Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis roseicollis)

A pair of Namibia Peach-faced Lovebirds (Agapornis roseicollis roseicollis). There is no visible difference between the sexes, which is why, for example, you can find out the sex of the bird by using the "pelvic bone test" or by having a veterinary laboratory perform a DNA gender test on some of the bird's feathers. As secondary sex characteristics following can be mentioned: The female's head is slightly rounder than the male's, and her forehead is not as wide, in addition to which the colours are sometimes a little paler. Furthermore, females are generally slightly larger than males. Photo from  the internet.

The Lovebird species, Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis), consists of the nominate subspecies, Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis roseicollis), which is the one we know as the most popular and widespread Lovebird species in aviculture, and the subspecies, Angola Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis catumbella) that I never have seen alive among aviculturists in Europe. With a few exceptions, this article deals exclusively with the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird. Regarding the subspecies Angola Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis catumbella) in general, please refer to a separate article on this at When the terms "Peach-faced Lovebird" or "Agapornis roseicollis" is used in this article, it refers to both the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis roseicollis) and the Angola Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis catumbella) under one.

The species is called Peach-faced Lovebird in English according to “Deutsche und englische Namen der Papageien, Akademie für Vogelhaltung, Berlin 2023_03” from which the names Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis roseicollis) and Angola Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis catumbella) also originate. However, the top scientific English species designation is Rosy-faced Lovebird, cf. "Howard & Moore's Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World", Vol. I, from spring 2013 as well as the latest version 4.1 (August 2018), "Errata and Corrigenda to Volume I". However, since I consistently use the latest nomenclature from "Deutsche und englische Namen der Papageien, Akademie für Vogelhaltung, Berlin 2023_03" for my articles here at, the designation Peach-faced Lovebird will be used.

​The “naughty boy of the class”

I use the term "naughty boy of the class" because the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird may at first seem sociable, but the reality is different, as it can create controversies and be really aggressive towards conspecifics as well as other bird species. It is a robust bird with a very high degree of adaptability, which i.a. shows itself during the breeding season in the form of a very special behaviour. It is incredibly popular and probably the most widespread Lovebird art in human care.

When the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird was discovered in 1793, it was thought to be a form of the Red-faced Lovebird (Agapornis pullarius). It was not until the intervention of the French ornithologist, Vieillot, in 1817 that it was identified and classified as a separate species.

The Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird was introduced to Europe around 1860. It was the world-famous importer and pet dealer, Carl Hagenbeck, from Germany who as a teenager was responsible for importing this species. His fame is primarily due to the fact that he is considered the originator of the modern zoo, being the first to show wild animals in "natural" settings in a zoo. Carl Hagenbeck placed great emphasis on showing the animals in a kind of natural environment without fencing in the form of bars and grids, which was particularly sensational in Europe at the time. He founded the private zoo, "Tierpark Hagenbeck", which can still be visited today in Hamburg.

The Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis roseicollis) is the Lovebird species depicted on the most stamps in the world. The stamps are issued by many different countries in the world. A very lifelike motif of the bird is shown here on a stamp from 1997, which comes from one of its home countries, Namibia.

Colour description

The late Dane, J. L. Albrecht-Møller, describes the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis roseicollis) as follows in the "Papegøjebogen" (“The Parrot Book”, not published in English) from 1973:

"Male: Forehead rosy red; sides of head and sides of neck and throat rose-red; upper rump and uppertail coverts light blue, other upper side light green, underside yellow green (apple green); wings as back; primaries and secondaries black with green edges; underwing coverts green; the middle tail feathers green with a light blue tip, within the blue tip a black transverse band, within this again a red field and at the base again a black band on all the other tail feathers. Iris dark brown, surrounded by a narrow white or yellowish eye ring; beak flesh-coloured at base becoming greenish white toward pale tip; tarsus whitish horn grey, claws blackish.

Length 160 – 175 mm. Weight 41 – 55 g.

Female: Head slightly rounder, forehead not as wide, colours are sometimes a little paler and generally females are slightly larger than males. However, these are not certain characteristics, only the distance between the pelvic bones (approximately 1 cm wider in the female than in the male)”.

The rose coloured face mask is not clearly defined against the green colour of the rest of the head and body, but blends in a strange hue with each other in a narrow border along the face mask. The sexes immediately appear the same, but there are a number of so-called secondary sex characteristics that can often - but far from always - indicate the bird's sex:

  • The female's bill is often wider at the base than the male's.
  • The female's head is often wider and is generally more rounded than the male's, which is often more angular at the back.
  • The pink face mask has a smaller extent on the female, and the sides of the neck may appear greyish. The forehead of the males is more intensively coloured and appears more luminous, however, you must be aware that older females often can have more intensive colours than young males.
  • The female's facial mask continues almost in a straight line down behind the eye, whereas the male's mask continues into an acute angle behind the eye.
  • The female generally seems more compactly built.
  • Another characteristic can be the black "band" of the tail feathers, which is often narrower on the female.

In the past, it was believed that females weighed significantly more than males. In his time, William C. Dilger did a check-weighing of a number of Namibia Peach-faced Lovebirds, and it turned out that the average weight for the males is 55.4 grams and for the females 56.0 grams, i.e. close to the same weight.

There are also some behaviour-oriented conditions that can indicate the bird's sex. It is always the male who regurgitates food to the female, who - when the birds are in breeding mood - begs the male for food by looking at him and nodding her head. Another – but far from certain – behavioural indicator is that the female often spreads her tail feathers when you stand with her in your hand.

The sexes can be distinguished with 100 % certainty via DNA testing of some of the bird's feathers, alternatively you can try a physical examination of the bird's pelvis. Here you can often notice that the space between the female's two pelvic bones is significantly wider than the male's, to which, in contrast to the male's, the pelvic bones may seem a little elastic, which is natural, as the egg must pass through this place in the female. The "pelvic bone test" can be carried out with greater certainty when the birds are sexually mature, and with great accuracy when the female bird has already tried to lay eggs.

Angola, which is one of the homelands of the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird and the subspecies, Angola Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis roseicollis and catumbella), has every few years issued stamps with this bird as a motif. The first stamp showed the nominate subspecies, but in 1992 Angola then issued an exciting collection of a total of 4 stamps with motifs of the subspecies Angola Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis catumbella), and the stamp above is one of these 4 stamps.

When the chicks hatch, they are covered with tiny orange-red down, which after approximately 10 days often turns into a down coat that appears yellowish or yellow-green and gradually turns grey. The yellowish tone is most visible on the head, as these areas develop somewhat later. At the age of 13 days, the beak tooth falls off. When the chicks leave the nest, the plumage is light greyish-green, and the facial mask completely lacks the bright pink colour and is replaced by a grey to greyish-yellow colour, in addition to which the cheeks and neck are characterized by a delicate pink colour that is significantly duller and less widespread than in the adult birds (and in some cases only indicated below the eye). The young males seem to have redder cheeks than the young females, and the pink colour extends further back, and above the eyes the males have a quite narrow and fine pink stripe. At the base of the upper beak, you often see a broad black spot, which fades after a short time, where the beak fades into a light brown tone for at the age of approximately 3 months to become increasingly lighter and end up with the beak colour of the adult bird. At the age of approximately 4 months, the pink colour of the face mask gradually appears, and this development seems to go faster in the males. After the first moult, the young look exactly like their parents.

The Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird appears to be a kind of a transitional form in the evolution. On the one hand, it resembles the more primitive dimorphic species such as the Black-winged Lovebird (Agapornis taranta), Grey-headed Lovebird (Agapornis canus) and Red-faced Lovebird (Agapornis pullarius) by e.g. not having the bare white eye-rings, and on the other hand they resemble the Lovebird species with white eye-rings, as you cannot immediately tell the sexes apart. Also, the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird's behaviour of carrying nest-building material under their feathers (see below) indicates a relationship with the primitive group of Lovebirds, but the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird only uses the feathers on its lower back, upper rump and tail to transport building material to its nest.

As with the Black-winged Lovebird (Agapornis taranta), science has previously proposed placing the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird in its own genus, called Amoravis (Boetticher, 1946), but this proposal was rejected, so the species – similar to the Black-winged Lovebird - still belongs to the genus Agapornis.

As is known in other contexts, the Asian country, Laos, makes stamps with the African Lovebird species. Laos also made this stamp with a lifelike motif of the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis roseicollis).

J. L. Albrecht-Møller's work, "Papegøjebogen", from 1973 ("The Parrot Book" is not published in English), is based on James Lee Peter's "Check-list of Birds of the World", vol. III, from 1937. This means that the book only mentions one species, the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis). However, science recognized a subspecies to this in 1952. The above-mentioned species then became the nominate subspecies Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis roseicollis), and the then newly discovered subspecies was named Angola Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis catumbella).

The subspecies is attributed to Mrs. B. P. Hall, 1952, and is characterized by being lighter in colour than the nominate subspecies. The red on the forehead and above the eyebrows is slightly deeper in tone and the cheeks and throat appear closer to scarlet (i.e. a generally deeper colour in the face mask than seen in the nominate subspecies). The green colour on the back is deeper and purer in colour. The iris is also dark brown, but the bill is pale red-white (pinkish, in some places the bill is stated to be almost light orange) and greenish towards the tip. The upper rump is also often a deeper and clearer blue, less greenish blue. It is described in some places as something smaller than the nominate subspecies. A skinned specimen of this subspecies was exhibited at The British Ornithologists Club in London in 1955.

Although the Angola Peach-faced Lovebird is the most recently discovered subspecies within the genus Agapornis, I currently have no further information on it, but a colour photo of it can be seen on page 77 of David Alderton's, “Lovebirds – Their Care and Breeding”, the first edition from 1979 (ISBN 0 903264 39 0). I am currently not familiar with aviculturists who have this subspecies and breed with them. It has probably been mixed up with the nominate subspecies in human care, as there are only minimal differences between these two forms. In addition, the colour mutations within the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird have developed explosively over the past decades, which is why - probably - no aviculturists have really taken an interest in this subspecies. For further information on this subspecies, see the article under the "Angola Peach-faced Lovebird" tab.

Here is an example of a large nest complex built by the Sociable Weaver (Philetairus socius) on the African savanna somewhere in Namibia. It is here that the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis roseicollis) prefers to "take up residence" and build its nest, if it does not simply take over the existing Weaverbird nest. Photo from the internet.

In the wild

Considering the large natural population and geographical distribution of this species - and not least its popularity in human care - it has been surprising in connection with my research for this article to learn that there are relatively few field studies of this bird, if you compare it with several of the other Lovebird species.

The Peach-faced Lovebird occurs in a very large area in Angola, Namibia and South Africa, which includes dry coastal areas as well as open savannah, where it is frequently seen. However, there are also reports that the species occurs in other countries in Africa, but BirdLife International estimates that in these cases it is most likely birds that have escaped transport or captivity.

Distribution in South West Africa includes:

Nominate subspecies: South-west Africa, Namibia, from the Cape Province in the north and southwards to the banks of the Orange River. Inland all the way to Lake Ngami in Lesotho (bordered by South Africa).

Subspecies: The southwestern part of Angola, especially in the Benguella region.

The Peach-faced Lovebird prefers to stay in trees both in lower-lying areas and in areas of up to approximately 1,600 meters altitude. From nature's side, it is therefore used to fairly large temperature fluctuations. It feels most at home in dry areas on the edge of the desert, on open savannah with deciduous forest areas and on mountain slopes. Sometimes it is also seen in palm groves. The bird is most often seen in small flocks of around 10 individuals, sometimes up to 30 birds, and typically near water. The Peach-faced Lovebird has historically acted as a watercourse beacon - to which it goes at least once a day, often towards evening - for early travelers (historical explorers) in southern Africa.

It is a sociable bird that can gather in even larger flocks of several hundred individuals when they search for food or move towards streams or rivers. In Africa, flocks of Peach-faced Lovebirds can be recognized by the red face of the birds when they approach one, and conversely, the birds are distinguished by their distinct blue crest when they fly away. These extraordinarily large flocks are often seen at that time of year when they are searching for one of their favorite food items, namely cornfields with ripening crops. The species is frowned upon by farmers as it causes great damage to the crops. In some places it is so bad that the Peach-faced Lovebird is referred to as the "plague" by local residents. Otherwise, the bird feeds on many different varieties of grass seeds and wild herbs, berries, fruits and leaf buds.

Its flight is unusually fast, agile and is sometimes described as similar to the flight of the Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix), as it flies high into the air with quick wing beats, hovering for a long time before landing on the side. Its sharp voice is used extensively during flight and if it is suddenly startled. Sometimes you can see them flying in flocks "zig-zagging" between trees at great speed, during which they show eminent maneuverability.

A photo of a beautiful Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis roseicollis), which is one of my own wild-coloured breeding birds.

Nest building and associated behaviour are completely unique to the Peach-faced Lovebird. Its nests are thus to be found in Weaver colonies. Between the often huge nest colonies of the Sociable Weaver (Philetairus socius), which can measure several meters across and contain hundreds of nests and - less widely - in the smaller nests of the White-browed Sparrow-weaver (Plocepasser mahali), the Peach-faced Lovebird builds its nest of leaves, twigs, bark and branches.

Although there are great differences between the Sociable Weaver's and the White-browed Sparrow-weaver's nests (including a significant size difference), field studies have shown structural similarities between the two species of Weaver's nest constructions, which appeal to the Peach-faced Lovebird.

Either it takes over the Weaverbirds' abandoned nest chambers, or these birds are chased away so that it can occupy their nest chamber. The nest chamber is either taken over as it is, or the Peach-faced Lovebird supplements the nest with its own building material and builds a bowl-shaped nest inside this chamber. The gigantic nesting complex is vulnerable when hundreds of Weaverbirds are constantly crawling, landing and setting off from all sides. The Peach-faced Lovebird must therefore continuously improve its nest, which means that the birds drag nest material up into the nest throughout the nesting period, when the female, who broods alone, has been out stretching wings. Since the Peach-faced Lovebird uses its beak as a climbing tool, it must place bitten nesting material between the feathers on the lower back, the upper rump (overtail covert feathers) or between the tail feathers themselves, so that both beak and feet are free. On the Peach-faced Lovebird, the feathers of the upper rump are what the English refer to as "ruffled", and concretely this means that the "brush-like" feather tips on the upper rump almost turn inwards like a small hook in order to better retain the nest material during flight to the nest. However, it must also be added that this feather construction is also known from other parrot species that do not carry building material between these feathers, and here the special construction serves to "lock" the feathers to the underlying feathers.

The female is usually alone in the nest building. She likes to gnaw the bark off branches and process them in her beak before sticking up to half a dozen strips of bark under the feathers on the lower back and between the tail feathers. It then flies towards the nest, and if nest material is dropped on the way, it will not be picked up. It is funny to see a female bird with nesting material sticking out both ends from under the tail feathers. The building material can also be transported to the nest in the beak, and when the female is in the nest, it is taken out with the beak from under the feathers and further processed so that it becomes soft and easy to shape. The nest consists of finer building parts than, for example, the Masked Lovebird’s (Agapornis personatus). The nest itself is bowl-shaped without a cover, as seen in the Masked Lovebird (Agapornis personatus), but is, on the other hand, somewhat more advanced than the nest construction seen in the Black-winged Lovebird (Agapornis taranta). Even after the eggs are laid, nest building continues, which also helps to keep the humidity in the nest high.

This is another of a total of 4 stamps in a collection of stamps from Angola issued with the subspecies, Angola Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis catumbella), as a motif. The interesting thing about this motif is that it shows the bird where it is kept as a pet bird, which documents that this species is also popular in human care in Africa.

The Peach-faced Lovebird's nests can sometimes also be found in the hollows of trees, in branch gaps and in rock crevices, and it is especially in these cases that you can observe the bird's very special behaviour around nest building. When rock crevices or branch ravines are used as a base for its nest, the Peach-faced Lovebird also builds a cover on the nest if necessary. Its nests are also found near civilization, where it can roost in and around buildings.

The female usually lays 3 – 6 white eggs, which she hatches in 21 - 23 days. A new egg is laid every other day, and incubation begins when the second egg is laid (sometimes only after the third egg). The male spends the night either in the nest or near it when the female is incubating. Due to the special nest, many clutches of eggs and chicks perish in the wild, as they for various reasons fall to the ground, so therefore the Peach-faced Lovebird in the wild can sometimes have up to a handful of clutches a year.

The breeding season is in the rainy season from January to March, and the Peach-faced Lovebird is seen breeding in colonies during this period. Especially in the mountainous areas around Windhoek, Okanhandja and Omaruru there are large breeding areas.

The species' total distribution area is estimated to be 768,000 km2, corresponding to 7 % of Europe's total area.

Years ago, the country of South-West Africa issued this not very good-looking stamp of the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis roseicollis). The country became a German colony in 1884 and was known as German South-West Africa until 1915. In connection with the end of World War I, it was agreed by international decision that South Africa should administer the country, but in 1966 the UN decided that South Africa's administration of the country should cease. However, South Africa continued the annexation of the territory contrary to the wishes of the international community. In the year 1968, the country's name was changed by the UN to Namibia, which is one of the home countries of this species. The territory became the independent "Republic of Namibia" on 21st March 1990.


The Peach-faced Lovebird has a very large distribution area and by virtue of this criterion alone, according to BirdLife International, it is not considered endangered. The total population has not been quantified, but the species is described as locally common or even abundant near water. However, the trend for the population of wild Peach-faced Lovebirds seems to be decreasing, but the decrease is not of such a nature that it approaches the threshold values that BirdLife International has set up for vulnerability in relation to the criterion "Population trend". As mentioned, BirdLife International has not estimated the size of the population in the wild, but the Peach-faced Lovebird population is not assessed to be anywhere near the organisation's threshold value for vulnerability in this area. For these reasons, the species was assessed in 2010 by BirdLife International - the official "Red List" authority for birds on behalf of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) - to belong to the "Least Concern" category, and thus has the same status such as the Masked Lovebird (Agapornis personatus) in nature.

Nature protection measures


The Peach-faced Lovebird is one of only a very few parrot species - and the only species from the Lovebird genus (Agapornis) - which is no longer listed on the CITES I and/or II Appendices, which indicates that it is a species, which is not in any way threatened with extinction (cf. above). It is a so-called "non-CITES parrot species".

The recessive Aqua colour mutation of the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis roseicollis) was one of the first "pure" colour mutations in this species. It became very widespread in Denmark in the 1970’s, where the colour mutations had otherwise started with the spread of the dominant Yellow-pied mutation. Photo from the internet.

In human care

The Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird is probably the most popular Lovebird species in human care, which i.a. due to its beautiful, contrasting plumage and the fact that it is very easy to breed. Not least in the USA, it has been the most widespread Lovebird species for many years. Today it probably has almost the status of a domesticated species, similar to the Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) and the Cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus) and, like these species, is a beginner bird.

Up until the mid-1970’s, there were regular large imports from Africa to Europe, but the species' great willingness to breed in human care made these unnecessary. As early as 1869, the first breeding took place in human care at Alfred E. Brehm, who was the director of the Berlin Aquarium, and it caused a great stir, because here for the first time you could see a bird that put matches up between its feathers in connection with its nest building.

​On the one hand, the natural behaviour of the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird is to be part of a flock, and on the other hand, it is a very aggressive bird. It is a great paradox when it is kept in human care, because unfortunately - no matter what you try as an aviculturist - it always ends up with some of the birds’ losing toes and nails or - in the worst case - their lives. The Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird simply has a behaviour where it directly goes to bite the toes of strangers, and the same also applies in relation to other species. It has been seen attacking larger birds such as Red-rumped Parakeets (Psephotus), Rosellas (Platycercus) and even larger parrots, as well as known examples of Black-winged Lovebirds (Agapornis taranta) being killed.

These days I don't have much left over for colour mutation breeding among Lovebirds i.a. due to the many combination mutations and transmutations across certain Lovebird species (Agapornis). Conversely, I must admit that there are some naturally occurring colour mutations that are exceptionally beautiful and one of these is the Lutino colour mutation of the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird (or properly called SL INO). This is my own birds.

The female is most often the dominant one in the pair and even between the sexes in an established pair, conflicts can sometimes arise outside the breeding season, which can result in lesions of the toes. This happens despite the pair being kept alone in a cage or aviary. The sexes are generally more friendly towards each other during the breeding season.

It is an extremely depressing sight to see bloody perches in the aviary and birds limping and bleeding with one or more toes bitten off as a result of a fellow bird biting it hard on the foot. This is the background for why I have learned to keep this species in pairs and preferably in an aviary. Due to the capricious behaviour of the species, it is also important that the chicks do not stay with the parent birds for too long after they have fledged the nest, probably no more than 2 weeks, as the chicks may be attacked and bitten severely by the male in particular. Fledglings in an aviary can be helpless prey for other adult birds. As soon as the chicks are independent, they should therefore be removed, and this will also give the parent birds peace to start another clutch. Some aviculturists separate the chicks by sex when they have been living together in the first months, as the birds' willingness to breed is great and the breeding drive is very intense. The Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird is already sexually mature at the age of 4 months, but I never breed with my Lovebirds until they are 12 months old and fully developed.

If you have chosen to keep a few pairs together in a large aviary, it is very important to give them at least 2 nest boxes per couple in order to thereby postpone the time for conflicts to arise. All the nest boxes must hang at the same height in order to avoid creating special preferences among some of the birds. It is my experience, however, that no matter what you do, including continuously providing the birds with fresh natural branches, it will always end up - without warning - in some of the birds getting their toes bitten. In order to make the birds function better in a flock, some aviculturists make use of first pairing young birds in box cages and then putting the pairs together in an aviary. In this way, you are also better able to control the breeding work. At the same time, you must avoid bringing excess birds of one or the other sex into the aviary. If you spot a troublemaker in the flock, it is best to remove him as soon as possible. Always remember double wire and good distance between the aviaries, so that the birds do not have the opportunity to bite each other's toes.

For the sake of both the parent birds and the young, you should let them have no more than two clutches of chicks per year. 2 - 4 weeks pass between the first and second clutch, calculated from the time when the chicks have flown from the nest after the first clutch. Both in the wild and in human care, the birds like to sleep in the nest, and you should therefore let them have a box for as long as possible, but I never take more than 2 clutches of chicks a year, and then the nest box is replaced with a sleeping box without bottom but with a perch. After the second clutch, I give the parent birds a rest break of approximately ½ year, partly to protect them, partly to ensure that their offspring will be as strong as possible.

The Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis roseicollis) is so popular that in 2005 even a country in Northern Europe, Ireland, issued this stamp with a motif of this species.

The Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird breeds year-round and willingly allows nest control (cf. however below). It has a penchant for soaking seeds and nesting material in the water, but it doesn't stop there, as it can also begin to put other things, such as stones, in the water bowl at the bottom of the cage. That is why it is important to change the water every day. For the same reason, some aviculturists only use hanging bowls or drinking machines for water, but these do not stimulate the birds' desire to breed. Especially during the breeding season, the females like to bathe, which is why a separate water bowl is recommended for this purpose. It contributes to higher humidity in the nest, and can at the same time help to avoid "egg binding" (i.e. that the chicks will not be able to break a dry, tough egg membrane and shell).

Although the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird in the wild breeds in Weaverbird nest complexes, in human care it is no problem to get them to breed in ordinary wooden nest boxes (typically a large Budgerigar nest box).

For nest building, willow, birch or the like, which of course must not be sprayed with plant poisons, are very suitable. At the same time, no nesting material may come from areas that have been exposed to environmental pollution. Hay and straw can also be used as building material, as can gnawed millet cobs. Due to the bird's natural behaviour around nest building, you have to hold back a little with access to building material. The natural instinct that causes the female bird to repair and expand the nest is also reflected in human care, and you can therefore run the risk that the intensive nest building will end up covering the eggs so that they become cold. When the female has started to incubate, you should therefore be reluctant to give more building material. It has been seen that the female has also attempted to transport building material to the nest under neck and breast feathers, but this was abandoned as access was made difficult by the length and thickness of the building material protruding from between the feathers. When the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird is kept in cages, the female is sometimes seen to supplement her natural nest-building behaviour by carrying building material for the nest in her bill. If you then put the bird in a more natural environment in an aviary, you will be able to observe that it resumes its natural behaviour around nest building, only transporting building material between the tail feathers, etc.

Individual males may display the same nest-building behaviour as the females and also carry material under the feathers, but it never carries this into the nest. It has also been seen that the male can pick up lost nest building material.

During courtship, you can observe that both the male and the female scratch their beaks before mating, and here it differs from the Lovebird species with white eye rings, where only the male has this behaviour.

Juveniles of the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis roseicollis) during their first moulting into adult plumage. At the age of approximately 4 months, the pink colour of the face mask gradually appears, and this development seems to go faster in the males. After the first moult, the young look exactly like their parents.

The female incubates the eggs alone, and during this period she is fed by the male. When the young hatch, they are fed by the female. The young develop somewhat more slowly than the young of the Lovebird species with white eye rings, and leave the nest at about 45 days old. In the last part of the nesting period, and after the young have left the nest, the male also feeds the young directly. There have been several examples of a male being able to raise the chicks alone in cases where the female has died along the way. The chicks are independent within 7 – 8 weeks.

If you have two females sitting together in a cage with a nest box, it won't be long before both starts building nests and laying many unfertilized eggs. Conversely, if you have two males in the same cage, they will most often not use the nest box at all.

In human care, the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird also often makes use of its voice, which is very sharp and penetrating - indeed almost shrill - compared to the bird's size. Often it can just keep sitting and screeching, which can be quite annoying. If you have just a handful of Namibia Peach-faced Lovebirds in an aviary in your garden, you must be aware, especially in close quarters, that this can be quite a nuisance to neighbors. A few years ago, I heard of a Danish aviculturist who lived in a residential area, who had built 3 smaller open-air aviaries in one corner of the backyard with a total of approximately 25 Namibia Peach-faced Lovebirds. The aviculturists had not been aware that the neighbor behind in the same corner had a sun terrace, which was often used to rest on in the summer. Instead of complaining about the noise from the birds directly to the aviculturist, the neighbor tried to clap the lid of his metal garbage stand, which stood in the gap towards the birds on the other side of the hedge. The neighbor also succeeded in scaring the birds into silence, but only over a few days, and then the birds simply continued screeching on without taking notice of the noise from the bin lid. The parties could not agree on things, and it ended with the resident having to sell and move from his house.

As a youngster I had many Namibia Peach-faced Lovebirds and over the years I have bred many of them, also in different colour mutations. When there are chicks in the nest box, you quickly learn in connection with the ongoing nest control if there is one of the chicks that stands out in some way. Among one of my wild-coloured breeding pairs I had noticed that there was a chick who was very calm and almost familiar. I kept an eye on it, and when it had flown from the nest and then become independent, I took it from the parents to see if you could get a pet bird out of it. I gave it to my girlfriend, who later turned out to become my wife. She took it to heart and gave it the very significant name "Rosa". "Rosa" became incredibly tame and followed us everywhere, even when we were going on holiday. The first summer we camped in the central Jutland (Denmark), where - after setting up a tent and unpacking - we finally took a cage out of the car with "Rosa". Many looks were sent to us across the campsite, but when you have been "bitten by a mad parrot", your surroundings have to show a little indulgence in between. "Rosa" became a kind of family member, and she took part in many of our activities. She was incredibly curious and investigated everything around her. After a few years we decided to give her a mate and we were excited to see how it would go. She surprisingly took to the mate very quickly and soon got into breeding mood. It was funny to see that every time she had a litter of chicks, she completely changed her character, and where she was completely tame one moment, she became very aggressive in the next moment. Like any other bird of prey, she could pounce on her "prey" and bite thoroughly when you put your hand into her cage. Her chicks were always looked after to the last detail, and she defended them - literally – with her own life. Once, when I had to do a nest box inspection with her, she flew straight out of the nest box and bit my neck and hung on. From that point on, I learned to be more careful around her when she had chicks. We had "Rosa" for several years and had quite a few chicks from her. It is therefore my experience that a tame Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird can be extremely entertaining, and the bird clearly thrives in this role, but from the start you probably have to decide whether you want a tame bird or – which is of course optimal for the bird – keeps them in pairs.

Through selective breeding, over the years certain breeders have unfortunately succeeded in developing a so-called “exhibition type” of the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis roseicollis). It has become a large, heavy and clumsy bird, which has virtually nothing to do with the elegant and streamlined bird that we know from nature. At BVA's exhibition in September 2010 in Aalst in Belgium, you could, among other things, see this example of the "Super Size Me" type (wild-colour).

Especially about the exhibition type - "Super Size Me"

A few years ago, a new and even very large version of the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird saw the light of day in human care in the Netherlands. At the first exhibitions where this type was shown, there were e.g. speculation that growth hormone preparations had been used to create these birds. However, this is not the case, as this bird has “only” been created through targeted selection of the breeding material over many generations. It gives associations to Danish agriculture, where in its time white Danish slaughter pigs with a few extra ribs were bred and over the past 25 years have managed to make these pigs 20 cm longer and have increased their weight by an average of 70 kg. Too big - it is this type of Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird that is the "standard" for the so-called exhibition type. The wild-coloured form of the exhibition type is also characterized by having a clearer colour pattern than the "regular" wild-coloured Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird, and the beak is somewhat lighter.

At the world's largest exhibition of Lovebirds, BVA Masters 2010, in Aalst, Belgium, you could once again see this huge version of the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird, which I call "Super Size Me" (after Morgan Spurlock's 2004 documentary of the same name, where you follow Spurlock over 30 days while he lives exclusively on fast food from the fast food chain McDonald's). This type of display certainly does not look healthy either. The prize-winning specimens appear with almost a "fat hump" across the back, and the bird clearly has difficulty staying on its feet under its own body weight. It sits heavily on the perch and often rests with its body (sternum) on the perch. It seems that several birds are moving around with difficulty, and it seems likely that many of these birds also have definite health problems (circulatory disturbances and respiratory problems), as their anatomical proportions are significantly altered. What the purpose of breeding such birds really is, can only be guessed at. When I saw this kind of birds in reality, I thought: "What are those breeders really doing and what do they have in mind?", and the same question can be asked of the specialist associations for Lovebird breeders, who benevolently prepare so-called "standard descriptions" for the ideal of the exhibition type. With this display type, the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird, which by nature is an elegant and aerodynamically built bird with fantastic flight characteristics, has been transformed into a large and very compact, clumsy bird of over 18 cm. It is neither in nature's nor the bird's own interest to look like this, and the only "mitigating" circumstance is that the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird is not endangered in the wild, but aviculturists who deal with exhibition-type birds contribute in no way for the conservation of this species in human care.

At the BVA Masters 2010, unfortunately, you could also see certain signs that some breeders are trying to drive the breeding of the Masked Lovebird (Agapornis personatus) and Fischer's Lovebird (Agapornis fischeri) in the same direction, which is very worrying.

Here is another example of the “exhibition type” of the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis roseicollis) in the Olive colour mutation (DD Green). With birds of this show type, breeders have unfortunately created a bird that is miles away from the elegant, streamlined and agile bird found in the wild, a most unfortunate development where irresponsible breeders are putting the birds' health at risk.

Colour mutations

As you know, with a few exceptions it is outside the scope of to focus on colour mutation birds. Therefore, the colour mutations of the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird will only be discussed very briefly in this section.

The Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird today represents the largest palette of colour mutations among the Lovebird species, and several of these have been known for many years. E. N. T. Vane has described, for example, that already in 1942, a Lutino bird appeared in Great Britain. Since then, the emergence of new colour mutations in this species has progressed rapidly, especially over recent decades, when the various colour mutations have also begun to be combined with each other. Nearly countless of colour mutations have been developed within this species, so that occasionally it can be difficult to spot wild-coloured birds.

In Denmark, the spread of colour mutations really took off in the 1970’s with the dominant Yellow-pied birds, which had appeared at the beginning of the 1960’s, and which were especially popular in the USA. These were birds with a normal coloured plumage with larger or smaller areas of yellow feathers (white in the case of the primaries). Then you started to see a recessive blue mutation, which was actually more pastel blue (the pink colour of the face mask had turned very faced pinkish and the plumage was almost sea green, and the mutation was therefore also called "sea green" in certain circles at the time). Today, this colour mutation, which is a so-called "Partial blue" mutation, is called "Aqua", cf. the international norm for naming colour mutations.

​Within the colour mutations, the aviculturists - as already mentioned - have also driven it very far compared to the other Lovebird species, e.g. because a large number of combination-colours have also been produced. In addition, not only have they been able to breed a different colour on the body's plumage, they have also been able to change the basic rose-red colour of the face mask to e.g. to be orange or white mask. Furthermore, colour mutations have also been bred, where the extent of the face mask has been completely changed. This colour mutation is called Opaline, and is known from Budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus), where it appeared in several places in the world around the years 1933 to 1935. The primary characteristic of Opaline Budgerigars is that they almost lack the "wave patterns" down the neck. They are replaced by the colour of the face mask down to the shoulders. Similarly with the Opaline mutation in the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird, where the face mask is greatly expanded to also cover the entire head, upper throat and neck. With this colour mutation, which can be combined with other colour mutations, one has thus removed a completely basic species characteristic of the wild-coloured Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird, and in my opinion these birds look completely wrong and are completely useless for species-preserving breeding.

Finally, many modifications have also occurred over the years (i.e. colour changes to the plumage, which, unlike mutations, are not hereditary). One of these is a bird with a pale red face mask, cardinal red body, brilliant blue colour on the rump and almost brownish wings. In addition, birds with a red-spotted plumage are known, and the funny thing here are the accounts that you can read, where some of these birds, by relocation and/or changed feed composition after the next moult, have given the bird a normal-looking plumage, i.e. wild-coloured.

This photo shows an example of an Opaline colour mutation of the Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis roseicollis) in the front of the photo. People unfamiliar with Lovebirds are likely to think that it is a completely different bird, as the species-typical feature of the face mask distribution has completely changed. Photo from the internet.


The Namibia Peach-faced Lovebird tends to get fat if it gets large portions of very oily seed such as sunflower and hemp, not least if it sits in a small cage.

Although the species is thrifty, you must feed varied. I have always given these birds a good parakeet mix with plenty of canary seeds and different millet varieties, but no sunflower in the summer. In the winter months, if the birds are living at low temperatures, you can supplement with e.g. sunflower and hemp, as the oily seed varieties are heat-generating.

Namibia Peach-faced Lovebirds are generally incredibly fond of millet, semi- and whole-ripened grass and weed seeds. It also likes to take the seeds in sprouted form.

During the breeding season, a home-made or ready-mixed egg food mixture can be given.

Sweet apples, figs and oranges as well as green salad, dandelions, etc., are often eaten with great appetite.

In conclusion, it must be emphasized that a pair of wild-coloured Namibia Peach-faced Lovebirds in top condition is an ornament to any parrot collection.

Jorgen Petersen

Conceived/Updated: 28.11.2010 / 15.02.2024


A pair of Namibia Peach-faced Lovebirds (Agapornis roseicollis roseicollis). Pencil drawing by Jørgen Petersen from around 1975.