Lovebirds As Pets: Types, Lifespan, Character And Feeding

Lovebirds are one of the most popular parrots among other birds kept as pets. They are very beautiful exotic birds and belong to the Psittacidae family of the Agapornis genus.

There are 9 species of Lovebirds: the Gray-headed Lovebird is native to Madagascar and the other 8 species are native to the African continent. Lovebirds are small parrots compared to other parrot species, they are also called “pocket parrots”.

In the United States, the most commonly kept species are the Peach-faced Lovebird, the Black Masked, and the Fischer’s Lovebird.

In the wild, lovebirds are very noisy birds and live in small flocks, in arid inland areas, savannas, and farmland. In some areas, many wild lovebirds can be killed for damage to agricultural crops, but in other regions, they are protected by law.

In the wild, lovebirds build their nest in hollows of trees, rocks or bushes. The lovebirds migrate irregularly from one place to another in search of water and food.


The Lovebirds are one of the smallest birds in the parrot family. Lovebirds have robust bodies, short tails, large hooked beaks, and specific legs: two fingers pointing forward and two pointing back. The beak is large compared to its body.

Depending on the species, the Lovebirds’ wild plumage is generally green with various colors on the upper part of their bodies. Lovebirds mate for life, stay close to each other, and groom and feed each other regularly.  If the mate dies, the partner will generally remate soon.

Young Lovebirds have black lines on their beaks up to 8 weeks old. The Lovebird’s body length is between 13-18 cm (5-7 inches) from the beak to the tip of the tail feathers and weighs around 40-70 grams (0.088 – 0.154 pounds).

Types Of Lovebirds

There are 9 different types of lovebirds

  1. Peach-faced Lovebird
  2. Fischer’s lovebirds
  3. Black-cheeked lovebirds
  4. Gery headed or Madagascar lovebirds
  5. Yellow-collared or black masked lovebirds
  6. Black-collared or swindern’s lovebirds
  7. Black-winged or Abyssinian lovebirds
  8. Red-headed or red-faced lovebirds
  9. Lilian’s or Nyasa lovebirds

Peach-faced Lovebird

Peach-faced LovebirdIt has mostly green plumage with a bright peach redhead and throat, yellow belly coloration, blue, red, and green tail feathers. Peach-faced lovebirds have a beige beak and no eye-ring.

Fischer’s lovebird

Fischer’s lovebirdsIt features mostly green plumage with dark green feathers on the wings and back, orange head and upper body, blue lower back, rump, and tail. The Fischer Lovebird has a prominent white eye-ring and a red beak.

Black-cheeked lovebirds

Black-cheeked lovebirdsThese birds show mostly green plumage, dark brown cheeks, and throat, reddish-brown forehead, and chest, olive-yellow feathers at the nape of the neck. Black-cheeked lovebirds have a prominent white eye-ring and a red beak.

Yellow-collared lovebird

Yellow-collared or black masked lovebirdsFeatures mostly green plumage with the yellow upper body, dark brown cheeks and head, and gray-blue tail feathers. Yellow-collared lovebirds have a prominent white eye-ring and a red beak. The female is slightly larger than the male.

Black-winged lovebirds

Black-winged or Abyssinian lovebirdsIt features mostly green plumage with black wing feathers and a red beak. These birds do not have an eye-ring, they have sexual dimorphism, which means that only the male has red feathers on the crown, around the eyes, and on the forehead. The female’s plumage is all green with no red coloration on the head.

Gray-headed lovebird

It has mostly green with dark gray plumage on the back, pale gray on the upper part of the body, neck, head and the bill is light gray. These birds do not have an eye-ring, they have sexual dimorphism, which means that the male has a gray upper part of the body, neck, and head. Females are completely green in color.

Red-headed lovebird

Red-headed or red-faced lovebirdsIt has mostly green plumage with some yellow feathers on the chest and lower wings, red face, and red beak. These birds do not have an eye-ring, they have sexual dimorphism, which means that the male has a darker red face and beak than the female.

Lilian’s Lovebird

Lilian’s or Nyasa lovebirdsFeatures primarily green plumage with darker green on the back and rump area, orange head and upper chest, red beak, and prominent white eye-ring.


Lovebirds are very curious, active, playful, and loving birds. They have the skills and intelligence of some of the largest parrots. Lovebirds do not have to be kept in pairs to have a happy life, they are like many other parrot species and can be kept as birds alone or in pairs together.

If their mate dies, they will generally bond with other Lovebirds. Lovebirds are territorial and can be aggressive, especially during the mating season, when they can become hormonal and jealous. The interactions between lovebirds and other pets like cats or dogs should be supervised because these birds can be mean.

They should not be kept together with smaller birds, as they can bite the toes of other birds. Parrots that were previously captured in the wild have an extraordinary repertoire of whistles and sing and whistle very often at night, especially those with a full moon.

In the wild, the male uses specific sounds to attract the female. Lovebirds are more talented at whistling than speaking and rarely talk or imitate human speech. The female Lovebird is more affectionate and, generally, in the breeding season, protects her cage and nest more than the male.

Lovebirds are not considered too noisy birds compared to other parrot species as they use chirping and screeching. Lovebirds are very social birds and will sit happily on your finger or shoulder. A single bird will need a lot of interaction with the owner. Lovebirds can bite if they are frightened by sudden hand movements, so they are not good pets for everyone.

They need lots of toys and a very strong relationship with humans to prevent behavioral problems. Older birds are less adaptable to a new owner and will react by tearing their feathers in response to these kinds of changes in their lives. Young parrots can very easily adapt to new environments.

Lovebirds are very sociable birds, but when neglected they can get depressed, pluck their feathers, and refuse to eat. Lovebirds love to play very often and get bored very easily. To keep them happy, all they need to do is make sure there are toys (plastic chains, perches, swings, ladders), pieces of wood (they can nibble on), and tree branches available to them.

In the wild, if one member of a flock will learn a new skill, the other members will copy that new skill, because it plays an important role in their survival. Wild parrots must always be ready to protect their territory, find food and water, avoid birds of prey, defend their partner, and transmit these qualities to their descendants.

So, if you decide to bring a parrot as a pet in your house, you will have to know that you will have to dedicate time, patience, and affection, every day to your bird. Your parrot will need to learn to cooperate, tolerate environmental changes, and accept veterinary attention and testing.

He/she has to develop a strong sense of their own personality, otherwise, if a bird does not learn to clean or play when it is alone, after all, it will decide that the owner can satisfy all kinds of his need. You will have to guide your bird towards acceptable behavior, because it is much easier to prevent bad behaviors, instead of changing them.

Because in the wild, parrots used to live in tree holes, it is very important to offer them wooden sticks to chew on. Parrots generally represent a very long-term responsibility and are not the perfect choice for everyone.

Some owners often scare sensitive lovebirds with their jerky movements, putting a new toy in their cage, or trying to deliver them to strangers. Chasing a sensitive and sacred bird and trying to catch and comfort is the last thing we want to do. This is the perfect example of how our bird will lose confidence in us. In these situations, it is best to leave the bird alone until it has calmed down.

If your parrot starts screaming for attention and you yell at the bird, then what it has done is reinforce the bird’s misbehavior. Yelling out of boredom is another common situation among lovebirds. To stop excessive screaming, you must first change your interaction with your bird, then try to get a bigger cage, add more natural branches and chew wood, replace old toys with new ones as often as possible.

If by mistake, you taught your bird that it will catch your attention when it screams, then you should stop paying attention to it and pay attention to it when it is calm and behaving well. Some people think that their bird will bite them. The bird will not bite you as long as you try to manipulate it using your hands and fingers in a friendly and calm way.

People used to react when the bird wants to step on its finger by grabbing it with its beak and people think that the bird will bite and push their finger away, but all they want is to step on your finger because the bird thinks it is a branch of a tree.

If you remove your finger, it will grab and hold it with its beak and reinforce the bird for another bad habit and the bird will realize that if it grabs your finger, it will cause another reaction, another drama.

Therefore, you should use positive reinforcement for behavior that does not result in biting. Don’t forget that they have the potential to become very tender and devoted birds, and they tend to get attached to their owners.

Young lovebirds that grow close to other adult lovebirds are less likely to be emotionally unstable because they are able to study and learn the behavior of more experienced birds.

Meeting someone who has experience raising Lovebirds will help you decide if they are the right birds for you. Parrots can produce a powder as a substance, which helps them to clean and protect their feathers, but can cause allergies to humans.

Lifespan of lovebirds

In captivity, birds can live much longer than their wild relatives on the condition that they get all the necessary nutrition and care they need. Even in captivity, lack of food, an incomplete diet, and improper care of lovebirds could lead to a considerably shorter lifespan.

The lifespan of the Lovebird is between 15 and 20 years.

Feeding Your Lovebirds

In the wild, lovebirds eat mainly seeds, grass seeds, fruits, insects, and other vegetation. In captivity, a balanced and rational diet will ensure a permanent healthy state for your bird.

The main diet of lovebirds should consist of high-quality pellets or a mixture of high-quality seeds (millet, oats, hemp, wheat, etc.); supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables, daily.

There is another option for a 100% healthy main diets, such as a mix of sprouted grains and seeds, raw and boiled vegetables, fruits, and a small number of good quality pellets.

Put some Lovebird seeds in a bowl and soak the seeds in water. Spray the seeds with water to make sure they are moist. The seeds should sprout in about 5 days. Wash them before giving them to your birds.

Pellets are a mixture of vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds, and protein. They are baked and then formed into shapes and sizes for different species. You should always refer to the package for pellet feeding instructions. The bigger your bird, the bigger the pellets should be.

Calcium deficiency is common in parrots in captivity, especially in birds that may have been fed only on seeds and due to lack of natural sunlight. Try to expose your bird to natural sunlight as much as possible and you should provide it with a calcium-rich diet daily.

Calcium is essential for bone health, muscle contraction and blood clotting, nerve, and heart function. You can offer them calcium-rich vegetables and fruits like broccoli, carrots, spinach, dandelion greens, mustard greens, figs, kale, endive, apricots.

There are specially prepared parrot foods in the store that contain calcium.

Sometimes it can be very difficult to get them to eat their veggies, so you may have to spend time encouraging your Lovebird to eat them. It is important to provide beta-carotene vegetables daily in a Lovebird’s diet because vitamin A or beta-carotene is a common deficiency found in the parrot diet.

Vegetables with high beta-carotene content are cooked sweet potato and fresh kale. Cereals like wheat contain a high level of sulfur, which can be administered to your parrot as a food supplement in the molting period.

Sulph helps to regenerate the bird’s plumage, which is why it needs to increase the amount of wheat in your parrot’s diet during the molting period.

Oat seeds contain carbohydrates and a high level of albumins, which have an important role in the development of young birds. Adult parrots should have only 10% supplementation in their diet of this cereal because too much oatmeal can lead to obesity.

Corn seeds contain a low level of vitamins and albumins but are very rich in carbohydrates. Parrots love to eat boiled corn, you can offer them as treats. Small seeds like millet and canary seeds should be mixed with Lovebird’s regular seed mix, but be careful, because too much millet seed offered as a treatment could lead to obesity.

Canary seeds contain carbohydrates. Fruits contain most of all sugar, which has very low amounts of nutrients.

If you don’t have enough time to offer your bird a variety of fresh diet every day, and you choose to feed your bird mainly with pellets, then you should be aware that good quality pellets should account for 60-80% of the diet of your parrot.

It is better to give your bird more pellets than seeds because the pellets offer complete nutrition. Parrots that were fed only on seeds used to have a shorter lifespan, because the seeds contain a high level of fat and insufficient vitamins, proteins and minerals.

The seeds should not represent more than 12% of your parrot’s diet and should not be dusty or infested with mold: hemp, flax, sunflower, Niger, canary seed, white millet, canola, etc.

Grains: rice, alfalfa, triticale, buckwheat, sesame, amaranth, quinoa.

If you decide to feed your bird a 100% healthy diet, such as sprouted seeds and grains, raw and boiled vegetables, fruit, and a small number of pellets, mix all the ingredients in one dish. Half a cup of this mixture is enough for a period of one day.

Sprouted seeds and grains provide nutrient-dense foods, are lower in fat, and will help balance your parrot’s diet. If the weather is too cold to sprout, the seeds and grains can be boiled for about 30 minutes instead of sprouting.

Sprouted seeds and grains are also good in the weaning period for young birds because the softened shell is easier to break and young birds can get used to the texture of the seeds.

Walnuts and hazelnuts should be administered in the same quantity as the seeds and should be offered in their own shell because it can be a good brain exercise for your bird: almond, cashew, walnut, pistachio, walnut.

If you have a young bird, you must teach it how to do it, breaking the hazelnut shell. You can offer your bird rice bread and rye bread; cereals like oat flakes or corn flakes but without sugar.

During the summer, you can offer them fresh vegetables: cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, green beans, peas, lettuce, peppers, celery, etc. Vegetables should be given in higher amounts than fruits.

Lovebirds also love fresh fruits such as grapes, melon, bananas, pears, nectarines, apple cubes, cactus fruits, figs, pomegranates, peaches, kiwi, papayas, mango cubes, strawberries, blueberries, blueberries, grapefruit, oranges, cherries, pineapples, etc. ..

Bee Pollen Granules, Bananas, and Coconut Chips are also some of Lovebirds’ favorite foods. You can also offer fresh herbs such as yarrow (Achillea millefolium), plantain (Plantago lanceolata), coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa pastoris).

The leaves and branches of fruit trees, oaks, beech trees (Fagus sylvatica), willow trees (Salix alba) are the best source of vitamins, you can provide them directly from the forests. You also have to offer your parrot a chance to chew on such branches.

During the winter, you can offer your bird soft food, for example, bread that was previously softened in milk and then mixed with some grated carrots, calcium, and chopped berries of sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides).

Homemade Food Recipes For Your Lovebirds

You can also make healthy homemade bird treats. For this, you will need oats, your basic bird seeds, flour, honey, water, millet.

In a plastic container, add 2 tablespoons of oatmeal, 2 tablespoons of birdseed, 1 tablespoon of flour, 1 teaspoon of millet, then add half a tablespoon of water and mix quickly. After that, add 1 tablespoon of honey and mix until fully incorporated.

Add more water if necessary.

Then roll them into balls and place them on the baking sheet. Put them in the oven for 30 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius (356 degrees Fahrenheit). Vegetables are very good nutrients for your bird and you can also give them frozen because they are as nutritious as fresh vegetables.