Overview

Brief Summary

The Red-faced (or Red-headed) Lovebird (Agapornis pullarius) has a geographic distribution that overlaps with that of the Black-collared Lovebird (A. swindernianus) over much of central Africa, with Fischer's Lovebird (A. fischeri) in the area around southern Lake Victoria, and with the Black-winged Lovebird (A. taranta) in southwestern Ethiopia and its range approaches the range of Peach-faced Lovebird (A. roseicollis) in the Cuanza River region of Angola. It is distinguished from these and other lovebirds by the combination of green upper breast with red (or orange) crown, face, and throat.

This species has a broad but patchy distribution across West and Central Africa, inhabiting moist lowland savanna, riverine woodland and scrub, and also more open habitats, including abandoned plantations, cultivated land, and pasture. It is generally found below 1500 m (but up to 2000 m in Uganda). Flocks contain up to 30 birds (usually fewer) but these break into pairs for breeding. Flocks roam widely to find food (mainly grass seeds), but return to a communal roost. In captivity, these lovebirds often sleep hanging upside down. Red-faced Lovebirds nest in tree cavities (usually ones excavated by a woodpecker), in holes dug in the side of an arboreal ant or termite nest, or occasionally in terrestrial termite mounds. Significant numbers of Red-faced Lovebirds are trapped for sale as cagebirds.

(Collar 1997 and references therein; Juniper and Parr 1998 and references therein)

  • Collar, N.J. 1997. Genus Agapornis. P. 409-411 in: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., and Sargatal, J., eds. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 4. Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  • Juniper, T. and M. Parr. 1998. Parrots: A Guide to Parrots of the World. Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut.
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Biology

While many parrots form long-term bonds, the lovebird has attained its romantic reputation because the pairs form exceptionally close associations, roosting together and preening one another for hours at a time (5) (7). Outside the breeding season the red-headed lovebird can be found in large, fast-flying flocks of up to 30 individuals which, during the day, forage over great distances, consuming grass seeds, fruit and some cultivated crops, before returning at night to communal roosts (2). Remarkably, while roosting the red-headed lovebirds may hang upside-down, bat-like, from branches and engage in mutual preening (7). The Red-headed lovebird's breeding season commences with onset of the rainy season, at which time the birds pair-off and build nests. Incredibly, these are constructed within ant and termite mounds located above the ground in trees. Nest building materials include seed husks and shredded grasses and leaves (2), which the female ingeniously transports by tucking them between her feathers (7). A clutch of five small eggs is laid and incubated for 24 days, with brooding taking a further seven weeks before fledging (2).
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Description

The lovebirds are a group of nine species of diminutive parrots (4) favoured by bird keepers for their attractive colouration and strong pair-bonds (5). The red-headed lovebird has a small, yet stocky, body with a short tail (4), a bright, coral red bill and brown eyes (2). Both sexes are mainly bright green, but can be distinguished by the colour of the face, which in the male is reddish-orange, and orange in the female. The male also has a bluish lower back, a black underwing, and a tail which is greenish-yellow above, with bands of red and black underneath. The red-headed lovebird's call is a relatively weak, high-pitched twittering, interspersed with occasional whistling notes (2).
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Distribution

Range

The red-headed lovebird has an extremely wide distribution, with populations found in a broad band covering much of sub-Saharan Africa, from Guinea, east to Ethiopia in the north, and from Angola, east to Tanzania in the south (6).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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The red-headed lovebird occupies a range of habitats, from lowland savannah to patches of forest and woodland up to elevations of 1,500 metres. It also frequents cultivated land, pasture and abandoned plantations (2).
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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 18 years (captivity) Observations: One specimen lived for 18 years in captivity (Flower 1938).
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
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Status

Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1) and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).
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Population

Population
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is reported to be generally rather uncommon and never reported as abundant except locally in Ethiopia (del Hoyo et al. 1997).

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

The population status of the red-headed lovebird is currently not well known, and while its range is very large, it appears to be uncommon in some parts (6). Although the main threat to this species is likely to be trapping for the wild bird trade (2), it is not as popular as some other lovebird species due to difficulties in replicating its unusual nesting conditions (5).
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Management

Conservation

The red-headed lovebird is currently listed on Appendix II by the Convention on Trade and Endangered Species (CITES). This means that international trade in this species is strictly regulated, with quotas set for the maximum number of birds that trading countries are allowed to export (3). While currently there appears to be little concern over the abundance of this red-headed lovebird, its population has not been properly assessed (6), and therefore trade may be affecting this species more significantly than is realised.
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Wikipedia

Red-headed Lovebird

The Red-headed Lovebird (Agapornis pullarius) also known as the Red-faced Lovebird is a member of the genus Agapornis, a group commonly known as lovebirds. Like other lovebirds it is native to Africa.

Description[edit]

The Red-headed Lovebird is a 15 cm (6 inches) long, mostly green parrot. It has a well demarcated red area on its head extending from the top of the beak, over the forehead to mid-crown, and extending to the left and right up to the eyelid margins. It has grey feet. The underside of the wings is a lighter green. The female has orange head colouring, which is less well demarcated than the male's red head. The adult male has a red beak while the female's is a paler red.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

It is native to a wide range in Africa including Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda. In addition, it is an introduced species in Liberia.[1]

Breeding[edit]

It makes its nest in a termites nest usually in a tree or sometimes on the ground. To make a nest the female digs a tunnel up to a length of 30 cm (12 in) in the termites nest in a colony with other lovebirds.[2]

Aviculture[edit]

It is difficult to breed in captivity because it has to burrow to make its nest and the nest chamber needs to be heated to about 27 °C (81 °F); however, they can be induced to burrow into cork to build a nest. It is a very nervous species.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Agapornis pullarius". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Le Breton, Kenny. Lovebirds...getting started. USA: T.F.H. Publications. pp. 85–88. ISBN 0-86622-411-4. 
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