE:                                        6 to 7 inches
DISTRIBUTION:                       Southwestern Africa, Madagascar
COLOR VARIANT :                  Wide choice now being bred.
Number of Species:                  Nine
                                                      The Sexually dimorphic Group
Taranta ( Black-winged lovebird )
Cana ( Gray headed Lovebird )
        Pullaria ( Red - faced Lovebird )
                                                      The Intermediate Group
                    Roseicolis ( Peach faced Lovebird )
        Swinderniana ( Black-collared Lovebird )
                                                      The White Eye-ring Group
Lilianae ( Nyasa Lovebird )
         Nigrigenis ( Black-cheeked Lovebird )
Fischeri ( Fische's Lovebird )
         Personata ( Masked Lovebird )
COMPATIBILITY:                      Pairs usually housed on their own for breeding

                                                                purposes but can also
                                                  be kept on a colony basis in a large aviary.
PET POTENTIAL:                     Hand reared chicks can develop into lively

DIET:                                                    Bird seed mix, comprised of millets and plaiN
                                                                canary seed, groats and sunflower. Greenstuff,
                                                                Carrot and Apple.
HEALTH PROBLEM:                 Can suffer from intestinal worms
BREEDING TIPS:                      Can be kept in a colony or single pair. Provide

                                                                nesting materials.
NESTING NEEDS:                     6 x 6 x 10 inches Nest Box.
TYPICAL CLUTCH SIZE:           Usually 4 - 5, rarely more
INCUBATION:                            23 - 25 days; hens usually start brooding after the

REARING REQUIREMENTS:    Provide softfood for breeding birds to raise protein

                                                                intake. Also soaked seed.
FLEDGING:                                Young Birds will leaved the nest at about 5 - 6

                                                                weeks old.
LIFESPAN:                                10 - 12 years possibly longer



Lovebirds are very popular with hobbyist and people just getting started with bird keeping because this birds are very active birds and they don’t tend to sit on one area, unless they are sick. That is why for me in keeping Lovebirds you have to find the biggest available cage to enjoy the birds. A cage with a horizontal measurement of 24 to 30 inches is appropriate. Anything less than 18 inches would be too small and restrictive.

What should be the materials to use in constructing the cages? Based on experience never use wood in your cages as lovebirds will eat them, I have wooden cages which where good only for 1 year then all the wood where eaten away. Lovebirds have a tendency to line their nest boxes with soft materials before they lay their eggs, if they could chew on the wooden frame of the cages then its good-bye to your cage. The best material therefore is round bars probably gauge # 8, then for the screen use the ½ eye gauge #18 if you intend to use a smaller gauge be very careful because this birds could sometimes cut through it. I have cages where I have to repair the screen when the birds cut through it, I have also lost about 2 pairs when they escaped and flew away. So invest in good and quality cages that can last for more than 10 years.

Flight Cages
Lovebirds are healthy if you put them in flight cages, since they will have more room to exercise. Birds if they have competition tend to strive more to become fit. Your flight cage could be a free standing cage at your garden or it could be an indoor cage placed together with your breeding cages. As a rule of thumb, a 1sq.m. cage could house about 2 pairs.   

Lovebirds need a cage which has at least two places to perch, with room to fly from one to the other. Perches need to be a size which is comfortable for the bird’s feet, not too small or too large. I have used round, square, and branch perches and they don’t differ much to the birds, what is important is the perches are placed securely on the cages. Why? Lovebirds often mate at the perches and if your perches are not securely fastened tendency is the female might not have fertile eggs due to unsuccessful mating. So far the best perch materials which I have used are branches of guava trees because it has a natural formation big to small to suit the birds grasp, secondly the birds find it hard to chew therefore a longer lifespan. I have used bamboo, Manzanita, and other branches of non-toxic trees and so far only guava branches have impressed me. As a rule of thumb, 1 lovebird should have at least 1 foot area of the perch, the number of birds therefore should have a corresponding number of perches.


It is convenient to have two sets of food and water dishes so that they can be alternated and washed each day. Water must be changed and the dish washed every day. Food dishes can stay longer, with food added each day if preferred, but food dishes do need to be completely emptied, washed and refilled at least once a week. Caution – food dishes sometimes look full, but only have seed hulls and waste in them, with no good food for the bird!

Lovebirds need the same size food as cockatiels and other small parrots. If you plan to feed your birds a seed mix, choose one which contains nutritional supplements to assure a total diet to keep birds healthy. Do you know how to check if your seeds and grains are nutritious and fresh? 1. If the seeds and grains are shinny. 2. There should be no traces of insects or bugs in the sack. 3. The seeds and grains should not be full of dust. 4. Get some seeds and grains and try to sprout them, if they sprout it means that they are new.

Our birds are supplied with the following seeds and grain mixtures;

1. Seed/grain mix: 0.20 part sunflower, 0.20 part clip oats, 0.10 part safflower, 1 part bird seeds (millet) and 0.75 parts canary seeds. For a pair, daily consumption is about 2 tablespoon.

2. Groat oats are provided to birds with chicks.

The seed/grain mix and groat oats should be placed in separate food dishes.

Give fresh foods at least 3 or 4 times a week. Our birds love corn, kangkong and sikwa. You can try other vegetables and fruits too just avoid avocado. Make sure to thoroughly wash the vegetables or fruits to remove any traces of pesticides or chemicals which could hurt the birds. Caution – remove any uneaten fresh foods from the cage before it spoils. (4 hours after given in the morning)

Always keep shell grits and cuttlebone in the cage all the time, cuttlebone for calcium requirements and grit to help digest the food intake. You may also put in empty egg shells, eggs are one of our staple food and the shell are good source of calcium.

Eggfood are also good protein source for chicks, hard boil 1 chicken egg for 15 minutes then allow it to cool down and smash to chewable sizes for the birds.

The time may come when you and nature decide its time for the birds to breed. If possible, provide a group opportunity for birds to choose their own mates. Make a flight cage that could house around ten heads of the same specie and place dummy nest boxes at the right age of 10 months to 1 year if 2 birds have paired then they will start inspecting the box and in the evening both will be inside the box or the hen will be inside the box while the cock stays outside. The birds are a true pair therefore you may catch them and place them in a breeding cage. One male plus one female does not necessarily equal a breeding pair.

A breeding cage should be provided with a nest box measuring 6x6x10 inches, nesting materials maybe wood shavings of about 1 inch thick or dried grass. Give the birds some privacy and stand back. The birds attack the nesting materials shredding them into strips softened by chewing or soaking in water.

The hen typically lays 4 to 6 eggs and incubates the eggs for 21-24 days. The hen lays eggs every other day and on the third egg it will start to incubate the eggs. If your pair lays 8 or more eggs and incubates too long, congratulations! You have paired up two hens! In a true pair, the cock helps incubate, but spends much of his time guarding the nest box entrance.

When the eggs hatch both parents feed the young. Provide foods that are easy for the parents to digest, such as dry high-protein baby cereal, soaked groat oats, lukewarm oatmeal, or nesting food. The babies fledge in 5 or 6 weeks and the parents continue to care for the young until they are weaned 2 weeks later.

If your birds allow the eggs to cool, or the young to die, be understanding, parenthood is a shock to the bird with no prior experience to draw upon. By the second or third clutch, they should be able to care for their young. While lovebirds will, as a rule, rest themselves, limit pairs to 2-3 clutches of young per year. Parenthood is hard on a bird.

  Lovebirds like to bathe frequently. They will bathe in their water dishes if the dishes are large enough. If not you can set a shallow dish of water in the cage occasionally for their use. They also like to be sprayed with water mist once in a while. This helps keep their feathers in good condition.

If your bird is to be kept near the kitchen be very careful not to overheat Teflon pans. When Teflon gets too hot it gives off fumes which are very toxic to birds! The bird may die with respiratory distress. Teflon coated irons and other items can also be very dangerous.

Shared by:   Joselito "Lito" Palacio - CAS Member
               Glenn Quisido - CAS Member