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Lovebirds: Amore, Aviculture Style

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Don't miss this excellent book:

A New Owner's Guide to Lovebirds

by Nikki Moustaki

A New Owner's Guide to Lovebirds

This book contains all the information needed for one who wants to own and care for lovebirds. It is one of the best I've found. The text is clear, the advice is easy to put into practice and the photographs are lovely.

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masked lovebirdsThe Masked Lovebird is green with a head that ranges in color from brown to sooty black. Around its neck is a yellow collar, the bill is red and the feet are blackish gray. They are found on the inland plateaus in northeastern Tanzania and were not known to the modern world until the late 1800s. They were not imported until the 1920s. These birds breed freely in colonies.

Those species without eye rings include the Peachfaced Lovebird and the Black-collared Lovebird. First discovered in the late 1700s, the Peachfaced is found in the dry country of South Angola. They are unique in the sense that while in the wild, these birds are usually found in groups of ten. (One can only wonder. Do they know how to count?) In captivity, they are most prolific. Their plumage is bright almond-green with a brilliant blue on the rump. Varying shades of rose-red adorn the head and neck.

The Black-collared Lovebird is also known as Swindern’s Lovebird. It is unique in that within this species there is also a distinct and separate sub-species. Agapornis Swinderniana sports many colors, but the body is mainly dusty green with a yellow wash on the throat. A narrow black collar is found on the nape of the neck with a chrome yellow area below.

In the case of the sub-species, Agapornis Swinerniana Zenkeri, the collar is extended and is orange instead of black. It is also a slightly brighter green and a bit larger than its "brother." These birds have never been successfully exported from their home in the Cameroons east of the central part of Zaire. This sub species was kept alive by the efforts of a missionary who kept them on a diet composed of sycamore figs.

lovebirdsIf you wish to bring a lovebird into your home, it is advised to start with a young Peach Faced lovebird. It is the easiest of the breed to keep, and its engaging personality makes it an endearing pet. It is also true that the younger the bird, the easier it is to train and become acclimated to its new owner, the diet provided and the daily routines of its new environment.

Lovebirds need a cage which has at least two places to perch, with plenty of room to fly from one to the other. A cage with a horizontal measurement of 24 inches to 30 inches is ideal. The perches need to be a size that is comfortable for the bird’s feet, not too small and not too large. These birds need the same size food as cockatiels and other small parrots. Try to give fresh foods to your bird at least three or four times a week. Vegetables and fruits often fare well. It is also a good idea to keep cuttlebone in the cage at all times, which provides calcium for the bird. Millet sprays, which are sometimes referred to as "seed trees" provide good treats.

Lovebirds are very hardy creatures and do not need to be kept particularly warm all the time. (Love, after all, makes its own heat.) They do like to bathe frequently and they will often do so in their water dishes, if they are large enough. They also like to be sprayed with water mist once in a while and this helps them maintain their feathers. They make wonderful pets, but don’t forget to cover them at night before going to sleep. They need their privacy too while pruning and…celebrating the day of all lovers, St. Valentine’s Day.

Happy St. Valentine’s Day to all lovebirds and to all a good night.