BLACK CHEEKED LOVEBIRD agapornis nigrigenis







Peachfaced Lovebird agapornis rosecollis

Masked Lovebird agapornis personatus

Fischers Lovebird agapornis fischeri

Abyssinian lovebird agapornis taranta

Black Cheeked Lovebird agapornisnig nigrigenis

Nyasa Lovebird agaspornis lilianae

Madagascar Lovebird   agapornis Cana

Red faced Lovebird agapornis pullarius

Black-collared Lovebird agapornis swindernianus


General description


black cheeked_agapornis nigrigenisLenth 5.25ins (13.5 cm), general plumage green, darker on wings, body and underparts, lighter green including rump, more yellowish on the rump and under parts; forehead and forecrown , reddish-brown; hind crown and nape dark yellowish-green ; lores throat and cheeks brownish-black; upper breast plate orange; tail green, lateral feathers marked with orange-yellow and basally and subterminally barred with lateral feathers marked with orange-yellow and basally and subterminally barred with black; naked periophthalmic ring is white; bill coral-red fading to pink at bace; iris brown; legs grey-brown.

A good specimen should have the following qualites

1. The body should be slender and compact

2. The wing tips should sit together over the tail

3. The tail should be short and tapered

4. The head should be well rounded

5. The face should be appealing with a round and bright eye

6. The plumage colour should be even and clearly defined, any bird showing blue feathers on the rump should be regarded as a hybrid

7. The feather condition should be immaculate

8. The feet should be clean and not turned in, and the toes should be straight and show no signs of curling inwards, there should be no scars or mutilation and all nails should be present

9. The bill should be clean and show no scars or mutilation

10. Overall the bird should display an exhibition carriage and stance

Articles taken from previous society magazines

Our Experience of Breeding Black Cheeked Lovebirds Agapornis nigrigenis

by Gary and Sue scopes

We started breeding canaries about twelve years ago, which proved successful until we had our stock stolen. Having two normal peach faced as pets we decided to invest in others of different colour mutations, but for some reason breeding was not very successful. Getting more involved in Lovebirds, we then ventured into Masked and Fischer’s. Breeding was no problem but we found both species were fairly aggressive and we were fast running out of available space in our back garden. By chance we came across some Black cheeked lovebirds for sale and despite the cost and our lack of experience with this species we decided it was time to try something new. Very soon the pleasure of keeping Black cheeked Lovebirds became apparent and we hope our breeding efforts will be a positive step forward into securing the future existence of this species.Black cheeked love bird agapornis nigrigenis
The Black cheeked lovebird is particularly endangered in their pure form both in their natural habitat and in captivity. Indiscriminate hybridisation by many "so called" breeders has now resulted in many birds offered for sale not being genetically pure. Hybridisation must be strongly discouraged in breeding programmes so that pure birds may be available for future captive breeding and maintaining the species. It is therefore important to be able to recognise a pure bird. The Black cheeked Lovebird is about 14 - 15cms in length, slightly smaller than other more common Lovebird species. The main plumage colour is green, the head is chocolate brown with any black feathers being confined to the cheeks and the chest is apricot with no pure yellow feathers. A further sign of purity is the absence of any blue feathering to the upper tail coverts or tail feathers. The bill is red and the orbital eye-ring is white. The coloration of youngsters is duller than the adult until after the first moult, colour markings being Identical for cocks and hens (i.e. monomorphic).
All our birds are housed and bred in outside flights throughout the year, each flight measures 6'x 6', Only half the roof area is covered with clear perspex which maximises natural light during short winter days and no artificial light or heating is used. During the summer, shade needs to be provided, because the perspex creates a greenhouse effect. Each flight has an internal box cage for feeding purposes measuring 3*L x 2'D k 1.5'W. These are easily reached to feed and clean via a passage around the back of the flights. With al! food being contained in this one area, vermin or disease has never been a problem and the food is kept dry and clean.
We usually house two pairs in each flight, colony breeding being accepted by these birds, though overcrowding can cause stress. We have not found it necessary to double wire the flights due to their docile, peaceful nature which also applies vocally, their calls are not as penetrating as other species of Lovebird making them ideal if you have near neighbours. All perches are natural branches,, giving varied size of perch, which is essential for healthy feet. We also push branches into the gravel floor to imitate a tree, the only care the gravel requires, is a quick rake now and then.
The main diet fed to our birds is a good parakeet seed mixture, which includes a good variety of seeds all readily eaten by our Black cheeked. In addition to the seed, fresh apple, (“Golden Delicious" appears to be their favourite), is given. Pyracantha. Hawthorn and Elder henries are eaten and Sweet corn is a particular favourite during the breeding season. We have not found that our birds eat a wide variety of vegetables. Care must be taken to ensure that all food is free from insecticides and pesticides. Chickweed is useful, the green leaves as well as the seed heads are eaten and a few wild grasses and millet sprays are given regularly. We have always supplied mineral blocks and cuttlefish throughout the year and fresh drinking water is available at all times.
Breeding season starts as soon as the willow trees begin to shoot in March/April depending on how severe the winter has been. The nest boxes, which have been left up all winter, are inspected and debris and old nesting material is removed and the nest boxes sprayed with a mite spray. A layer of peat and moss is placed m the bottom to which the birds will add Willow bark and leaves building a complex nest which includes a roof over a large chamber which is later lined with fine twigs, bark and a few feathers. The next is quite large, filling the 8" x 6" box. There are many varieties of willow and we have found that the birds can distinguish one from the other, preferring the grey/silver willow or crack willow. The very young flowers/catkins are eaten as well as small pieces of bark The bark at this time of year is almost wet which helps produce humidity in the nest box during incubation and hatching of the eggs. Nest building can take 3 to 4 weeks, so it is some time before egg laying commences the hen collects all the nest material, but will often be assisted by the cock with the actual nest building. courtship and copulation takes place at this time. as mentioned earlier distinguishing the sexes can be very difficult but if observed closely during courtship the different behavioural characteristics will be noticeable. The cock can be distinguished by frequent head scratching often followed by head bobbing whilst turning around on the perch in front of his chosen mate. The female crouches down on the perch with both wings extended, enticing the cock bird to mate with her. Both sexes can be seen regurgitating food and feeding each other.
Prior to egg laying the hens droppings can be seen to be larger in size and often more watery and she will spend more time at the cuttlefish acquiring the calcium she needs for egg production. Once egg laying commences, the hen lays on alternate dates and 4 to 6 eggs has been our average size clutch. Incubation lasts about 21 days and the hen leaves the nest only for feeding and toilet needs. The cock will sometimes take food to her in the box. We always write down the dates the eggs are laid as a guide to when hatching will occur. Eggs hatch in late afternoon and we have often watched as the chick chips away at the shell. The young are covered in a pinkish down and their eyes are closed and remain closed until about 10 days old. The adults are not unduly upset by nest inspections every few days. With many Lovebird species this would be the age for chicks to be closed rung, but we have found 12 to 14 days of age to be more successful as rings have a tendency to fall off Black cheeked chicks before this age. All our birds are closed rung and a record of ring numbers carefully maintained which enables us to pass on guaranteed unrelated birds to others.
Whilst young are in the nest, rearing food is given. We use EMP and always give it dry, which means it stays fresher longer and does not need replenishing every day. We have found that the birds do not take rearing food at other times, only when there are youngsters, We also feed young sweet corn when it is at the milky stage which has also proved a useful food for the newly weaned young The young birds leave the nest box after about 42 days, fully feathered and able to fly, but are not independent, the parents continue to feed them for some time and they continue to sleep in the nest box at night. Parents are not aggressive towards them, quite often laying the next clutch of eggs and remarkably we have never had broken eggs even with 5 or 6 fully feathered young plus adults plus eggs all in the nest box together, When we find the hen is laying again the young are removed to a nursery flight measuring 18* x 12' and all young birds are placed here together. Black cheeked are reported as being prolific breeders and we have certainly found this to be true, even laving a third round if we allow them. All birds need a rest period to replenish themselves or clear eggs, dead in shell and weak exhausted parents will result. The nest box is not cleaned out between clutches, the adult birds adding more willow bark and leaves to the nest. Al the end of the breeding season we leave the nest boxes in place, the old nesting material acts as insulation and keep them snug and warm right through the winter period. The weaned youngsters are also given nest boxes which they use for sleeping and we have found that once in the nursery flight youngsters bond together at a very early age and two birds will start using the same box night after night A way of catching up this probable pair is to enter the flight at night and remove the box with the birds in it In our experience this will almost certainly be a true pair which have selected naturally and are therefore compatible. Our breeding records show an even ratio of cocks and hens and they can start to breed at the age of 10 to 12 months.
We believe it is becoming increasingly important to keep accurate records of all birds bred in captivity. We record dates of all eggs laid, when they hatch, or the reason they don’t hatch and any deaths of youngsters and reasons if known. Each nest box has its own identification e.g. box A or B and each pair \ keep the same nest box. When we sell any birds these records identify the ring colour, ring number and nest box from which the young bird came and this way we can make sure we offer unrelated birds, both this time and in the future if that person comes back to us far more birds,
We would encourage all breeders to close ring all their birds and to maintain accurate records, it’s not that difficult and must certainly help breeding programmes in the future to secure pure blood lines of the delightful Black cheeked Lovebird,