Red-headed Lovebird

Red-headed Lovebird
Red-headed Lovebird 13–15 cm; 29–50 g. Bright green with orange-red forehead and throat; rump bright blue; all but central tail feathers red at the base, black in center and green at tip; underwing-coverts black.
 Red-headed Lovebird Female has less bright forehead and throat, green underwing-coverts. Immature has face yellow. Race ugandae has paler blue rump.

Editor’s Note: This article requires further editing work to merge existing content into the appropriate Subspecies sections. Please bear with us while this update takes place.

Described race guineensis (from W Africa) is a synonym of nominate. Two subspecies were recognized.




Agapornis pullarius pullarius Scientific name definitions


patchily in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and N Ivory Coast, and from Ghana (recorded also in SW Burkina Faso and SW Niger E to the Central African Republic and W South Sudan, and then S into W DRCongo and NW Angola, mainly N of Congo Basin (S boundaries unclear); also São Tomé.

Agapornis pullarius ugandae Scientific name definitions


E DRCongo to SW Ethiopia, Uganda, extreme W Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and NW Tanzania.


Editor’s Note: Additional distribution information for this taxon can be found in the ‘Subspecies’ article above. In the future, we will develop a range-wide distribution article.


Mixed savanna woodland, light orchard bush, isolated patches of heavier 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 E of range up to 2000 m.


Some populations are sedentary, but others seem to behave as short-distance migrants, and all are perhaps capable of some nomadism. Considered to be a visitor of unclear seasonal status, Kagoro, Nigeria.

Numbers appear to increase, Darfur, Nov–Feb, and certainly do so in rains, Cabinda. In E Africa birds are subject to considerable local movements, occurring sporadically over much of Uganda and NW Tanzania.

Diet and Foraging

Red-headed Lovebird Seeds of tall grasses, including Sorghum, taken from the ground, also fruits of guavas and figs.

Red-headed-Lovebird parrot

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

The commonest vocalization of Red-headed Lovebird is a high-pitched tinkling double-noted “ti-lee”. When perched, several chirruping and twittering calls, and a more screeching “scree-teet”.

SOURCE: shivam mishra


Nestlings and juveniles in Oct in Nigeria; Sept in Sierra Leone; Apr–Aug, and Oct in Uganda and E Zaire. In Freetown area of Sierra Leone, appears to nest invariably in ant-nests in trees;

said to the nest where there are arboreal ant-nests in Sudan; one Red-headed Lovebird nest in Nigeria was in a hole in occupied ant-nest attached to the bole of a tree 4 m up; in termitaria in Uganda, once lined with grass.

SOURCE: Nelson Cruz

Red-headed Lovebird Eggs 3–7, white, size 20·9–21·9 mm × 16·6–17·5 mm; in captivity, incubation by female 22 days, nestling period 42 days.

Conservation Status

Not globally threatened. CITES II. Generally rather uncommon, and never reported as abundant except locally in Ethiopia.

In Sierra Leone, not uncommon in N woodlands, but less common further S with the isolated population on Freetown Peninsula; significant numbers trapped each year as cage-birds;
 The red-headed Lovebird male’s habit of sitting prominently just outside the nest for long periods leads to most nests being robbed of young. Uncommon or rare in Liberia, Ghana, and Benin.
 Uncommon in Gashaka-Gumti Game Reserve (now National Park), and rare in Kano State and Nindam Forest Reserve, Nigeria, although commonly on sale in most main towns (far commoner in last century).
Red-headed Lovebird parrot
 Rare in the Dzanga reserves, but common in Manovo-Gouda-St Floris and Bamingui-Bangoran National Parks, Central African Republic, with breeding proved in the latter part.
 Fairly common along the whole Chad/Sudan border, Darfur, and indeed fairly common in Sudan. Much used as a cage-bird in Angola, were not common; and evidence of a small amount of trade out of São Tomé.
 Race Uganda is locally common. Most recent records in Kenya are thought to represent wanderers, but a population apparently persists in Kakamega Forest. Generally frequent, locally abundant, in Ethiopia.

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