Species group: Lovebirds
Other common names: Peach-Face Lovebird; Rosy-faced Lovebird; Rosy-headed Lovebird; Rose-ringed Lovebird
Scientific name: Agapornis roseicollis
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.
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.
46 - 63 grams (1.7 - 2.2 oz.)
15 centimeters (6 in.)
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.
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.
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
funny, true acrobat, snuggle, sweetest lovebird, big personalities, beginning bird enthusiast
hormonal, little feathered piranhas, temper tantrum, dust, oneperson bonding behavior
mutations, calcium supplies, different colors, peacock mutation peach
Butch and Sundance: A (Peach-faced) Love (bird) Story
Lovebirds certainly live up to their names. They're super affectionate, playful, intelligent, and are overall wonderful companion animals. The affection you give them is always returned ten-fold. And the breed I had -- the Peach-faced lovebird -- is physically stunning. Bright-yellow feathers with a touch of orange/peach across their faces, they were happy, fluffy, bouncing balls of sunshine. Such cheerful animals!
I got "Butch" and "Sundance" from a breeder pal, pretty much right out of the nest, and spent weeks hand-training them, acclimating them to sitting on my finger, getting them used to taking food from my hand. The first time they came to ME, on their own, with no prompting, was a day of celebration. I loved those guys.
But here's the thing. Lovebirds are LOUD. Their calls are musical, but piercing and very, very high-volume. Who'd believe such massive sound could come from such tiny birds! And lovebirds are very social animals, so if they're not sleeping, they're conversing pretty much constantly. They called to each other. They called to my cockatiel. They called to me. They called to the seagulls and the crows outside. They called to everything. And I live in an apartment distinctly lacking in sound-proofing. So when I noticed one day that I could hear them calling as I was stepping out of the elevator from way down a very long corridor -- this with my apartment door and windows CLOSED, mind you -- I figured that maybe chatty, high-volume lovebirds + apartment living was not the best idea in the world. I eventually wound up sending Butch and Sundance to live at my sister's house where they could sing as loudly as they pleased, but I miss them dearly.
That is my one caveat. Volume level is something that apartment or condo-dwellers should seriously consider before choosing lovebirds as companion birds. But if you're a homeowner and love chatty, affectionate birdies . . . lovebirds are for you..
From birdlover27 May 10 2015 8:07AM
Quirky habits and a playful personality makes a loveable bird.
Peter, my peach-faced lovebird, is probably the bird with the most personality you will ever have the privilege to meet. At times he can be quite mischievous and at other times he wants nothing more than to be loved and love in return. A favourite pastime of his, is to chew off strips off paper and then try to insert it between his breast feathers, without any success, I should add. One of his vices is to peck away at all manners of things, including ears and noses. However, he never shies away from a loving peck and he loves having his little bird head rubbed. He also has the habit of "talking" to his image in the mirror. Peter loves eating and regularly join us for our meals. He is not a picky eater and is happy with standard bird seed, so long as he receives a treat every now and then. Since I have had him, he has also never been ill. He also loves to bath (even in the fish tank) and tend to his feathers. Peter is like a little brother: sometimes he drives you mad with his mischief, but at the end of the day, you love him dearly. .
From JCronje Feb 9 2017 7:55PM
Love Birds Not
I obtained my lovebirds by an individual that I did not care for. He was trying to bribe me to like him. It did not work.
He had given me the cage, food, and all that I would need.
The birds were quite pretty. I did like that. And, they were very friendly and active. These birds are quite vocal. We had to cover them up at night with a blanket so that we could sleep.
As far as trainability, we never really tried to train the birds.
The biggest problem that I had with the birds was the mess. The cage was constantly a mess and had to be cleaned daily. And, daily, I was having to vacuum up bird seed off of the carpet. This was quite aggravating.
We finally decided to get rid of the birds when we came home to a suprise one night. I thought that these lovebirds were male and female. However, I am not sure. When we came home, one lovebird was sitting on top of the other lovebird. The 2nd lovebird was dead and buried under the newspaper.
These lovebirds evidently did not love each other. I will never own birds again because of all the mess involved..
From SheilaSober May 25 2015 7:56PM