This FAQ attempts to cover the basics of Lovebird ownership and breeding. It is by no means a complete guide to everything you need to know about Lovebirds. There are many generalizations in this FAQ, and as with any bird FAQ, there are exceptions to eve rything. If your Lovebird doesn't fit the generalizations, it simply means that they are their own bird, and their personality is unique. If you wish more information, there are some recommendations for books within this FAQ.
Lovebirds are small, active, happy birds. They can also be loud and nippy. A single Lovebird can be a great pet, while a pair of Lovebirds will often bond to each other and not care to spend time with you. A Lovebird will not sing, and few Lovebirds will learn human speech. But they are a lot of personality packed into a tiny and relatively inexpensive bird. If you are looking for a small buddy, who will be thrilled to play with you and snuggle with you, a Lovebird may be exactly right for you. But be p repared for some shrill chirps, a few nips on the finger, and very inquisitive shadow.
A young hand-fed Lovebird is the best bet for an inexperienced bird-owner. Parent-raised lovebirds are tamable, but it requires a lot of love, patience, and tolerance to bites.
Lovebirds are fairly cheap in comparison to most of their parrot cousins. Hand-raised Lovebirds can range in price from $40 to $130 for the more common species and mutations. Parent-fed Lovebirds are generally less expensive. The rarer species and mutati ons will cost quite a bit more.
Lovebirds require more than just seed. A pelleted diet, supplemented with fresh fruits, vegetables, boiled eggs, cereals, pasta, rice, and lentils will produce a heathly, beautifully feathered Lovebird. Many Lovebird breeders also feed a seed-based diet, with most of the other foods as supplements. A seed-based diet must consist of a mixture of seeds and grains. Canary seed, millet, rice, oats, safflower and a small amount of sunflower are the most popular parts of these seed mixes. Corn is often a big hit with Lovebirds, as is sprouted seed. Lovebirds also tend to drink a lot of water, and must have fresh water available at all times.
The minimum cage size for a single pair of Lovebirds is 30 X 30 X 18. As with all birds, the bigger the cage the better. Provide your Lovebirds with the biggest cage that you can afford, and have space for. Bar spacing is also important, and should be no more than 3/4 inch.
Lovebirds do have the ability to talk, but very few do. They also do not sing. Lovebirds have a variety of peeps, cheeps, chirps, and squeaks. An attentive Lovebird-parent will learn what many of these sounds mean to their birds. Lovebirds can have very shrill voices however, and should not be expected to be quiet at all times.
Lovebirds can be trained to do little tricks. However, it is much more likely that they will train you. You will quickly learn their likes and dislikes, what they want and when they want it, and you will love every minute of it.
There are 9 different Lovebird Species, which are broken up into three groups: the White Eye Ring group, the Intermediate group, and the Sexually Dimorphic group.
The Black Masked and Blue Masked are the most common of this species, with many mutations including violet, lutinos, albinos and pieds, The parYellow and parWhite are are much more rare. All of these bird have a black mask. They have a red beak, yellow
collar, green body, bluish rump, and black and red band on the tail. The Blue Masked also has a horn colored beak, white collar, blue body and tail.
Length: 6-6 ¼ inches
Normal Fischer's have an orange face and throat, red forehead, red beak, green body, and green tail with blue tips. There are also blue, yellow, seagreen, lutino, pied, and spangle mutations.
Length: 4 inches
The overall color of these birds is green, with brown/black cheeks and forehead. The back of the head is yellow/green, and the throat is orange. They have a red beak, and green body. While no color mutations are known, many of these birds have been hybri
dized with Maskeds, Nyasas, and Fischer's.
Length: 4 ½ inches
Mainly green birds, with a red beak, red forehead, and orange/red throat and cheeks. The tail has a dark band near the tip. There is a Lutino mutation of the Nyasa Lovebird, which has a red head and yellow body. These Lutinos are smaller in size.
Length: 4 ¼ inches
The normal Peach-Face is primarily green, with a red face and throat and horn colored beak. They have blue rumps and a green tail with some black, rust, and red colors in it. There are more than 75 mutations of the Peach-Face. The most popular being the
Lutinos with the same red head face, but with a yellow body, and the Blues who have a pale blue body and a softer peach colored face.
Length: 6-7 inches
Both males and females are green, with the male having a red brow. The eye ring in males is more red, while the females is green. Tails are black tipped, and beaks are red. The underneath of the wings is black on a male, and either greenish or black/brow
n on a female. There are a few rare mutations of these birds, including Olives and Cinnamons.
Length: 6-6 ½ inches
The male birds have a gray upper body and head, the female has a lighter green where the male is gray. The rest of the body is varing shades of green with black feather tips, and a hazy yellowish color on the chest. The beak is a grayish color. There hav
e been a few pied mutations, but they are rare.
Length: 5 ½ inches
Primarily a green bird, the males have a bright red face, blue rump, and blacktips on the primary wing feathers, with some blue and black on the other wing feathers. The tail is green with red on the side feathers, and a blck band before the tip. The fem
ales a paler orange face, with a smaller amount of color in the face then the male, and green wing feathers. Both have red beaks. There is a rare recessive blue mutation of the Red-Face Lovebirds.
Length: 6 inches
Swindern's are very rare birds. Little is known of them. They have a green head, yellowish throat, blue rump, red and black in the tail, a black band that runs across the back of the head, and a gray beak.
Length: 5 inches
Breeding Lovebirds require a healthy diet consisting of a lot of greens as well as their regular diet. A bird on a seed-only diet will not be in top condition for breeding. The area that the breeding birds live in should be about 60F with the humidity at 40-50%. A nestbox is also required, and the standard parakeet size boxes sold in stores are fine for Lovebirds as well. Provide the Lovebirds with newspaper, palm fronds, branches of willow and fruit trees, or pine shaving for nesting materials. Usually a combination of these are best. Determined Lovebirds can build their nest in 4 or 5 days. The first egg is laid about 10 days after mating, and another egg is laid every other day until the clutch is 4 to 6 eggs. After 6 or 7 days, you should be able t o tell if the eggs are fertile by "candling" them. Hold the eggs gently near a bright light. If you can clearly see a dark spot surrounded by blood vessels, the egg is fertile. The incubation period for Lovebirds is 21 to 26 days.
Once the chicks hatch , make sure to provide a lot of good foods for the parents. They will be feeding the chicks, and should have corn, egg, greens, fruit and other foods available at all times. Fresh water is very important also, so be sure to replace their water often. Be sure to check that all the babies are being fed. Occasionally, you may have to handfeed a baby immediately. If the parents are feeding the babies properly, should continue to check them periodically anyway. If you plan on hand-feeding the babies, the bes t time to pull them is from 10 - 14 days old. If you don't pull them, the parents will kick the babies out of the nest at 5 to 6 weeks, and they should be eating on their own by then. The male Lovebird helps teach his chicks to eat regular foods.
Baby Lovebirds that are being hand-fed should be placed in a "hospital box". A small aquarium works well. Cover the bottom with soft towels, and place a heating pad under half the aquarium. Be sure to keep the birds warm. Hand-feeding can be done with a syrin ge or a spoon, although a syringe is the most popular choice. Hand-feeding formulas must be kept at the proper temperature, or the babies will either not eat, or develop crop problems. I won't go into too much detail here about hand-feeding, because it r equires a great deal of care and knowledge. Please ask your Avian Vet or local breeder to teach you how to do this. There are also a lot of books on this subject. Look at the Book Recommendation section of this FAQ.
Lovebirds usually wean around 8 week s old. Provide your babies with a lot of different foods, including soft food, small pieces of fruit and vegetables, seed, pellets and millet.
Lovebirds: A Complete Pet Owner's Manual. Author: Vriends
Breeding Lovebirds. Author: Silva & Kotlar
The Handbook Of Lovebirds. Author: Bielfeld & Heidenreich
The World Of Lovebirds. Author: Lantermann
All About Lovebirds. Author: Soderburg
The Professional's Book Of Lovebirds. Author: Coborn