Lilians Lovebird (Agapornis lilianae)

Lilians Lovebird

[order] PSITTACIFORMES | [family] Psittacidae | [latin] Agapornis lilianae | [authority] Shelley, 1894 | [UK] Lilians Lovebird | [FR] Inseparable de Lilian | [DE] Erdbeerkopfchen | [ES] Inseparable del Nyasa | [NL] Nyasa-agapornis | [copyright picture] Princeton Press


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Agapornis lilianae AF se


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

The Lilian’s Lovebird is 13 cm (5 inches) long and is mainly green with white eyerings. It has orange on its head, neck and upper chest and has a green rump. Male and female are identical in external appearance. The Lilian’s Lovebird is often mistaken for the slightly larger Fischer’s Lovebird, which has an olive-green hood and a blue rump. It is also broadly similar to the Peach-faced Lovebird, which has more clearly demarcated orange colouration, and lacks a white eyering.

Listen to the sound of Lilians Lovebird

[audio: Lovebird.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

recorded by Derek Solomon

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 14 cm size max.: 15 cm
incubation min.: 22 days incubation max.: 23 days
fledging min.: 40 days fledging max.: 46 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 8  


Africa : Southeast. Agapornis lilianae occurs along the Zambezi Valley in Mozambique and into Zimbabwe, northwards along the Luangwa River into Zambia and southern Tanzania, and along the Shire River into Malawi


The species has a strong association with mopane Colophospermum mopane woodland in the south of its range, but also inhabits belts of Acacia on aluvium and riparian forest, and frequents fig trees in the north of its range. It is largely restricted to areas of Colophospermum mopane woodland, avoiding adjacent Brachystegia woodland. In S Tanzania probably linked to areas of Acacia woodland.


The Breeding season for Lilian’s Lovebirds is from January to March and in June and July. They make a roofed nest in tree crevices. In captivity the clutch consists of 3-8 white eggs, which are incubated for about 22 days, and the chicks leave the nest after about 44 days from hatching.

Feeding habits

It feeds on grass seeds, including Hyparrhenia, millet and wild rice Oryza perennis, but also takes flowers, seeds and fruit of other species


This species is listed as Near Threatened because its moderately small population may be in decline. If the total population was found to be smaller, it may qualify for a higher threat category.
Its population has been reduced considerably by flooding of a large section of the Zambezi valley by Lake Kariba, and very likely also by the Cahorra Bassa Dam in Mozambique. It is considered a pest by small-scale farmers. In addition to legal trapping of large numbers for the international cage-bird trade (over 10,000 since 1981 when it was listed on CITES Appendix II3), many are captured and sold locally in Mozambique, and the species is also captured and traded in Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Lilians Lovebird status Near Threatened



Distribution map

Lilians Lovebird distribution range map

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