Thought to be the rarest species of parrot in Africa, these small birds were captured for the pet trade in huge numbers in the early part of the last century.
Interesting fact: Most of the birds in UK zoos can be traced back to the original flock from Bristol zoo.
Habitat & threats
The Black-cheeked lovebird inhabits deciduous woodland where there is a permanent supply of surface water. They are listed as vulnerable with a small and declining population that is suffering habitat loss. This is caused by boreholes diverting water for man's usage and less annual rainfall which reduces the amount of surface water in their range. Natural predators include snakes and birds of prey.
They feed mainly at ground level on annual grass seeds and other vegetable crops such as corn, sorghum and millet, they also feed on insect larvae.
Breeding and social dynamics
These birds can be seen in flocks of over 800 individuals although smaller flocks are more common. They breed well in captivity and are able to have more than one clutch per season. The female builds an elaborate nest and lays 2-6 eggs. Youngsters fledge between 30-44 days after an incubation of 16-24 days. Both the male and female will incubate the eggs.