In January 2014 Angie Ng sent an image with a note: “A very pretty pair of little parrots flew shrieking into our carpark. One hopped onto the grassy patch and started to peck at the grass or whatever was between the grass. Then it hopped to an almost bare area beside the pavement and started pecking on the gritty clay soil. Was it picking up bits of soil? What bird is this? It seemed pretty tame and hopped onto the pavement and posed for photos!”
We directed the image to aviculturist Lee Chiu San who responded by attaching a link to the identification of lovebirds (Agapornis spp.) LINK and the note below.
“As for the one in the photo, I hazard the guess that it is a hybrid, probably with a lot of Peach-Faced Lovebird Agapornis roseicollis and some Fischer’s Lovebird Agapornis fischeri in the ancestry. Both these species are popular in aviculture and interbreed freely. Many artificially-produced colour varieties are present. This bird is one of them.
“The bird in the photo does have a facial blush, but not the bright pink that gives the Peached Face its name. The overall body colour is also a bit too dark for a Peached Face Lovebird, while the blue on the posterior is a bit too strong.
“The absence of an eye-ring (as in our local Zosterops) found in some of other common lovebird species, rules them out from the ancestry.
“Most of the seed-eating parrots and parakeets from Africa and Australia will pick up grit and sand, and will eat soil, as do many other seed-eating birds. It helps in their digestive processes.”
“It is sad that people buy pets without thinking of the work needed to care for them. While lovebirds are among the easier subjects in aviculture, they do make a bit of noise, can scatter seed husks and droppings, and sometimes bite. Somebody might have thought that the solution to the problem was to open the cage door and boot them out to fend for themselves.”
Angie Ng & Lee Chiu San