Which species: parrots (parrots of the Old World)
What it looks like: small bird with striking colors, often green or yellow-green body with differently colored head. Gender not distinguishable to the naked eye. Short, blunt tail. 40-60 g
Where it lives: from Eritrea through Congo and Tanzania to South Africa, one species in Madagascar
How long it lives: 10-15 years, sometimes longer
Number of eggs per nest: 4-6
Did you know? In many languages, the name of this little bird means love or inseparability.
Lovebirds: lots of personality in a small package
Dwarf parrots, also called "lovebirds," are among the favourite of the pet birds. They are some of the most colourful birds you can find. Each of the three most popular species can be charming and loving.
Social behaviour and care
The lovebird is active, curious, spirited and playful. A social bird, it forms a deep bond with its owner and can be very affectionate. However, the bird only really blossoms when it feels like part of a flock and when it can communicate with its own kind.
Dwarf parrots can squawk loud and high, especially when they want your attention. Their normal chirps and twittering are not too loud, but they like to chatter. They are not really known for being able to mimic speech or sounds, although there is always the rare bird that can.
The lovebird needs a varied diet, with pellets as it’s staple food. You can supplement this with fresh fruit, vegetables and seeds (in moderation). Make sure your bird has access to food at all times, because it has a high metabolism and can only go 24 hours without eating. The same goes for fresh water.
You will need a cage that’s at least 60 cm x 60 cm x 60 cm. If you decide to go bigger, choose longer rather than higher. This will allow your dwarf parrot to spread its wings and even fly around the cage a bit. An outdoor aviary is certainly an option as well, but make sure to provide heating in the winter.
The lovebird can be an aggressive chewer. Keep this in mind when choosing toys. Beware of small parts, which they can bite off and swallow. Also avoid loose strings, in which the bird can entangle its beak, feet or head.
All toys should be zinc- and lead-free. Wood, sisal, leather, acrylic and cowhide leather are safe. You can also give it a mountain of household items as toys, such as empty toilet rolls, paper cups, unprinted cardboard and dry pasta. Be sure to switch it up regularly though, to keep your dwarf parrot busy.
It's best to wait until your birds are a year old before allowing them to expand their nests. Dwarf parrots build a nest in a brooder box. Every day for four to six days, the female lays an egg, which hatches after 23 days. Are the chicks independent after seven or eight weeks? If so, remove them, as the parents can sometimes behave aggressively toward them.