Lovebirds - General

By Rick Axelson, DVM

General Information

lovebirds-1The Peach-faced lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis) is the largest and most commonly kept of the nine species of lovebirds. This small, colorful, short-tailed parrot originates from Africa. They are incredibly inquisitive, playful and possess a delightful, spirited sassiness. They are in general, poor talkers but commonly full of delightful chatter. They love to hide under paper, on shoulders under long hair, or even in pockets. Although not generally destructive, they do enjoy chewing. Providing non-toxic fresh branches, pieces of paper and pet-safe toys will afford many hours of entertainment for this curious little pet. During breeding, lovebirds will take strips of chewed paper or other material, tuck it under the feathers of the wing and rump, and then carry them back to the nest. This repetitive behavior is often seen in lone female birds. The young single bird can be a wonderful, affectionate and interactive family pet. A pair of lovebirds will often bond strongly to each other even if they are the same sex. As a pair, they usually live very compatibly with each other and may even go through the antics of nest building. Despite the name lovebird, these animals can be very territorial and aggressive in a colony situation or with other bird species.

"Despite the name lovebird, these animals can be very territorial and aggressive in a colony situation or with other bird species."

Other common species of lovebirds that are kept as pets are the Black-masked Lovebird, Blue-masked Lovebird, and Fischer's Lovebird.

Purchasing a Lovebird

Lovebirds may be purchased from a pet store or a reputable breeder. When selecting a lovebird, try to choose a young bird as it will be easier to tame and train. Older, wild, colony or parent raised birds may prove challenging to tame. Hand raised babies often make better pets since they have been completely socialized with humans. Young birds are easier to tame and adapt readily to new environments and situations. Your new bird should be exposed early to different events (young and old people, males and females, other pets, car trips, visits to the veterinarian, etc.) to help promote a calm, well-adjusted pet. The lively, alert bird that is not easily frightened is more likely a healthy bird. After purchasing your new bird, have it examined by a veterinarian familiar with birds.

Veterinary Care

Lovebirds require regular, routine veterinary health check-ups. Your veterinarian can perform a physical examination, grooming (beak, nail or feather trim as necessary) and laboratory tests as needed. During these semi-annual check-ups, health, nutritional and maintenance issues can be identified and addressed. Veterinary check-ups help prevent disease and will aid in the maintenance of a long lasting, healthy relationship between you and your bird.



Depends on the species; predominantly green with orange, yellow, blue, black, white or gray - markings, usually more dominant on the head, neck and rump


  • Similar to the adult



  • No external sex differences
  • Females weigh slightly more than the males

Surgical sexing or blood testing methods must be employed to differentiate between the sexes


  • No external sex differences

WeightAverage 1.5 - 2 ounces (40 - 60 grams)

SizeAverage 5 - 6.5 inches (13 - 16.5 cm) in length

Life span6 -12 years (maximum 14 years)

DietConsult your veterinarian.

BreedingSexual maturity - 8-12 months

Prolific breeders in captivity

Brood Size3 - 7 whitish eggs hatch in 18 - 24 days, young leave the nest in 5-6 weeks

CageMinimum 2 ft x 2 ft x 3 ft long (60 cm x 60 cm x 90 cm)

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