No matter your current romantic status, you can always come home to love -- in the form of the personality-packed lovebird. Not only a beautiful and playful pet, lovebirds can share your life for a long time. Their lifespan ranges from 15 to 30 years.
Native to West Africa, lovebirds belong to the parrot family. Agapornis roseicollis, the most common and largest of the pet lovebirds, is best known as the peach face. Besides their peach-colored faces, most lovebirds boast green plumage on their bodies with a bright blue behind, although you can find other color patterns. Other lovebird varieties do not tame as easily, so are less frequently kept as pets. Even the peach-faced lovebirds are generally hand-raised, as this practice offers the best opportunity for socializing and taming an otherwise somewhat wild bird. Hand-raised lovebirds usually grow up as affectionate, friendly, cheerful companions.
Your lovebird always needs access to fresh, clean water. Feed a high-quality seed and pellet mix designed specifically for lovebirds or small parrots. Give your lovebirds some veggies every day, with fruit treats a few times a week. Avoid giving your birds sugary, salty or high fat snacks. As a general rule, if it's not healthy for you, it's not healthy for them. You can give your birds nuts or whole grains as snacks. Clean the food dishes out every day, along with removing any uneaten fresh food from the cage.
At minimum, a lovebird's cage should measure at least 2 feet long. Purchase the largest cage you can afford. For safety's sake, buy a cage with horizontal bars, as lovebirds are less likely to get their heads stuck between them than with the vertical version. Both birds need their own perches, approximately 3/8 inch in diameter, along with toys providing exercise and entertainment. Interior decorating for your lovebird's cage includes a mirror, cuttlebone for calcium, veterinarian-recommended natural branches and swings. If you can't find toys designed specifically for lovebirds at your local pet store, choose those marketed for cockatiels and larger birds, not parakeets or canaries. Cover your lovebirds' cage at night, giving them 10 to 12 hours of darkness.
Human love birds notoriously have eyes only for each other, and the same is true of the avian variety. You can keep a single lovebird, who will bond more closely to you. If you'd like little lovebirds, you obviously need two. One caveat -- male and female lovebirds look exactly the same, although the male might be larger. If you intend to breed lovebirds, have an expert sex them for you.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.