This brightly coloured lovebird has a gregarious nature and is usually observed in small groups, although sometimes up to 100 may gather (7). These large flocks only occur during winter, when the birds are not breeding (8). Lilian’s lovebirds feed primarily on grass seed, particularly millet and sorghum seeds, which is picked off the ground, or plucked from the ripening heads of plants (7). These small birds also tend to tear open the sheaths of maize cobs, to feed on the grains developing inside, causing considerable damage to the cereal plots in the process. Lilian’s lovebirds also require a regular supply of drinking water, and may visit water to drink four or five times a day in dry weather (7).
Lovebirds are monogamous (7), and get their name from the strong bond which forms between a male and female. Pairs of lovebirds spend much of their time close together, regularly preening each others feathers (5). Lilian’s lovebirds nest in colonies and either build roofed nests in crevices in mopane trees, or use an old nest of a white-billed buffalo weaver (2), although nests situated in the roofs of buildings have also been recorded (8). In Zambia, two breeding peaks have been observed for Lilian’s lovebird; January to March and June to July; while in Malawi it is thought to lay eggs in January and February. In captivity, Lilian’s lovebird has laid three to eight eggs at a time and incubates the eggs for around 22 days. The young chicks stay in the nest for around 44 days after hatching (2).