Grey-headed Lovebird (Agapornis canus)

Grey-headed Lovebird

[order] PSITTACIFORMES | [family] Psittacidae | [latin] Agapornis canus | [authority] Gmelin, 1788 | [UK] Grey-headed Lovebird | [FR] Inseparable a tete grise | [DE] Graukopfchen | [ES] Inseparable Malgache | [NL] Grijskopagapornis | [copyright picture] Milan Korinek


Monotypic species


Agapornis, an African genus of parrots allied to Loriculus of Asia, has usually been classified in nine species. Five species in the African lovebird genus Agapornis are the only parrots, other than Monk Parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus), that construct nests. Four species (A. personata, A. fischeri, A. lilianae, and A. nigrigenis) build domed nests within cavities, and a fifth (A. roseicollis) builds a cup-shaped nest within a cavity. The other members of the genus have nesting behavior that is more typical of other parrots: A. cana and A. taranta nest in cavities that are lined with nesting material, and A. pullaria excavates burrows in arboreal ant or termite nests. Eight species are native to the African continent, while the Grey-headed Lovebird is native to Madagascar. Their name stems from the parrots’ strong, monogamous pair bonding and the long periods which paired birds spend sitting together. Lovebirds live in small flocks and eat fruit, vegetables, grasses and seed. Black-winged Lovebirds also eat insects and figs, and the Black-collared Lovebirds have a special dietary requirement for native figs.

Physical charateristics

A.c. canus: male-light grey head, neck, and breast; black underwing coverts; green tail; abdomen yellow/green; upperparts darker yellow/green. Bill grey/white. Eye dark brown. Female-green head, neck and breast; underwing coverts green. A.c. ablectanea: both adults in general darker blue/green with less green/yellow; head and breast of male deeper and more purple grey.

Listen to the sound of Grey-headed Lovebird

[audio: Lovebird.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

recorded by Charles Hesse

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 15 cm size max.: 16 cm
incubation min.: 23 days incubation max.: 25 days
fledging min.: 40 days fledging max.: 45 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 6  


Africa : Endemic to Madagascar, introduced to the Seychelles


Found in sparsely wooded areas, palm savanna, forest edge, degraded forest, scrub and agricultural land such as rice fields. Also seen around towns and villages. Up to 1500m


Nests in tree cavities or holes. Lines the nest with finely chewed leaf, grass or bark. A clutch consists of 3-6 eggs. Incubation takes 22 to 23 days. Both parents feed the chicks which will leave the nest at about 6 weeks of age.

Feeding habits

Eats mainly grass seeds, but also takes rice spread out to dry around villages and farms.

Video Grey-headed Lovebird


copyright: Helmut Schenkel Brunner


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats, allthough it is very heavily traded.
Grey-headed Lovebird status Least Concern



Distribution map

Grey-headed Lovebird distribution range map

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