|Scientific name||Agapornis personata|
|Length||6 inches (15 cm)|
|Life span||10-20 years|
|Number of young at birth||3-6 several times a year|
|Age of maturity||10 months|
Living in the leaves
The masked lovebird can be found in Tanzania, where it lives among the shrubs and trees.
More than just birdseed
While these birds do eat seeds and grains, they also eat tree bark and small insects. At the zoo, they dine on a cockatiel diet, mixed vegetables, and sunflower seeds as treats.
What’s behind the mask?
Masked lovebirds have a black head, with a large yellow “collar” around their neck; the rest of their bodies are bright green. Their eyes are encircled with a white ring, and they have a red beak. They grow to six inches long on average. Lovebirds, in general, are small, stocky versions of parrots. Lovebirds have a larger hooked upper mandible or beak that is hinged to the skull, and a reversible fourth toe. Although their natural voices are harsh, their thick, fleshy tongues and voice apparatus allow a wide range of articulations, including the imitation of the human voice.
They really are “lovebirds”
Lovebirds spend a lot of time preening and grooming each other, hence their name. Friendly and sociable by nature, they are commonly kept in captivity as a pair and lavish much attention on their mate or partner. Bonds are established early in life between individual couples and are maintained for the duration of their lives. Couples can be seen grooming each other and feeding one another from the crop by regurgitation. These birds can show signs of aggression during encounters with a rival, a newly introduced individual, or if spooked by human actions. To avoid these situations, a lovebird couple will usually remain isolated from other birds while in captivity. In the wild, however, lovebirds will tend to move in small groups even if they may belong to a larger flock.
Hatching little lovebirds
Black-masked lovebirds commonly breed between the ages of ten months and five to six years. During this time they may produce several egg clutches within a single year. During breeding season the behavior between partners will change: the male displays more agitated behavior, the female begins nesting, and appetite increases for both sexes. The female cares for the hatchlings until they leave the nest at about six weeks of age. The father then takes over the feeding of the young birds for another two weeks or so until they reach independence.