Masked Lovebird Fact File
The masked lovebird is otherwise known as the yellow collared lovebird. These names identify two of their main features, a black head and a collar of yellow feathers between the head and body. The rest of the body is covered with green feathers. Around the eye is a ring of white.
In captivity a number of color morphs have been bred including a blue morph which has a blue body, white chest and the black face mask.
Their short, curved beak is colored bright red.
They have short wings and a short tail.
Males and females are similar in size. Their body measures up to 14.5cm (5.75in) long with a weight of up to 50g (1.75oz). Their wingspan is between 9 and 9.8cm (3.5-3.9in) across.
Masked lovebirds are herbivores. Their diet includes seeds, tree bark, fruits and buds. On occasion some small insects may also be eaten.
They require a habitat near water as they will drink several times throughout the day.
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Africa is the native home of the masked lovebird. Here they are restricted to the country of Tanzania.
Introduced populations have been established in Burundi and Kenya. Further populations have established in parts of the United States and Europe from escaped pets.
They make their home in dry areas such as the savanna, shrubland and inland plateaus.
Breeding takes place from March to July in the wild but in captivity they are able to breed year round. Their wild breeding season is during the dry season. During the breeding season the male and female increase their appetite.
Pairs will mate for life with this pairing occurring early in life. Males bring food to the nest and feed their partner. During courtship they preen one another.
They are one of the few parrots which build a nest instead of making use of a tree hollow.
In to their nest they will deposit a clutch of between five and six eggs. In captivity clutches as large as eight have been observed. These eggs are incubated for 23 days. They take six weeks to fledge while being fed by the parents.
Sexual maturity is reached by 10 months old.
Masked lovebirds are social birds. They are often seen grooming their mate and other members of their flock. An average flock has four or five members but they can grow up to 100 members.
They produce a range of vocalizations including a high-pitched twittering when in flight. Some individuals in captivity have been seen to mimic human speech but it is considered rare.
Predators and Threats
They have a number of natural predators including birds of prey.
These birds are popular pets and this has allowed them to create populations around the world. They are also captured from the wild to supply this trade though.
Masked lovebirds are one of the nine lovebird species.
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By Demetrius John Kessy from Arusha, Tanzania – Serengeti(Fisher Love Bird), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14902275
By Becky Matsubara from El Sobrante, California – Yellow-collared Lovebird, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=67357345
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BirdLife International. 2018. Agapornis personatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T22685352A131916793. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T22685352A131916793.en. Downloaded on 14 January 2021.
Aucklandzoo.co.nz. 2021. Masked Lovebird | African Bird Species | Auckland Zoo. [online] Available at: <https://www.aucklandzoo.co.nz/animals/masked-lovebird> [Accessed 14 January 2021].
Hamilton Zoo. 2021. Masked Lovebird. [online] Available at: <https://hamiltonzoo.co.nz/our-animals/birds/masked-lovebird/> [Accessed 14 January 2021].
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