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Peach-faced Lovebird

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Is the Peach-faced Lovebird right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Peach-Face Lovebird; Rosy-faced Lovebird; Rosy-headed Lovebird; Rose-ringed Lovebird

Scientific name: Agapornis roseicollis

The basics:
The Peach-faced Lovebird is the long-time traditional breeder's classic. Easy to feed and easy to breed, peachies have always attracted lots of attention from fanciers working to develop a whole rainbow of gorgeous color mutations. Since the 1980s, when more breeders began to hand-feed their babies, these birds have attracted a second wave of interest, as pet lovers have discovered the charm and sass of a tame lovebird who lives to be its person's “pocket parrot.” If you are looking for a single pet, pick the youngest and best-socialized baby Peach-faced Lovebird you can get. Some people say that the blue mutations stay the sweetest, so if everything else is equal, why not give the nod to the blue baby?

There are two subspecies of Peach-faced Lovebirds which range over a fairly large area of southwestern Africa, from Angola and down into northern South Africa. They can use dry, scrubby, or cultivated territory up to elevations of 1,500 meters, so they appear to be very tough and adaptable. Their population seems to be robust, despite a history of over-collecting for the pet market.

In the wild, they would normally nest in cliffs or in vacant cavities of the large communal nests built by one of the African weaver species. Unlike most parrots, who customize their homes by chewing, female Peach-faced Lovebirds actually bring nest material by tucking strands of palm fronds or other materials in their tail feathers. If you ever wondered why your Peachy was making newspaper strips and sticking them among her tail feathers, now you know the instinct driving her.

How tough are these tiny birds? Well, feral Peach-faced Lovebirds are now colonizing the Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona area and successfully breeding in saguaro cactus cavities. If you've had the pleasure of visiting this area on a 115 degree Fahrenheit day, you'll know that's pretty tough.

Appearance:
The Peachfaced Lovebird is named for the distinctive peach-colored face and bib of the natural plumage of the wild bird. On the pet market, you have the choice of a truly mind-boggling selection of colors. A few of your mouth-watering choices include Dutch blue, cinnamon, olive, cobalt, albino, pied, lutino, creamino, and many, many more. Unlike the other popular pet lovebirds, Peachies have a black eye with no ring.

Weight:
46 - 63 grams (1.7 - 2.2 oz.)

Average size:
15 centimeters (6 in.)

Lifespan:
15 - 20 years

Behavior / temperament:
Peach-faced Lovebirds don't have any idea of their own size. They are strong, aggressive, and territorial little birds. A pair can gang up and kill a much larger bird, including cockatiels or even mynahs. Your pair of lovebirds must have its own territory, with no other birds or pets ever kept in the cage or even allowed to touch the cage.

Because of their spunk and sass, a single handfed Peach-face can make an excellent pet for someone who has time to devote to them every day. They will become tightly bonded to you, and it can be an amazing experience to be able to carry this tiny gem around on a shoulder or in a shirt pocket. However, you do have to maintain the relationship, or the bird can lose its tameness very quickly. A neglected lovebird can develop the typical behavior problems of any parrot, including biting, shrieking, or feather plucking.

Since even the sweetest Peachy doesn't generally like hands in the cage, stick-training the bird to step up and down on request is a key skill.

Housing:
A single pet that you want to remain tame should have a powder-coated metal cage, perhaps 24”w by 18”d by 24” h with ½ “ bar spacing, but it shouldn't be too awkward or too big for you to place a stick in the cage so the bird can “step up” on request and ride out into the open. You don't want the bird to become cage-bound, because you need to take your Peachy out every single day for at least an hour. If it's a hassle to remove your pet from the cage, and you let it go, your pet will probably lose its tameness rather quickly. A smaller cage and more time together is better than a bigger cage with less time together if you want to preserve the sweetness of your lovebird.

Important: To prevent broody behavior in a pet female Peach-faced Lovebird, don't supply a nestbox or access to materials that can be shredded to create nest material. The cage needs to have a grate at the bottom to separate your pet from any newspaper lining.

If you have a pair of Peach-faced Lovebirds, who are bonded to each other, then you should absolutely get or build the largest flight you can manage. They need to exercise, to play, and to fly, but they will prefer to do it with each other, on their own territory, so be very generous. If you cannot find a large flight with sufficiently small bar spacing, you may have to have something custom-made, but it will be worth it.

The popular lovebirds, including the Peach-faced Lovebird, are highly gifted escape artists that understand how to lift doors or food and water access windows. Secure those doors and windows with hardware clips.

Diet:
Peach-faced Lovebirds first rose to popularity in the days long before modern pelleted diets, probably because they come from an arid landscape, and they may not accept the rich diet beloved by many other pet parrots. While some experts advise that you choose a pelleted diet, the reality may be that your lovebirds never accept the pellets, unless they were raised to eat them from the very beginning. A more realistic diet, for many individuals, will be a high-quality small seed mix, along with an excellent chopped salad containing lots of vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables.

Here's a trick: Soak or actually sprout the seeds to create green, healthy salad with more nutritional value than just the plain seed. You can also offer a mixed cooked legume, grains, and rice dish. Never offer chocolate or avocado to the Peach-faced Lovebird, as these foods are toxic to all parrots.

Check with your breeder, pet store, or vet about vitamin supplements, especially if your Peachy insists on a seed-based diet. There are countless reports of female Peach-faced Lovebirds who died too young of egg-binding, a problem linked to vitamin A deficiency. Grated carrot or cooked yam or sweet potato may be an important ingredient in your bird's food bowl. Calcium deficiency may be another cause. In order to use dietary calcium, lovebirds need to be exposed to natural sunlight or full spectrum lighting, or some alternate source of vitamin D3.

Written by Elaine Radford

wonderful

funny, true acrobat, snuggle, sweetest lovebird, big personalities, beginning bird enthusiast

challenging

hormonal, little feathered piranhas, temper tantrum, dust, oneperson bonding behavior

interesting

mutations, calcium supplies, different colors, peacock mutation peach

Helpful Peach-faced Lovebird Review

Peach-faced Lovebird

From birdlover27 May 10 2015 8:07AM

4/5

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