|Selby , 1836|
The lovebirds ( Agapornis ) are a genus of small African parrots that belong to the real parrots (Psittacidae) and to the subfamily of the noble parrots (Psittaculinae). Their name comes from their very strong bond, which usually lasts a lifetime. Their extreme behavior as a couple (cuddling, grooming, etc.) has earned them the name "love birds" (especially common in English-speaking countries, "lovebirds", as well as in the scientific name Agapornis , from Greek: agape = love and ornis = bird).
Lovebirds are found wild in tropical Africa . Together with the long-winged parrots and the Vasa parrots that are endemic to Madagascar , they are among the typical representatives of the Afrotropic Islands . However, they are largely absent in the dry areas of the Sahel and the Kalahari as well as in most of the Republic of South Africa . One species, the gray-headed ( A. canus ), is endemic to Madagascar .
The birds are between 13 and 18 cm long and weigh about 50 g. The plumage is predominantly green or yellow-green. In all species except the green-headed ( A. swindestianus ) the head and often the chest are strikingly colored. This coloring gives most of the species their name. The green head has a black neck ring for this. In some species the tail-coverts and rump are blue. Some of the species ( soot , strawberry , peach, and black-headed ) have a showy white eye ring. There are hardly any gender-specific differences in these species (as is the case with rose and green heads), with the other species it is possible to determine sex visually.
Inseparable people form monogamous couples. They share a sleeping cave, look after each other's head plumage and feed each other. The couple bond usually remains until the death of a partner. If a partner dies, the survivor immediately looks for a new partner. If there is an excess of females in a population, it can happen that two females temporarily share a male if they also use different breeding caves to raise the offspring. If there is an excess of males in a population, some males initially remain alone and only mate when another, mated male has died. During the rearing of the young, the female initially feeds the nestlings for six weeks after they hatch. It is supplied with food by the male. After the pups leave the nest, the male feeds the female for two more weeks. The female can start a new brood immediately after leaving the young. These birds live to be around 10 to 15 years old.
- Gray-headed ( A. canus )
- Orange-headed ( A. pullarius ) - 1 subspecies
- Taranta parrot or mountain parrot ( A. taranta ). Not to be confused with the kea , which is also known as the mountain parrot.
- Green-headed ( A. swindestianus )
- Rose-headed ( A. roseicollis ) - 1 subspecies
- Peach head ( A. fischeri )
- Black-headed ( A. personatus )
- Strawberry heads ( A. lilianae )
- Soot-head ( A. nigrigenis )
The relationship of the Agapornis species to one another has long been controversial. In particular, the position of the green-headed ( A. swindestianus ) in the group was little researched. An extensive study based on molecular genetic studies from 2013 came to the conclusion that the green head is basal in the genus, i. H. it is the sister taxon to all other species. The results of the study lead to the cladogram shown below :
- Broich, Alexandra: GU animal guide lovebirds / agapornids. 3. Edition. Gräfe and Unzer, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-7742-6410-6 .
- Dirk Van den Abeele: Agapornids. Volume 1: species, husbandry, nutrition, breeding. Arndt-Verlag , Bretten 2010, ISBN 978-3-9813383-1-7 .
- Dirk Van den Abeele: Agapornids. Volume 2: Mutations, color variations, exhibitions. Arndt-Verlag, Bretten 2010, ISBN 978-3-9813383-3-1 .