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.
Habitat and Ecology
Life History and Behavior
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
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.
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.
Distribution and habitat
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.
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.
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.