Black masked lovebird clinging onto seed feeder

MASKED LOVEBIRD

Scientific Name: Agapornis personatus

Other Common Names: Masked Lovebird, Black-Masked Lovebird or Eye-Ring Lovebird

Native Country: Northeast Tanzania

Habitat: Grassland, Lowland Savannah and Woodland

Height (Head to Tail): 12 – 17cm, Small Size

Lifespan: up to 20 years in captivity

Weight: 30 – 60 grams

Black Masked Blue Recessive Lovebird Portrait

Masked Lovebird – Appearance:

Multicolored – similar to the blacked headed caique, the crown of the masked lovebird is black.

The blue-masked lovebird mutation still has the black feathered head. However unlike the traditional lovebird which has green and yellow feather and, the blue-masked varies from a bright blue to a deep blue plumage. The beak is pale pink compared to the original red or coral shade.

Masked Lovebird – Diet:

Masked lovebirds are herbivores therefore they naturally eat wood, bark, seeds, grains, nuts and fruits.

70% Seed & Pellet Mix – Should provide a variety of sprouted seeds, grains, nuts and granules for full coverage of essential vitamins and minerals e.g. sunflower, barley, chickpea, white millet, plain canary, hulled oats, pannicum, japanese millet, saff flower and sunflower. Learn how to make your own sprout seed mix here. Should be free from shells, husks, artificial colors, flavorings and preservatives. Popular brands include Tropimix, Vetafarm and Trill.

Vetafarm Parrot Essentials Maintenance Formula Vetafarm Parrot Essentials Complete Diet 2kg
Avicakes 3 packLafeber’s Original Flavor Avi-Cakes (3 pack)
lafeber nutriberries tropical fruit LAFEBER’S Tropical Fruit Nutri-Berries 3lb

25% Fresh Fruit and Vegetables – Lettuce, Cabbage, Kale, Spinach, Corn, Apple, Passionfruit

5% Cooked Wholegrains – Whole Grain Pasta or Brown Rice

**Treats could be used as a reward whilst training your bird to perform certain tricks/habits

Masked Lovebird – Essentials:

When bringing your little birdie home for the first time, you will need to ensure you have the basics sorted beforehand.

  • Bird Cage – at least 45cm x 45cm x 45cm (W x L x H) – plenty of room for toys and exercise; best to line the cage with newspaper to easily clean their droppings/mess
  • Cage Cover – any cloth that covers 90% of the cage so the bird can sleep in darkness e.g. blanket
  • Perch – at least 1 perch (preferably branch shape) for sleeping and general support, may want to add a rope or wooden ladder for entertainment
  • Toys – 1 or 2 toys to begin with for mental stimulation/entertainment; highly recommend foraging toys or those made of coconut shells
  • Bowls – 3x bowls (one for seeds, one for fresh fruit/vegetables and the other for water); your bird might use the water bowl to bath too, that’s completely fine!

Still not sure? Click here to download our 100% FREE bird care checklist here.

Masked Lovebird – Behavior:

  • Socialization: Playful and loving birds (which may explain why they’re called “lovebirds“). They usually prefer living with a mate or in flocks of about 4-5 so be prepared to provide frequent attention if you are adopting a lovebird in isolation. However at times they may show aggression towards other birds.

  • Vocalization: High-pitched squeak usually observed in the morning or afternoon. Do not have capacity to talk or mimic words (or very rare).
Black Masked Lovebird sitting on top of tree bark in Tanzanian woodland by itseld
Image Credits: Demetrius John Kessy, Tanzania, CC BY 2.0 via Wiki Commons

Masked Lovebird – Breeding:

Masked lovebirds reach sexual maturity at 10 months of age and are monogamous, meaning they usually mate with one partner for life. Males and females are hard to distinguish by appearance, so it’s best to see your vet for a DNA tests or an experienced breeder can inspect the bird and advise the gender. Other requirements for breeding are mentioned below:

  • Requirements:
    • Rectangle shaped Nest box (min. dimensions 25x17x27cm – HxWxL)
    • Nest box filling e.g. willow branches, roughly slivered corn, maize husk, non-toxic wood shavings, grass or a cheaper alternative – newspaper shreds
    • Ensure a well rounded healthy diet of seed mix, fruit and vegetables
  • Mating Partner: Monogamous (bonded pair male & female – one partner for life)
  • Breeding Season: All year round in captivity but in the wild breeding occurs during the dry season.
  • Clutch Frequency: 1 clutch per year
  • Clutch Quantity: 4-6 eggs per clutch
  • Incubation Period: 23 days
  • Weaning: Fully weaned at ~6 weeks

Masked Lovebird – Health:

Common IssueSymptoms Causes
Psittacosis Appetite loss, fluffed feathers, vomiting, nasal/ocular discharge, diarrhea or pale green feces, breathing difficulties, conjunctivitis, minimal physical movement, tremorsBacteria: Chlamydia psittaci contracted via infected dried saliva, feathers, mucous and feces
Feather PluckingForm of self mutilation by plucking their own feathers, leaving bald patches of skinBoredom, lack of mental stimulation, poor diet, illness, stress
Psittacine Beak & Feather DiseaseSharp, clubbed or abnormally short feathers, pigment loss in colored feathers, bloody feather shafts Beak & Feather Disease Virus (BFDV) contracted from other infected birds e.g. oral – parent feeding young or ingestion of virus particles in dust feces
AspergillosisWeight loss, lethargy, constantly fluffed feathers, difficulty breathing, cloudy eyes, droopy wingsAspergillus fungus: exposure to spores found in dust, mold, soil – mainly affects malnourished or immunocompromised birds
MalnutritionOverweight, nasal discharge, sneezing, conjunctivitis, poor feather quality, weakness, egg binding, embryonic death, Vitamin A or Calcium deficiency

Did You Know?

1. Wild masked lovebirds commonly carry a parasite – Encephalitozoon hellem that can be passed onto humans.

2. Masked lovebirds in the wild feed on millet and corn – marking them as pests in Tanzanian agricultural industry

3. Average Purchase Price: $100 AUD


Sub-Species Gallery: