Discover Every Type Of Lovebird

lovebirds courting on a branch
© irakite/Shutterstock.com

Written by Jennifer Geer

Published: March 15, 2023

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Lovebirds, also known as “pocket parrots,” are one of the smaller members of the parrot family. The scientific name for the lovebird is Agapornis. Lovebirds, native to the African continent, are popular as companion pets. They are known for their beautiful coloring, intelligence, and friendly nature.

Read on to discover all types of lovebirds, including where they live, what they eat, and how they behave.

1. Peach-Faced Lovebird

Wild Peach-faced Lovebird

Peach-faced lovebirds are the most common type of lovebird that people keep as pets.

©South O Boy/Shutterstock.com

Also known as rosy-faced, peach-faced lovebirds are the most common type of lovebird that people keep as pets. Their distinctive rosy, or orange-colored cheeks are probably what comes to mind when you think of lovebirds. 

Although this friendly and colorful bird is native to Africa, flocks of peach-faced lovebirds have been seen flying wild in Arizona. A flock of pet bird escapees was documented living in Phoenix in the 1980s. Today, the number of peach-faced lovebirds living freely within the city limits is estimated to be over 2,000.

Scientific Name: Agapornis roseicollis

Native Habitat: Southwest Africa

Size: 7 to 8 inches from head to tail tip; weight under 2 ounces

Diet: Seeds, berries, leaves

2. Nyasa or Lilian’s Lovebirds

Nyasa lovebird or lilians lovebird

The Nyasa lovebird is seldom found in captivity due to challenges in breeding.

©David Herraez Calzada/Shutterstock.com

The Nyasa lovebird is the rarest of the species. Seldom found in captivity due to challenges in breeding, less is known about this type of lovebird than the other species.

With mostly green feathers, these little parrots have orange foreheads and throats. The color turns to a salmon-pink on the face and top of their heads. At around five inches from head to tail, the Nyasa lovebird is one of the smaller of the lovebirds.

Scientific Name: Agapornis lilianae

Native Habitat: ZimbabweZambiaTanzania, and Malawi

Size: 5.4 inches from head to tail tip; weight between 1 to 1.3 ounces

Diet: Grass, fruit, seeds

3. Madagascar or Grey-Headed Lovebirds

Madagascar or grey-headed lovebirds (Agapornis cana)

Madagascar lovebirds are the only type of lovebird that lives on the island of Madagascar.

©Frank Vassen / Flickr – Original / License

Native to the rainforests of Madagascar, these are the smallest of the lovebird species. Madagascar lovebirds are the only type of lovebird that lives on the island of Madagascar.

It’s easy to tell the difference between males and females of this species as they look a bit different. The females have green plumage with darker shades on their wings and back. The males have the same green on their lower bodies, while their upper bodies and heads are a pale grey.

Scientific Name: Agapornis cana

Native Habitat: Madagascar rainforest

Size: 5 inches from head to tail tip; weight between 1 to 1.25 ounces

Diet: Grass, leaves, bark, small insects

4. Black-Cheeked Lovebirds 

Agapornis nigrigenis, black cheeked lovebirds

Black-cheeked lovebirds are the most endangered of the lovebird species.

©iStock.com/Akatjomar

Sadly, the black-cheeked lovebird is considered the most endangered of the lovebird species. Although not technically endangered, the birds are listed as a “vulnerable species” due to population decline from loss of habitat.

Black-cheeked lovebirds have mainly green feathers with black faces, white rings around their eyes, and bright red beaks. While young black-cheeked lovebirds are duller in color with a more orangish-colored beak.

Scientific Name: Agapornis nigrigenis

Native Habitat: Southwest Zambia

Size:  5.5 inches from head to tail tip; weight about 1.4 ounces

Diet: Seeds, grass, leaves

5. Black-Masked or Yellow-Collared Lovebirds

Agapornis personata, yellow-collared lovebird, black-masked lovebird

The black-masked (or yellow-collared) lovebird,

Agapornis personata

, has a bright red beak and a distinctive yellow collar.

©Diego Tirira / Flickr – Original / License

Not to be confused with the black-cheeked lovebird, the black-masked (or yellow-collared) lovebird is another type of lovebird people enjoy keeping as pets. They are reported to be less aggressive and calmer to keep as companions than the popular peach-faced lovebirds.

These colorful birds have black heads with white rings around their eyes. Additionally, they have bright red beaks and a distinctive yellow collar, which fades to green along the rest of their bodies.

Scientific Name: Agapornis personata

Native Habitat: Northeast of Tanzania

Size: 5.5 inches from head to tail tip; weight around 1.7 ounces

Diet: Seeds, nuts, fruits, berries

6. Black-Collared or Swindern’s Lovebird

You won’t find a black-collared lovebird kept as a pet because this little bird requires a native fig seed or fig flesh as part of its daily diet. Indeed, without its native fig, the black-collared lovebird will not thrive in captivity.

This rare species wasn’t discovered until 1820, perhaps because the species is shy and tends to hide above the forest canopy. The black-collared lovebird has mainly green feathers and a distinctive black collar at its neck.

Scientific Name: Agapornis swindernianus

Native Habitat: Equatorial Africa

Size: 5 inches from head to tail tip; weight around 1.4 ounces

Diet: Fig seeds, fig flesh, rice

7. Black-Winged or Abyssinian Lovebird

Agapornis tarana (black-winged) lovebirds

The black-winged lovebird is the largest of its species, preferring to live at high altitudes.

©Eckhard Lietzow/Shutterstock.com

The black-winged lovebird is the largest of its species. They prefer living at very high altitudes and tend to nest in trees. Both males and females have mainly green feathers. You can tell the males and females apart by the color of the underside of their wings. The 2113594832

Black-winged lovebirds require roomy cages where they can fly from one perch to another. Because of this, they are not commonly kept as pets. Further, they may turn aggressive or injure themselves if kept in cramped spaces.

Scientific Name: Agapornis taranta

Native Habitat: Mountains of Southern Eritrea, southwestern highlands of Ethiopia

Size: 6 to 6-1/2 inches from head to tail tip; weight from 1.6 to 1.9 ounces  

Diet: Fruit, vegetables, figs

8. Fischer’s Lovebird 

Fischer's lovebirds (Agapornis fischeri)

Fischer’s lovebirds have vibrant colors regardless of gender and sometimes may have blue or purple tail feathers.

©Danita Delimont/Shutterstock.com

This gorgeous little lovebird was discovered in the 19th century and named after its discoverer, Gustav Fischer. The males and females look alike with vibrant, colorful feathers. Also, they sometimes may have blue or purple tail feathers with bright green bodies. Their necks and faces are golden yellow to orange colored, with a bright red beak, and olive green head. 

These energetic, friendly, little birds are commonly kept as pets.

Scientific Name: Agapornis fischeri

Native Habitat: Tanzania

Size:  5 to 6 inches from head to tail tip; weight up to 2 ounces  

Diet: Seeds, fruits, grains

9. Red-Faced Lovebirds 

Red-faced lovebirds do not do well in captivity. This is because they have specific nesting habits which make it difficult for them to breed or thrive as pets. The birds like to burrow to nest. Also, the nest must be kept at a warm 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This breeding requirement makes it hard for the average pet owner to replicate.

The red-faced lovebirds are gorgeous birds with green plumage on their bodies, tails, and necks. Additionally, they sport a soft peach-orange color on their faces and forehead.

Scientific Name: Agapornis pullaria

Native Habitat: Rainforests of equatorial Africa

Size: 6 inches from head to tail tip; weight up to 1.5 ounces 

Diet: Seeds, fruits, grains


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About the Author

Jennifer Geer is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on animals, news topics, travel, and weather. Jennifer holds a Master's Degree from the University of Tulsa, and she has been researching and writing about news topics and animals for over four years. A resident of Illinois, Jennifer enjoys hiking, gardening, and caring for her three pugs.

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