Bristol Zoo is home to a flock of black-cheeked lovebirds. Although familiar to many guests as pet birds, there are actually nine species of lovebird. Black-cheeked lovebirds are the most threatened of all the species in the group.
Lovebirds are very noisy, gregarious and utter a variety of loud shrieks and calls in flight. Lovebirds are one of the most popular cage birds and can be taught to perform tricks and even to speak, just like much larger parrots. But just like most other parrots, they lead complex social lives and depend upon the company of others. They sleep with their heads tucked under their wing, or resting on their orange breast.
Seeds are the main food eaten by the black-cheeked lovebird, but they will also eat young leaves.
Drinking from pools and waterholes is an important part of a lovebird's day, the food they eat is often low in moisture so they need an additional source of water.
The black-cheeked lovebird lives in forests in Zambia.
They inhabit deciduous woodland in the wild, where permanent supplies of surface water exist, as these birds need daily access to water. In the dry season, these birds may congregate in large flocks of up to 800 or more.
The black-cheeked lovebird is one of Africa's most threatened parrots. There is a significant chance that this species will go extinct in the wild within the next 20 years. Restricted to approximately 6,000 sq km in southern Zambia, where the wild population is probably well below 10,000. It was their popularity as cage birds that lead to wide-scale trapping and the decline in numbers in the 1920s. The population has never fully recovered, probably because less millet (one of their favourite foods) is being grown and the area in which they live has lost many of its waterholes.
Black-cheeked lovebirds line their nest cavity with bits of bark, grass and small twigs. A black-cheeked lovebird will carry nesting material in its beak, but other species are known to carry nesting material tucked into their rump feathers, or even tucked under their wing.
You can find our lovebirds next to Splash and the Adventure Playground
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