The Peach faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis) is also known as the rosy-faced lovebird and are a common face in the bird sales and groups.
These originate from arid parts of south-west Africa such as the Namib Desert and are very sociable birds who live in small groups in the wild. They are found from south-west Angola across Namibia to the lower Orange River Valley in the north-west of South Africa. They can live up to 1600 metres above the sea level and tend to occupy broad-leaved woods, semi-desert and mountain areas as long as there are water pools and other drinking spots. There are also feral populations around the world including around Phoenix in Arizona where they even live amongst the cacti.
The wild colouration of the peach faced lovebird is a bird that is mostly green with a blue rump and pink/peach on the face and throat, darkest on the forehead and above the eye. Their beaks are horn colours and they have brown eyes. There is no visible difference in the sexes and they are usually around 17-18cm in length.
In captivity, a number of startling colour mutations have been consistently bred. These include light green and pied birds, Isabel and fallow birds where the green is replaced by yellow and blue-violet birds that range from a purplish blue to a turquoise blue.
Lovebirds are quite noisy birds for their size and the Peach faced are amongst the loudest. Their shriek is quite piercing which may mean they aren’t a suitable bird for people who live closely with others. They are very active birds that are rarely still and are very full-on and fearless, approaching anything as a curiosity rather than an object of fear.
If they have been hand reared, these birds can be very cuddly and enjoy nothing more than being very close to you, including in a shirt pocket or under your chin. While they aren’t very good in the mimic stakes, they are excellent and learning tricks including being taught to play dead, push a toy on wheels around and even in one example, put a coin in a toy bank. The turn side of this intelligence is that they can figure out how to escape from their cage so sliding doors should be secured with an extra lock to prevent this.
Peach faced lovebirds have the reputation of being the more aggressive of the species and tend to be best housed either in colonies or with similar sized and temperament birds that won’t be bullied by them. They live happily as groups though there is liable to be occasional squabbles that can be noisy but are rarely serious. In cages, a single bird can be kept but will need a lot of attention and companionship so a pair or even two birds of the same sex can be the best idea.
If you have a lovebird and are introducing another to it, never do this in the existing bird’s cage. This will result in the new bird being seen as an intruder and attacked. It is best to keep them as neighbours in their own cages and introduce them outside the cages then let them bond together and move into one cage in their own time.
Size of aviary isn’t as important as the strength of it, and similarly for the cage. They do need room to be able to fly, though they are more climbers. However, they have prodigious beak strength and are known to chew through wood entirely so a strong enclosure is vital to prevent escapees. Nor is there much point to decorating their homes with plants, as they will simply gnaw them to pieces.
They are hardy birds that don’t need specialist heating if kept outside during winter but should be able to roost in a frost-free night house. They will also roost in a nesting box so even outside breeding season; one should be present for them to sleep in.
If you keep lovebirds in a cage, they will need toys and activities to keep them occupied when inside the cage. The toys you buy will need to be strong enough unless they are designed to be destroyed due to their beak strength. They will also appreciate perches made from safe wood that they can chew, so expect to have to replace them from time to time. Different widths is also good for their feet too.
They enjoying bathing so as well as fresh drinking water, fresh water to have a bath in each day will be appreciated and helps them maintain the condition of their feathers.
You can buy specialist mixes for lovebirds in most good pet shops and feed retailers. They will also need this to be supplemented with fruit, berries and greens such as spinach or kale. They will eat egg food, especially when breeding and will need access to grit.
Some people have found peach faced to be awkward when it comes to eating the different types of food they need for a balanced diet. Perseverance is important and trying tactics such as if they don’t eat carrot when sliced, try grating it, dicing it or even giving them a whole lump of carrot to chew.
The hardest part of breeding these birds is ensuring you have a pair and not two birds of the same sex. Once you know you have a pair wait until they are at least twelve months old before allowing them to breed.
A nest box around 10 inches square will be large enough for them and they do build a nest inside it, unlike many of the other parakeet species. They will gnaw up twigs into strips to use or will gnaw at any wood available, including the structure of their home.
They lay 3-5 eggs, which the female incubates for 18 to 20 days. The chicks fledge at around a month old and can be distinguished by their partially black beaks.