Red-headed Lovebird (Agapornis pullarius)

Red-headed Lovebird

[order] PSITTACIFORMES | [family] Psittacidae | [latin] Agapornis pullarius | [authority] Linnaeus, 1758 | [UK] Red-headed Lovebird | [FR] Inseparable a tete rouge | [DE] Orangekopfchen | [ES] Inseparable Carirrojo | [NL] Roodmaskerdwergpapegaai | [copyright picture] Rene Wuest


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

The Red-headed Lovebird is 15 cm (6 inches) long. It is a mostly green parrot. It has a well demarcated red area on its head extending from the top of the beak, over the forehead to mid-crown, and extending to the left and right up to the eyelid margins. They have grey feet. The underside of the wings are a lighter green. The female has orange head colouring, which is less well demarcated than the males red head. The adult male has a red beak and the female has a paler red beak

Listen to the sound of Red-headed Lovebird

[audio: Lovebird.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 13 cm size max.: 15 cm
incubation min.: 21 days incubation max.: 23 days
fledging min.: 40 days fledging max.: 44 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 7  


Africa : West, Central. A. p. pullarius: patchly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and N Ivory Coast, and from Ghana East to Sudan and South into West Zaire and North West Angola, mainly North of Congo basin; also in Sao Tome. A. p. ugandae: East Zaire to West Ethiopia, West Kenia and Northwest Tanzania.


Mixed savanna woodland, light orchard bush, isolated patches of hearvier woodland and subtropical humid primary and secondary forest and forest edge, riverine bushland, riparian forest, around inselbergs in savanna, and near areas of cultivation and pasture; mostly lowlands, but in the eastern part of the range up to 2000 m.


The Red-headed lovebird?s breeding season starts with onset of the rainy season, at which time the birds build nests. The nests are constructed within ant and termite mounds located above the ground in trees. Nest building materials include seed husks and shredded grasses and leaves, which the female handles by tucking them between her feather. A clutch of usually 5 eggs is laid and incubated for 22 days, with brooding taking a further seven weeks before fledging.

Feeding habits

Outside the breeding season the red-headed lovebird can be found in large, fast-flying flocks of up to 30 individuals which, during the day, forage over great distances, consuming grass seeds, fruit and some cultivated crops, before returning at night to communal roosts

Video Red-headed Lovebird


copyright: Josep del Hoyo


This species has an extremely 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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to 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.
Unofficial international trade from some countries. Much used as a cage bird in Angola.
Red-headed Lovebird status Least Concern


Most populatiuns are considered sedentary. Some are short distance migrants or show nomadic movement. In all of its nearby range reported as vagrant or even irruptive, specially during the rainy season.

Distribution map

Red-headed Lovebird distribution range map

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