Lovebirds are in
generally social, friendly, playful parrots,
which have amused and delighted people for
The Masked Lovebird is one of the three most popular lovebirds kept in captivity today. Many people are attracted to their size and dispositions. In addition, unlike many other parrot species, the Masked Lovebird is relatively quiet. Some of the larger parrot breeds will annoy neighbors and housemates with their loud screeches. The Masked Lovebird possesses a much softer voice. They have wonderful friendly dispositions, which make them easy to tame, and good family pets. Unlike some parrots they are not known to talk, but some owners have reported mimicking abilities. You should not expect talking from your Masked Lovebird, however. This is a rare occurrence. The charm of the Masked Lovebird is their beauty and affectionate behavior towards one another. The Masked Lovebird is part of a larger group of Lovebirds known as the white eye-ring group. This group includes birds of three other distinct lovebird species (Fischer's Lovebird, Black-cheeked Lovebird, and Nyasa Lovebird). All members of this group exhibit bare white eye rings. Single lovebirds make excellent pets, loving to cuddle with you and hide in your hair all day. They are very territorial, so need to be taught to "step up" on command right from day one and reinforced with this command every day. If you keep two lovebirds they will usually bond to each other and not retain their pet quality, especially if they are kept in the same cage together. The average lovebird will live between 12 and 20 years.
The Masked Lovebird is commonly seen in a few varieties. The Blue Masked and Green Masked varieties are the most common and then there are the more uncommon medium blue (cobalt) and dark blue (slate). The hallmark of this breed is of course their black mask. Of all
the varieties the Green masked is the most common and the wild type. The Blue masked variety first occurred in the wild and was quickly introduced into the pet trade after its discovery, but it is the newer of the two. They have blue plumage covering most of
their body, a white collar and a white to pinkish-orange bill. In all other ways they are the same as the green variety. The Green Masked Lovebird in contrast has green plumage, a yellow neck collar, and a red bill. Both varieties have brown to sooty black lores, cheeks and head with blackish-grey feet. Another common trait is the bare skin areas around their eyes, which is white. The cere is also white. The Masked Lovebird is a small parrot measuring only 14.5 to 15.5cm at maturity, with a wingspan of 10 to 10.5cm. The average weight of a mature Masked Lovebird is 50 to 55g. Unlike some other species the female is larger. In all other ways the male and females do not exhibit any sexual dimorphism.
Originating in Tanzania, they are commonly found on the inland plateaus in the northern regions. The Masked Lovebird was first discovered in the late 1800's but was not imported until over a hundred years later. The first masked Lovebirds were not imported until the 1920's. The scientific name of the Masked Lovebird is Agapornis personata. It is interesting to note that the word 'Agapornis' is composed from the Greek word 'agapein' which means to love, and the Latin word for bird 'ornis'. Prior to 1863 they were classified as Psittacus.