Caring for Your New Lovebird
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Lovebird Factoids

Origin

Africa and Madagascar (warm and humid)

Sexual Differences

Males slightly more colorful and smaller
Females wider perch stance and wider tail

Temperature

80o at first, then room temperature

Tree Dweller

Needs high cage, high perches, high nest box

Main Food

Vitaminized cockatiel food plus treat sticks

Other Treats

Greens, fruits, sprouts, nuts, mealworms

Water

Water bottles keep their water cleaner

Threats

Drafts. Teflon. All fumes. Excess noise.

Dislikes

Swings

Preferences

High corner perches.  Open spaces in cage.

Chewer

Provide cuttlebones and chew toys

Light

Full spectrum most healthful

Bath

Shallow bowl of clean water. Mist often.

Nest boxes

Provide two to choose from

Ladders

Loves to climb.  Climbs on cage bars also.


LA
Hand-fed lovebirds and cockatiels will mix.


Origins:  Most lovebird species come from Africa, down around the southern part.  This means they like warm and humid conditions.

LA
Hand-fed lovebirds make excellent pets.

Size:  Lovebirds grow slightly larger than a parakeet (about the same size as an English Keet with a short tail) but slightly smaller than a cockatiel.

LA
Young peach face lovebirds give just a hint of their developing colors.

LA
Adult peachface lovebird.

Colorful:  Lovebirds are tough to beat for color – and they come in a wide range of bright colors.  A cage of these colorful birds really brightens up a room.  They color up the sounds of the room also.

LA
Albino lovebirds come in white and yellow -- or pale yellow.

LA
Variegated lovebirds really catch your eye.

 

Noisy:  Yes, lovebirds can make noise.  Nothing like a conure, of course (no bird is more obnoxious than a noisy conure), but their greeting can really grate on your ears.  Make sure you know how loud they can holler before you decide to add a pair of lovebirds to your living room.

LA
Semi-rare pair of white lovebirds.  They look blue from here.

Sort of Social:  Until they pair off, lovebirds get along in groups.  Once a pair bonds, they will drive off other birds.  The pair will severely bite and wound “outsiders.”

The “Love” Part:  Two lovebirds cozy up to each other, groom each other, and feed each other.  Singles don’t like being kept alone.  Some people insist they mate for life.

Sexing:  Let an expert sex them for you.  Just because two lovebirds get along does not mean they are a pair.  Pair or not, they still act like lovebirds.

LA
"Get me outta here, Warden."

LA
Black-faced lovebirds -- professional acrobats in action.

Space Requirements:  Most source books recommend large cages – nearly a cubic yard.  This gives them room to fly about their cage.  No matter how much room you give them, they will still constantly huddle together.  Other people keep them in smaller cages and give them exercise sessions outside of their cage.  We suggest clipping one wing if you let yours out.  We have more trouble catching lovebirds than any other escapees.  They are consummate escape artists.  And once out of their cage, lovebirds are expert dodgers of bird nets.

LA
Lutino peach face lovebirds

Breeding Boxes:  For some reason, lovebirds want two breeding boxes to choose between.  In an aviary or very large cage, two pairs want to squabble all the time.  Keep three or more pairs to avoid fights.  And put all (identical) breeding boxes at the same level.  If one box is different, they may decide to fight over it.  They’re funny that way.

LA
Some baby love birds prepped for hand feeding.

LA

LA

LA

LA

LA
Not quite old enough to stand on their own.
 

Lighting:  Like most birds, lovebirds grow and look better under full-spectrum lighting.  Just like us, they need vitamin D to help them absorb calcium.  And just like us, they can store vitamin D.  Both of us can get it from our food.

Agile:  In the air, nothing compares with a lovebird for agility.  Most birds that escape from their cages are easily recaptured – not lovebirds.  Lovebirds on the wing can easily dodge your capture net.  They also never seem to tire. 

Water:  All birds need water throughout the day.  Forgetting to water your lovebird for 24 hours can result in its death.  Water bottles work great.

Baths:  Lovebirds also like to take baths.  They also enjoy showers from your mister.  These occasional mistings cause them to preen their feathers and glisten even more.

LA
Give young ones a huge cage and they all cuddle together.

Talkers:  Lovebirds can learn to talk.  However, if you want a talker, many other hookbills learn to speak much more easily.  LA.
 

Jamie Cliff, Dearborn, MI, September 19, 2009
You have a few errors in your lovebird care page.
1. While I suppose it's preference, it's not usually suggested to use water bottles for birds, as they harbor food and bacteria in the nozzle.  They are difficult to clean properly -- more so than usual dishes.
[ http://www.parrotparrot.com/birdhealth/#clean ]
2. You put 'Swings' under dislikes.  This might be a preference specifically to your birds, but from my experience I have never seen a lovebird that dislikes swings.  Both of my lovebirds have two swings in their cages, and they are on them at least twenty-five percent of the time.  My lovie, Indra, loves to sit on her swing while I am moving her cage, or during car rides.  I was always worried about this and would try to restrain the swing, but the bumpy swaying of it excites her.  Sometimes I will grab the hook of Dorian's swing while he is perched on it, and wiggle it back and forth to move the swing.  Both of them are enthralled by this.  Beyond that, swings are one of the safest toys that can be given to lovebirds.
3. I have successfully mixed birds before; when I was younger. I had a runt of a cockatiel [roughly the size of a lovebird] and a parakeet who had lost his mate.  After an incident of his much smaller cage being knocked over by a cat who found its way into the room, Lightning was experimentally moved to Cupid, the cockatiel's, cage.  They had been friends for years before, and quickly became company for each other.  This was a special case, however, and could have turned out badly if our birds were not as familiar with the other.  It is commonly ill advised to house different species of birds together -- even with proper supervision, it can be a danger to either of them.  I don't have much info about the specifics of cage mixing, but I'd advise adding some more information beneath the picture you have, so that unknowledgeable people [like myself previously] don't try it and end up with dead or injured birds.
4. You referred to your white-and-yellow lovebird as an 'albino'--this is incorrect.  There is no albino lovebird.  The closest mutation to actual albino is creamino, which is the mutation of the buttery-white bird shown in the picture.
[ http://keola-aviaries.4t.com/custom.html ]
5. It is mentioned the power of a lovebird's vocals, but I would suggest elaborating on a lovebird's actual call.  I have never found a problem with any lovebird's chirp, but it is taxing on the ears.  [Indra and Dorian live on different floors, but they will sometimes scream to each other, and can be heard clearly.  This is funny until they do it while sitting on your shoulder.]  Perhaps explaining the sharp, short, very high "tweet!" that they can produce might give your readers more insight on exactly what a lovebird sounds like. 
6. On sexing -- sometimes feeling the pelvic bones of your lovebird can provide insight to their sex.  A male will have pelvic bones very close together, whereas a female will have them further apart due to egg laying.  Other ways of telling sex are by genetics and colouring [i.e. Dorian is a slate gray, and therefore a male.  Given his parents' mutations there is no way he could be anything but a male.  The same goes for his three sisters, who were all creaminos.].  Nesting habits can be used to identify sex once a bird reaches sexual maturity.  Finally, a simple DNA test [either a blood draw, or by sending in a toenail/five chest feathers to Avian Biotech] can be performed.  That, or you can wait to see if your birds mate and produce eggs.
I hope this helps on improving the quality of your informational page on lovebirds!

A:  Actually, you have improved the quality of our lovebird page.  I'll post it this afternoon.  Thanks.  LA
PS  When you're in a bird room with 20 or so lovebirds, even the most ardent love bird fan will long for a set of those Bose headphones.  Ditto for quakers.  And lots of the conures.

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