Overview

Brief Summary

The Black-cheeked Lovebird (Agapornis nigrigenis) is found in southern Zambia and, formerly, extreme northern Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls. The Black-cheeked Lovebird is sometimes treated as conspecific with the Nyasa Lovebird (A. lilianae, from which it is separated by 100 to 150  km of unsuitable habitat) and occasionally even with the Fischer's and Yellow-collared Lovebirds (A. fischeri and A. personatus).This species is found in specific types of medium-altitude deciduous woodlands, usually close to a reliable water source for daily drinking. Due in part to its extremely restricted range (perhaps only 6000 square km), this species is considered to be endangered.

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

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Leo Shapiro

Supplier: Leo Shapiro

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Biology

The need to drink water at least twice a day is a critical determinant of the daily and seasonal activities of the black-cheeked lovebird (6). In the non-breeding season, this species congregates in large flocks of up to 800 birds, reaching maximum numbers in the early mornings and late afternoons, when the birds drink and feed. It feeds mainly on the seeds of annual grasses and herbs, including crops such as millet and sorghum, but will also forage for a wide range of other items such as leaves, nectar, fruit pulp, invertebrates, bark, lichen and soil. Natural cavities in live mopane trees are utilised for roosting and breeding. The breeding season extends from mid January to early May, and corresponds with annual maximum rainfall and the beginning of the dry season. Each pair probably uses the same nest site year after year, and produces a single clutch of six to seven eggs (2) (6).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Description

The lovebirds comprise nine species of small but solidly built parrots, renowned for their strong pair bonds (4). The black-cheeked lovebird is bright green except for a dark brown head, olive nape, bold white eye-ring, red bill and an orange patch on the chest. The juvenile is similar in appearance to the adult bird, but its bill is grey or orange. In common with the screeching chatter of other lovebirds, this species has a loud, shrill call (2) (5).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Distribution

Range Description

Agapornis nigrigenis occurs patchily in south-west Zambia between the Kafue river to the north and the Zambezi river to the south (Warburton 1999b), with an Extent of Occurrence of c.14,400 km2, within which the core breeding areas cover c.2,500 km2 (Dodman 1995b, Dodman et al. 2000). The species is found in an area of 4,550 km2 of mopane woodland, 3,200 km2 of which occurs in the Zambezi catchment (Dodman 1995c). It used to occur more widely, although some isolated historical records may reflect feral populations, as may unconfirmed records from the eastern Caprivi region of Namibia(Dodman 1995b, Dodman 1997). However, these might refer to birds from wild populations (Dodman 1995c). There have also been unconfirmed records from Botswana and Zimbabwe. The core population can be split into two subpopulations during the dry season, those in the Zambezi catchment (c.6,200 birds in 1994) and the Kafue catchment (c.3,800 birds in 1994) (Dodman 1995c). In 1994, the overall population density in presumed breeding habitat was c.2.2 birds/km2 (this does not reflect their clumped distribution [L. S. Warburton in litt. 1999, 2000]) and the total population was estimated to be 10,000 individuals (Dodman 1995c, Dodman et al. 2000). Evidence from farmers and bird-trappers suggests that this is a considerably lower total than in the early 20th century (Moreau 1948, Dodman et al. 2000).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Range

S Zambia and extreme n Zimbabwe.
  • 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/

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Range

The black-cheeked lovebird occurs patchily in south-west Zambia, with two sub-populations distinguishable during the dry season in the catchments of the Zambezi and Kafue rivers (2) (6). Unconfirmed records of this species also exist from Botswana, Zimbabwe and Caprivi region of Namibia (2).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It inhabits deciduous woodland, dominated by mopane Colophospermum, not Baikiaea (Benson and Irwin 1967) as formerly reported(Moreau 1948), where permanent supplies of surface water exist (Dodman 1995c, Dodman et al. 2000). It commutes to adjoining habitats, such as riverine vegetation and agricultural areas, to forage and drink (Warburton and Perrin 2005d). It requires daily access to water, and needs to drink twice each day (Dodman 1995c, Warburton 1999a, b, Dodman et al. 2000, Warburton 2003, Warburton and Perrin 2005d). In the dry season it congregates in large flocks of up to 800 or more in some areas (Warburton 1999b). It relies on water sources that are not regularly disturbed by humans and livestock (Warburton and Perrin 2005d, T. Dodman in litt. 2007). It breeds in holes in mature mopane trees near roosting sites(Dodman 1995b, Warburton and Perrin 2005a), during January-May(L. S. Warburton in litt. 1999, 2000, Warburton 2003). Fidelity to nest-sites is suspected(Warburton 2003). The breeding season coincides with the annual maximum rainfall and the beginning of the dry season, and pairs usually raise a single clutch (Warburton 2003, Warburton and Perrin 2005c). Broods of six and seven nestlings have been observed (Warburton and Perrin 2005c). The species roosts in naturally formed cavities in live mopane trees (Warburton 2003, Warburton and Perrin 2005a). Food largely consists of annual grass seeds, other seeds of annual herbs and ripening crop seeds (millet and sorghum) (Dodman 1995c, Warburton 2003, Warburton and Perrin 2005b). They have also been observed to consume invertebrates, leaves, flowers, nectar, bark, lichen, resin and soil (Warburton 2003, Warburton and Perrin 2005b). The crop-ripening season coincides with the species's breeding season (Warburton 2003, Warburton and Perrin 2005d) and its appetite for crop seeds has earned it a reputation locally as a pest(Dodman 1995c). In south-west Zambia, it has been recorded that 18% of millet seed heads suffered more than 20% damage from the species during the ripening season (Warburton 2003). Flocks were observed feeding in sorghum and millet fields in early 2012, mainly east of the Machile River (N. Buys in litt. 2012).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

This lovebird occurs in deciduous, mopane (Colophospermum mopane) woodlands, where there are permanent supplies of water (2).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
C2a(ii)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S.

Contributor/s
Aspinwall, D., Dodman, T., Irwin, M., Leonard, P., Rockingham-Gill, D., Warburton, L. & Buys, N.

Justification
This species is listed as Vulnerable because it has a small population which is undergoing a continuing decline, principally owing to the gradual dessication of water bodies within a highly localised range.


History
  • 2012
    Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Threatened (T)