Brief Summary

The Yellow-collared Lovebird (Agapornis personatus) is native to the plateau in eastern and southern Tanzania. This species is easily distinguished by its blackish brown mask and bold lemon-yellow breast, which extends around the sides of the neck and nape to form a striking yellow collar. The Yellow-collared Lovebird is sometimes considered conspecific with (i.e., belonging to the same species as) Fischer's Lovebird, A. fischeri (and sometimes with the Black-cheeked. A. nigrigenis, and Nyasa, A. lilianae, Lovebirds as well). This species is typically found in small flocks in well-wooded bushland and acacia thorn scrub, especially with scattered baobab trees, at 1100 to 1800 m.

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

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  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/


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Habitat and Ecology

  • Terrestrial
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Agapornis personatus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment

Red List Category
Least Concern

Red List Criteria


Year Assessed

BirdLife International

Butchart, S. & Symes, A.


This species has a very 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). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not 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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The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is reported to be locally common and generally fairly common (del Hoyo et al. 1997).

Population Trend
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Yellow-collared lovebird

The yellow-collared lovebird (Agapornis personatus), also called masked lovebird or eye ring lovebird, is a monotypic species of bird of the lovebird genus in the parrot family Psittaculidae. They are native to northeast Tanzania and have been introduced to Burundi and Kenya.[1]


The yellow-collared lovebird is a mainly green small parrot about 14.5 cm (5.5 in) long. Its upper parts are a darker green than its lower surfaces. Its head is black, and it has a bright red beak and white eyerings. Yellow on the breast is continuous with a yellow collar and an expansion of yellow over the nape of the neck. Male and female have identical external appearance.[2]


Eggs, Collection Museum Wiesbaden

The yellow-collared lovebird brings nesting material in its beak to a tree cavity for their nest. The eggs are white and there are usually four to five in a clutch. The female incubates the eggs for about 23 days and the chicks leave the nest about 42 days after hatching.[3]


At Auckland Zoo, New Zealand
Recording of the blue masked lovebird variety.

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White eye-rings lovebirds, of which masked lovebirds are part, are reportedly less aggressive in comparison to the slightly larger peach-faced lovebird. They are frequently housed in aviaries with other species of their genus, a practice which although can be convenient, and wonderfully aesthetic, may lead to hybridization. This can especially be concerning where other species may not be as locally common e.g. black-cheeked lovebird, and Lilian's lovebird. It would be advisable to house lovebirds either; by themselves, or if a mixed collection is desired, ensure they are kept in a large flight with a few feeding stations, & assertive species e.g. red-rumped parrot, kākāriki, rose-ringed parakeet or cockatiels. They can usually be kept safely with quails, and pheasants in aviaries.

Breeding cages should be 400mm x 400mm x 500mm, or these birds can be housed in colonies, or have in some cases been kept at liberty. There was a mixed flock of masked, peach-faced lovebird, and a few hybrids near Napier, New Zealand for a number of years in the mid 2000s. There is also a small feral population in France, which contains the Blue mutant, and mixes with larger proportion of Fischer's lovebirds - also from aviary origin.

Aviaries, and cages need perches in a range of diameters. Natural perches in the form of branches are ideal, especially if they have a variety of forks, angles, and a bit of bounce in them. The reason for this is to give the captives stimuli; it also keeps their feet healthy, and nimble. Research (suitability, and toxicity) must be carried out on all plant material going into any cages. Cherry wood is poisonous, as is broom, kowhai, and avocado (its fruit being surprisingly poisonous to parrots), to mention just a few examples.

Nesting boxes are usually utilised throughout the year as sleeping quarters. It is advisable to clean them, but keep them up even after breeding season. The risk of losing a bird to egg laying complications (in the unlikely event they do decide to breed in the winter), is out-weighed by the benefit of keeping the birds content, keeping pair-bonds strong, & the reduced risk of losing a bird to the cold. A supply of willow branches, and roughly slivered corn, or maize husk can be given in the aviary as nesting box lining: It will be ripped up, & carried into the nest box by the female.

Lovebirds are reasonably difficult to sex. A "pair" will often be of the same gender, even though they are exhibiting signs of mutual affection. This usually arises when inexperienced bird keepers house two birds alone, & wait on behavioral signs that they're a true pair, with the intention of swapping one out for another lovebird if they're not; then being excited when they see birds pair up, even though they may both be of the same sex. These bonds are artificial, & can be broken, or tested if the "pair" are re-housed communally (or split up by the keeper). One or both of a pair of males may go, and breed with lone hens, despite staying connected to their original partner. Or the same sex pair's bond may completely dissolve immediately.

Colour varieties[edit]

The blue mutation was originally found in wild birds in the 1920s and is the oldest colour mutation known in the lovebird genus.[2][3] The other mutations are a result of selective breeding in aviculture, such as two cobalts which will make a mauve (black).[2] Various color mutations exist, including blue, cobalt, mauve, slate, dilute slate, violet, lutino (ino) and albino.

The Blue and the Lutino mutations are where some colour genes have not been passed on, or have been suppressed from the original wild colour form. In the case of the lutino the micro-structure which creates the blue based colours in the normal form is not passed on to offspring when it arises; hence everywhere yellow except the face which contained the colours which make up orange. In the case of the original Blue, none of the yellow or red pigment genes are passed on. The Albino is the latest "colour" which is a combination of the Lutino, and the Blue ('wild' colouring minus blue, and minus red and yellow = no colour so is completely white).

The Dilute mutation is a lightening of the darker feathers, most noticeable in the wings, and face. It was first noted from Green (Wild) coloured parents, & originally called "Yellow". This new colour was soon built up in numbers by passionate aviculturelists, and once secure was bred to Blue coloured birds. The result was then known as "White", but we now call this combo a Dilute Blue.



  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Agapornis personatus". 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. 94–96. ISBN 0-86622-411-4. 
  3. ^ a b Alderton, David (2003). The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Caged and Aviary Birds. London, England: Hermes House. p. 218. ISBN 1-84309-164-X. 
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