Masked Lovebirds

   Agapornis personata

Agapornis personata

The head of the nominate black-masked is a dark sooty black with a bright red beak. The wings are a dark green with a lighter underside. The breast and the nape of the neck are yellowish, and the flight feathers are black. Various colour mutations exist, including blue, cobalt, slate, dilute slate and violet. The blue mutation reportedly occurs on its own in the wild, while other mutations are a result of selective breeding amongst hobbyists. Masked lovebirds are known for the large white rings around each of its eyes (which give it the appearance of wearing a mask). The Masked Lovebird is one of the smaller lovebirds, compared to other species of lovebirds. Native to Tanzania, Africa.

Breeding

Lovebirds use grass and twigs to construct a nest in trees and shrubs. This bird also likes to use vacated nests and more than one pair may occupy a nest. These birds have been observed to be a seasonal breeder in the wild, but in captivity can breed year-round. On average, 4-6 eggs are laid in one season. In captivity, as many as 8 have been laid. Eggs hatch after about 23 days of incubation, and young fledge at about 43 days of age. The young begin to form pairs at around 2 months of age, and also begin to seek their own nests at this time.

Behaviour

These birds are a loud and constant chirper. They eat throughout the day and take frequent baths. They are a very social bird, forming in small groups in the wild, sometimes congregating into colonies of hundreds of birds. The colony will normally base themselves around a well-vegetated permanent water source. Movement is primarily by flight, but over short distances, these birds prefer to walk or sidle sideways. This species has been recorded flying at 58 km/hr. Long flights are regularly interrupted by periods of gliding, accompanied by a characteristic squawking sound. They can climb up vertical walls using feet and beak, often beating their wings rapidly to facilitate movement.

Diet

These birds use their strong beak to feed on seeds, vegetables and some insects although they are mainly seed feeding birds.

Status

Common.

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