Scientific Name: Agapornis nigrigenis
Average Lifespan: 19 years
Size: 5 ½ inches
Color: Mainly green
Physical Characteristics of Black-Cheeked Lovebird
Compared to other “Eye rings” or “personata” group such as the Fischers and Masked members, the Black-cheeked lovebird is a little bit smaller in size. An adult lovebird of this breed could grow up to about 5 to 5 ½ inches in length from head down to the tip of the tail and could weigh around 1.4 oz.
The primary color of the body feathers is green with reddish-brown forehead and crown. They are called the black-cheeked lovebird because of their prominent black (brownish black) face including the cheeks and down to the throat. There is an orange patch just below the throat but the color fades to yellow green going down to the breast.
Their feet are grey, eye circles are white, and beak is red. Young birds may look like adults but their body is lighter in color which darkens during their first molt. Their bill is also lighter and with some prominent black markings.
Personality and Temperament
These birds are somewhat loud with shrilling, high-pitched chattering but they are not as loud as other noisy lovebird species. They are submissive birds and are calm in nature. They are easy to breed but the male will show aggressiveness during this period.
These lovebirds are very manageable and they are not as destructive and noisy compared to others particularly their large cousins. They like socialization and must be exposed to socialize with humans at young age. Like other birds, this specie also sometimes uses their beaks to humans in a manner to “discipline us”. There are some behaviors about these birds that need to be addressed while they are still young, such as biting and excessive chewing. These kinds of behaviors can be controlled through proper training and guidance.
Health and Care
When a Black-cheeked lovebird finds its compatible pair, they can become effective breeders and can even produce up to three clutches in a single breeding season. However, resting for adequate time before forming another clutch is necessary in order to prevent producing clear eggs, dead birds inside the shell, and to avoid the female contract stress-related diseases.
These lovebirds have been declining already, that is why it important to care for them properly and to place them in a breeding program that is managed by experts to make sure birds will survive.
If you are going to have Black-cheeked lovebird for a pet, housing them in a cage with adequate spacing is important. The cage or aviary, whether indoors or outdoors, should have at least a minimum length of 1.2 meters. Overcrowding them in a cage could be very stressful for them.
Their diet must consist of mixture of small seeds such as canary, millet and oats. They also must be offered fruits such as apples, oranges, and bananas once in a while. Vegetables like green leaves must also be added to their healthy bird diet as well as carrot, green beans and some peas in the pod.
For enrichment purposes, you can provide them with a shallow pan with water for their daily bath. You can also give them fir tree and other branches for beak exercise and chewing satisfaction. Wood toys are also recommended as well as swings, ladders, and mirrors for extra amusement.
History and Background
The Black-cheeked lovebird’s declining population makes them become considered as endangered species these days. They once belong to the species of the Nyasa or Lilian’s lovebird until they become independent specie in the early 1900s.
Even if they have decreasing population, these lovebirds are relatively easy to breed especially in well-managed facilities and aviculture. However they could be prone to reduced fertility, poor survival or young, and low hatchability of eggs which also contributes to their decreasing number.
These birds could sexually reproduce as early as 10 to 12 months of age and until 5 to 6 years. The number of eggs in a clutch is around 4 to 6 which are incubated for 23 days or less than 4 weeks. The baby birds will start to fledge at the age of 6 weeks after being hatched.