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Fischer's Lovebird

Common Names: Fischer's Lovebird, Fischer Lovebird
Scientific Name: Agapornis fischeri
Origin: Central Africa
Relative Size: 6 inches
Weight: Small 48-53 grams
Average Lifespan: 10 – 20 years.
Egg Clutch: 3-5 white eggs
Incubation: 21 days
Talking Ability: Poor

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General Information about Fischer's Lovebirds

Of all the lovebird species, the Fischer's Lovebird is the most striking if not one of the most beautiful parrots available on the market. They have bright green plumage around the breast area and a yellow bib around the neck. The bib’s base color is yellow and gradually blends with bright hues of orange, red, and brown. The lovebird has a white ring around its eye and a fiery red colored break. The wings and tail are covered with dark green feathers. These birds resemble rainbows and can easily compete with Rainbow Lorikeets which are just as colorful. Most people who see a Fischer's Lovebird will quickly understand why they are popular as pets.

It is difficult to differentiate between the males and females as they look almost identical. Some experienced breeders are able to visually sex the parrots through their skull shape, size, and behavior; however, the most reliable way to determine the sex of the bird is through fertile eggs or DNA sexing.

DNA sexing is 99.9% accurate and very affordable. It can cost anywhere from $15 – $25 dollars per test, depending on which lab you go through. The procedure is as simple as sending two to four feathers to the lab (depending on the species or the size of your bird). Results can be expected within two business days and can be received by email, fax, or phone. A certificate detailing the sex of the bird is usually provided by the lab. These labs can be found online though a local breeder or your local pet store.

These tiny parrots look identical to their cousins the Nyasa Lovebird. Many inexperienced onlookers find it difficult to tell the difference between the two species; however, it becomes obvious once the distinction is pointed out. A Fischer's Lovebird has a blue romp while a Nyasa Lovebird does not.

These parrots belong to the eye ring group which is made up of four different species; the Masked Lovebird, the Fischer's Lovebird, the Black-cheeked Lovebird, and the Nyasa Lovebird.

Mutations/Colors

Fischer's Lovebirds come in a variety of mutations. The most popular mutation is the Lutino. Lutino’s have a bright yellow body and an orange head. The next most popular mutation is the Blue Fischer's Lovebird. They resemble a Blue Masked Lovebird with a lighter black mask. There are so many color combinations that most owners will find a lovebird to their liking. Most prefer the original color as sometimes the mutations can be difficult to come by. Whatever mutation is selected, it will make no difference in the quality of the bird.

Fischer's Lovebirds in the Wild

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These parrots inhabit a small area in Tanzania, which is south of Lake Victoria. In Tanzania, these lovebirds can be seen in smaller flocks foraging for seeds and millet. Though noisy and loud when in flocks, these parrots are a spectacle to look at simply because they are so colorful.

During the breeding season, the pair will break from the flock and seek a cavity to raise their young. Unlike most parrots, Fischer's Lovebirds will collect nesting material to pad the nest. This unique behavior is only seen in few parrots; some lovebird species and also the Monk Parakeet. The male will feed the female and stand guard alerting the female if danger is near.

If babies are successful at fledging, most will leave the nest by six weeks, sometimes a few days sooner if well fed and food is abundant.

Fischer's Lovebirds in Captivity

These parrots have been kept in captivity for almost 80 years. The first few pairs took to breeding immediately without much coaxing by handlers. As the populations increased, and birds shipped through Europe, more and more Fischer's Lovebirds were sold and kept. These hardy little parrots eventually became popular as almost any novice breeder could breed them. Soon after, many people discovered their pet qualities which made them even more popular.

Purchasing & Cost of a pet Fischer's Lovebird

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Buying a handfed Fischer’s Lovebird is ideal if you want a tame and loving pet. They range anywhere from $45.00 – $130. Price really depends on where the birds are purchased. Lovebirds bred in an aviary are cheaper but not recommended if the owner wishes to handle the bird. Buying a handfed bird can be a little more expensive; however, the payoff can be great. A handfed bird allows the owner to handle it with more ease and make for better socialized pets as they are used to being around humans. These birds breed readily so finding a local breeder should not be difficult. If a local breeder cannot be found, pet stores also sell Fischer’s Lovebirds. Buying a handfed bird from a franchise pet store can be a little difficult. However, if you buy a bird that is not handfed, just know that it will require some time and effort to tame and to get the lovebird to bond.

When purchasing a Fischer’s Lovebird try and find a reputable breeder. You can find a good breeder by word of mouth or by asking people that are in the industry. It’s important to ensure your lovebird is properly socialized before you buy him. A properly socialized parrot will not be timid and will gladly enjoy interaction with you. This does not mean that they will not be a little shy as they need to get use to their new owners, but it does mean that they will be easier to tame. Along with being socialized well, the breeder should have already weaned the baby bird. It’s important the baby eats a variety of foods to ensure optimal health. If your lovebird does not eat moist foods such as leafy greens, vegetables, or fruits; start to gradually introduce them into his diet. Most Fischer's Lovebirds will not eat new foods, but placing a dish inside the cage daily will encourage them to try it. The key here is persistence and patience.

Owning a Pet Fischer's Lovebird

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Both male and female Fischer's Lovebirds make wonderful pets. Females can become a bit nippy during the breeding season and more territorial. To avoid this type of behavior, move the cage around to new locations and rearrange perches and toys inside the cage. If the lovebird is kept as a pet, it is advised not to have a nesting box inside the cage as this can cause problems.

These tiny birds have large parrot personalities and will delight in amusing their owners at any cost. These parrots are very curious by nature and can easily get into trouble if not watched. The owner should make a great deal of effort to teach the bird simple guidelines to ensure its safety.

These parrots enjoy spending hours on their owner’s shoulders while a person does household chores. They are very affectionate parrots and love to be petted on their neck, back, and wings. They thrive for human affection and must be held daily to satisfy their need for companionship.

Tricks

Fischer's Lovebirds can do many tricks. Though they cannot manipulate objects with one hand, they can still wave, turn around, and place objects into boxes. The amount of tricks that your parrot can perform is unlimited; it just takes persistence and patience by the owner. The owner should be creative as these birds can learn many things and will gladly perform tricks for praise or treats.

Talking

Fischer's Lovebirds are not great at talking. They have been known to talk but most do not. The voice of a lovebird is described as raspy and unclear; nonetheless, there is a very small chance a pet lovebird will talk.

Precautions

Since these birds are curious, extra precaution should be taken when your lovebird is out of his cage. They are small and can easily be stepped on. They can also get into everyday household substances that can make them very ill or cause death. These birds need to be taught to play on their stands and not be encouraged to wander off. How can this be done? Every time your lovebird decides to hop off his stand, gently place him back. It only takes a few times before he understands his boundaries. It is important to be one step ahead of your lovebird; they are very inquisitive and can easily get into trouble.

Breeding Fischer's Lovebirds

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Fischer's lovebirds are easy to breed compared to most parrots. These birds will breed readily if the right equipment is put inside the cage. Usually, all that is needed is a large breeding cage, a nesting box, some nesting material, and an abundant amount of food. Placing nesting material into the cage will most likely trigger the female into a breeding mode.

When the pair has been selected and placed into a breeding cage they will mate continually until the first eggs are laid. The female will carry nesting material inside her beak into her nesting box to build a nest. It is important not to place too much nesting material inside the cage as the female will over do the nest. This might result in eggs rolling out of the nest or eggs getting buried during incubation.

The right nesting material is essential as lovebirds need moister to successfully hatch their eggs. Palm leaves should be used as this will provide a great deal of moister for the developing embryos and aid the chicks when hatching is near. Fresh long stems of grass can be used as well, although anything cut from a garden should be cleaned to ensure no pesticides or bacteria is present. It is also a good idea to research the plant to ensure it is not toxic to the parrot. In addition, most female lovebirds will bath daily and this helps to add moister to her clutch.

Fischer's Lovebirds will breed year round if given the chance, and the female will produce three to five eggs every other day. The eggs hatch around 21 days after incubation. Breeders will usually keep the babies with their mother for 10 to 14 days before all the babies are removed for hand feeding. Weaning can take as long as six weeks, especially if the baby is kept alone.

Selecting the right cage for your lovebird

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Lovebirds are very active birds and need a cage designed for a cockatiel. The gap between the bars should be no greater then ½ inch to ensure the parrot cannot stick his head through the bars. These birds enjoy hanging from their toys and climbing around their cage. For this reason, the cage should be large enough to suspend a few toys, perches, and food and water bowls. It is important the bowls never be placed under any perches or toys because the lovebird’s food and water can easily become contaminated with droppings.

The cage should have at least three doors or one large door for easy access to the bird, toys, and the food and water bowls. It is important the doors lock because lovebirds are known to be brilliant escape artists. Most birds can quickly figure out how to escape from their cages in just a matter of weeks. Make sure that locks are solid.

A tray should be installed on the bottom of the cage with a grill to ensure the parrot does not have access to spoiled food or his droppings.

Feeding your Fischer's lovebird

Feeding a pet lovebird a healthy diet is important. Lovebirds tend to be very finicky about eating foods that are unfamiliar. For this reason, breeders should expose baby lovebirds to all kinds of foods at an early age so they learn to enjoy a variety of foods. If the pet lovebird refuses to try new foods, the owner should continue to add new foods daily as the lovebirds will eventually start to eat it.

These birds should be fed a base diet of seeds or pellets. Most lovebird mixes in a commercial pet store will work, but it’s important the lovebirds learn to eat pellets as well because they contain a great deal of nutrients not found in seeds. It can take time for the lovebird to eat pellets and the owner should be patient and consistent when exposing them to pellet food. Not only are seeds and pellets essential, so are fresh fruits and vegetables.

Lovebirds need to have their food shredded or cubed into small chunks because they cannot manipulate food as well as larger birds. Items such as carrots, spinach, broccoli, or apples need to be rotated throughout the week.

If the lovebird is fed a nutritious diet and taken to the veterinarian regularly, the owners can expect the bird to live around 10 to 20 years.

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