Fischer’s lovebird (Agapornis fischeri)

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Fischer's lovebird perched on branch, side view
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Fischer’s lovebird fact file

Fischer’s lovebird description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPsittaciformes
FamilyPsittacidae
GenusAgapornis (1)

With such vibrant, colourful plumage it is easy to understand why this tiny parrot has been threatened by collection for the wild bird trade (1). Fischer’s lovebird has a bright green body, with some blue in the tail and wing fathers. The yellow collar and upper breast blends into an orangey-red face. The rest of the head is a dull olive green. The eyes are prominent due to a surrounding fleshy, white ring and the bill is red (2). Lovebirds get their name from the strong bonds they form, with the male and female spending much of their time close together, frequently preening each others feathers (5).

French
Inséparable de Fischer, Perruche de Fischer.
Spanish
Inseparable de Fischer.
Size
Length: 15 cm (2)
Weight
42 – 58 g (3)
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Fischer’s lovebird biology

The noisy Fischer’s lovebird is generally seen in small flocks, but in crop-growing areas large flocks of more than 100 birds may congregate to feed on grain (2). They will attack ripening crops, particularly millet and maize (2), and also feed on seeds, fallen berries and fruit in the ground (6), whilst taking care that they are within easy flight to the protection of a thorny bush (7).

Fischer’s lovebirds breed in the dry season from January to July (6), when they construct a nest in a tree hole, a cavity in a building, or among the bases of palm fronds (2). Inside the chosen site a bulky dome-shaped nest is constructed from long twigs and strips of bark (2). The clutch size can range from three to eight eggs, but is most commonly five or six (6).

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Fischer’s lovebird range

Fischer’s lovebird is endemic to north Tanzania. It has also been recorded from Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya, but these are thought to have originated from aviary escapees and are not wild populations (1) (2).

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Fischer’s lovebird habitat

Fischer’s lovebird inhabits grassland and savanna with scattered trees. It can also be found in cultivated land dotted with baobabs (2). It generally occurs between 1,100 and 2,000 meters above sea level, and is often near water, especially in hot weather (6).

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Fischer’s lovebird status

Classified as Near Threatened (NT) by the IUCN Red List 2007 (1), and listed on Appendix II of CITES (4).

IUCN Red List species status – Near Threatened

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Fischer’s lovebird threats

Despites its restricted range, Fischer’s lovebird used to be very common, until the 1970s when numbers began to drastically decline, due primarily to widespread trapping for the wild bird trade (1). In 1987, Fischer’s lovebird was the most commonly traded bird in the world (1), which gives an indication of the extent of its devastating exploitation.

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Fischer’s lovebird conservation

Luckily, trapping of Fischer’s lovebird for export is no longer legal (1), and it is listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), meaning that any international trade in this species should be carefully regulated (4). Large flocks of Fischer’s lovebird still occur in a few areas, such as Serengeti National Park (7), but in many areas population numbers still remain low, and the constant threat of a re-start in the wild bird trade hangs over this lovebird (1). Large numbers of Fischer’s lovebird remain in captivity outside of their natural range (6), which, whilst an outcome of the trade that put the lovebird in a precarious position, may be important should captive breeding and reintroduction ever be required to save this species. However, with careful management of the wild bird trade, and with the continued enforcement of protected areas, hopefully this ‘last resort’ strategy will never be needed.

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

For further information on Fischer’s lovebird and other parrots see:

For more information on this and other bird species please see:

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Authentication

Authenticated (02/10/07) by David C. Moyer, Conservation Ecologist, Wildlife Conservation Society. 
http://www.wcs.org

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Glossary

Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (September, 2007)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. Forshaw, J.M. (1978) Parrots of the World. Second edition. David and Charles Ltd, Newton Abbot, Devon.
  3. World Parrot Trust (September, 2007)
    http://www.parrots.org/index.php/encyclopedia/profile/fischers_lovebird/
  4. CITES (August, 2007)
    http://www.cites.org
  5. Burnie, D. (2001) Animal. Dorling Kindersley, London.
  6. Juniper, T. and Parr, M. (1998) Parrots: A Guide to the Parrots of the World. Pica Press, East Sussex.
  7. Alden, P.C., Estes, R.D., Schlitter, D. and Mc Bride, B. (1996) Collins Guide to African Wildlife. HarperCollins Publishers, London.
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Image credit

Fischer's lovebird perched on branch, side view  
Fischer's lovebird perched on branch, side view

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