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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Creature Feature: Lovebirds!

Happy Love Day! C'mon, don't kid yourselves; nobody cares about St. Valentine. We care about exchanging cutesy cards, chocolate, and flowers. And, of course, love. Take that however you will.

 

 Awww, lovebirds! Even if you are not a big bird person, you have probably seen lovebirds around. They are popular, herbivorous parrots from Africa. (There is also a feral population in Arizona.) Even their generic name, Agapornis, means "lovebird." The species of lovebird are grouped, however vaguely, by whether they are sexually dimorphic or if they have rings around their eyes. Overall, they are similar enough to lump under one entry. Pick your favorite color palette and go, really.

Now in cute!
 

Lovebirds are social. They are monogamous and thrive on each others' company. They are intelligent parrots that can bond so deeply with their parents that they preen their favorite humans. Talking is uncommon, but the more interaction your lovebird gets, the better. They also like a variety of foods, ranging from seeds to flowers to bok-choy. Most health foods are perfectly fine for lovebirds, but avoid mushrooms, potatoes, and uncooked onions. Theoretically, the lovebird can eat your table scraps, just like a mammal might.

Lovebirds have some weird nesting habits. Some nest in termite mounds. Others carry bits of nest materials in their feathers. The Masked Lovebird does the sane thing and carries material in its beak. As soon as the nest is built, the lovebirds get busy. One egg is laid until the nest has a clutch of four to six. Awww.

And then you find out how much work a baby parrot can be. These two are named Jellybean and Starburst, but no, they aren't mine.


Before you buy these birds, however, there are a few factors to consider. One, parrots are very talkative. Two, lovebirds in particular need to spend a lot of time bonding with each other and humans. Three, if one of the lovebirds passes on, chances are the other will be very depressed. These are social parrots. They need either you around interacting with them all the time or the TV/radio on all the time. Otherwise, you will wind up with aggressive, unhappy birds. Of course, having each other around helps, too.

3 comments:

  1. Is the feral population in Arizona a problem? They'd be wonderful to have around if they weren't causing trouble.

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    1. I haven't looked too deeply into it, but parrots usually aren't too bad as far as invasive species go. Although lovies are adaptable, they won't be invading Illinois or anything.

      More here: http://mirror-pole.com/collpage/pf_loveb/pfl_1.htm

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    2. Thanks. One more reason I'd rather be in the desert.

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