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Love Birds

by Chantelle Cremona

Love birds groom and comb each other constantly, and sit and sleep as close together as possible. This is how they got their name.

They love water and are happy to take a bath every day. They can make exellent pets and can be very affectionatetowards their owners.

Mother love birds lay three to eight eggs at a time. You can teach a baby love bird to eat directly from your hands.

Some general information about Lovebirds

Any of nine species of small parrots,), of Africa and Madagascar. Lovebirds are noted for pretty colours and the seemingly affectionate proximity of pairs. The nine species are 10 to 16 cm (4 to 6 inches) long, chunky, and short-tailed; most have a red bill and prominent eye-ring. In the wild, large flocks forage in woods and scrublands for seeds and may damage crops. Some species nest in tree holes; the female carries nest material tucked into her rump feathers and runs bits of grass or leaf through her bill to soften them. The 4 to 6 eggs are incubated for about 20 days.

Popular in small aviaries, lovebirds are not easy to tame. However, they may be taught to perform tricks and to mimic human speech to a limited extent. They are hardy and long-lived but pugnacious toward other birds and have loud, squawky voices.

The black-masked lovebird, of Tanzania is green with a blackish brown head and a yellow band across the breast .The largest species is the rosy-faced lovebird, A. roseicollis, of Angola to South Africa.

Birds erroneously called lovebirds include the budgerigar and the parrot let, of tropical American forests.

Two closely related species of small African parrots, the peach-faced lovebird and Fischer's lovebird, have completely different methods of carrying nesting material. The females of both species prepare nesting material by cutting long, narrow strips of bark, leaves, or paper. The peach-faced lovebird tucks each strip, after she cuts it, into the feathers of the lower back, or rump. When she has accumulated about six strips, she flies to the nest cavity, retrieves the strips, and places them in her nest. Fischer's lovebirds carry each strip in the bill, one at a time, to the nest cavity.

The courtship behaviour of male hybrids, paired with female hybrids of this same cross, is intermediate between that of the two parental-species males. When the hybrid males are paired with parental-species females, their courtship behaviour, in most cases, is closer to that of the parental species of the female, although it sometimes remains intermediate. The species-typical behaviour of the females is thus seen to influence the pattern of male courtship. The courtship behaviours of some bird hybrids are not so greatly modified; for them, no permissible variability has been inherited.


Fischer's Lovebirds
Agapornis fischeri
Alias: NONE
Sexual Dimorphism: NONE

Physical Characteristics

Both cocks and hens appear alike. FischerŐs Lovebirds are green, being darker on the wings and back, and lighter on the underparts. The forehead is bright orange-red, suffusing to dark olive, with cheeks and throats a paler orange. The rump and upper t ail coverts are violet blue. The bill is coral red, the care and bare skin around the eye is white and the feet are pale grey.

Fischer's are about 15cm from head to tail. One outstretched wing is about 9cm. The Females weight 50g to 52g and the males weight 46g to 48g

Habitat Range

In the wild, FischerŐs lovebirds are found on the inland plateaus of northern Tanzania

Reproductive Characteristics

In captivity, they breed freely and have been bred in large colonies.

These birds have a clutch size of three to five, with five being the usual number. The incubation period runs three and a half to four weeks. The babies learn to fly around 35 to 37 days old.

History

The Fischer's Lovebirds is named for one if it's co-discovers Dr. G.A. Fischer. They were discovered on an expedition led to Lake Victoria. The exportation of these birds began around 1928. (Deeply, 1996)

Abyssinian Lovebirds
Agapornis taranta
Alias: Black-winged Lovebird
Sexual Dimorphism: yes

Physical Characteristics

The cock is viridian green, the forehead, lures, and small ring of feathers around the eye, are carmine red and the under wing coverts are black. Hens have no red on the head or eye area, their under wing coverts are green, but variable to black with some green.

A male Abysinian Lovebird will reach 17 to 18cm in length and weigh 45g to 48g.

Habitat

In their native homelands these birds live in cold, humid, fog and rain. At night the temperature drops below freezing. On a good day the sun will come out and the temperatures will rise up to about 82°F and almost 100% humidity

Range

The Abyssinian is a high altitude dweller from Ethiopia. These little birds put up with the broadest range of temperatures.

Reproductive Characteristics

Abyssinians are definitely a "single pair" breeder. These birds are shy as pets. Hand-feed babies tend to be nippy to the point of drawing blood.

Females will lay three to six eggs; she then incubates the eggs for 26 to 29 day. It takes the young at least 46 day before they learn to fly.

History

It was little known to aviculture until this century and was first imported into the trade in the early 1900's.



Donated by by Chantelle Cremona



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