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Grey-Headed Lovebird

Nicole Cosgrove

A lovely little bird, the Grey-Headed Lovebird makes a wonderful pet for almost everybody. Inquisitive, curious, and downright adorable, the Grey-Headed Lovebird is a charming companion that will provide you with years of love and affection.

If you’re wondering if a Grey-Headed Lovebird is the right pet for you, read our in-depth care guide to discover more about your next feathered friend!divider-birdcage

Species Overview

Grey-headed Lovebird on a branch
Image Credit: David Havel, Shutterstock
Common Names: Pocket parrot, Madagascar lovebird
Scientific Name: Agapornis canus
Adult Size: 13 centimeters
Life Expectancy: 10 – 20 years

Origin and History

In the wild, the Grey-Headed Lovebird lives in wooded savannahs, forest edges, and scrubs. While most lovebirds call Madagascar home, the Grey-Headed Lovebird is actually a native to this African island. They tend to live in smaller flocks of less than 10.

Temperament

Very bouncy birds, the Grey-Headed Lovebird is playful, curious, and a tad feisty. Despite his petite package, this bird has a huge personality. Super social, the Grey-Headed Lovebird often develops deep bonds with his owners.

This bird is prone to aggression and jealousy if not properly socialized or trained. Some experts believe that females are more aggressive and territorial than their male counterparts.

While not as loud as larger parrots, the Grey-Headed Lovebird still chirps and chatters. This is especially true if he’s trying to get your attention.

Pros
  • Social and smart
  • Not as loud as bigger parrots
  • Easy to train
Cons
  • Prone to aggression and jealousy
  • Does not mimic sounds or speech

Speech & Vocalizations

The Grey-Headed Lovebird does not mimic your words. However, he still loves to talk. This bird can produce shrill squawks but is generally on the quieter side of the vocal spectrum. He’s known for his distinctive “plee plee plee” calls while in flight.divider-birdcage

Grey-Headed Lovebird Colors and Markings

The Grey-Headed Lovebird has deep green plumage on his back and wings. His feet and bill are lighter hues and his breast is a muted shade of light green. He has yellowish markings under his tail and wings and a pale grey or whitish-colored head. There is black impressing on his tail.

Caring for the Grey-Headed Lovebird

This bird isn’t the biggest fan of being touched. Early training and socialization are essential to ensure your Grey-Headed Lovebird feels calm and confident when being handled. The best way to hand-train your lovebird is to practice in a confined bathroom with towels over the mirror and windows. Practice handling your lovebird every day. Reward good behavior with verbal praise and treats.

Many people assume that lovebirds should always be kept in pairs. However, if you provide your Grey-Headed Lovebird with plenty of affection and attention, he will do just fine without a mate. We do recommend getting more than one bird.

A good-sized cage for your Grey-Headed Lovebird will be at least two feet long and two feet high. The bars should be spaced no more than 5/8 inches apart and should run horizontally so your bird can climb and explore. Line the bottom with old newspaper or gravel and change it daily. Rectangular or quadrilateral cages are better for lovebirds than elliptical-shaped ones. Supply your bird with numerous trinkets, including bells, mirrors, and other toys to keep him mentally stimulated.

Common Health Problems

  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Self-mutilation
  • Chlamydiosis

The Grey-Headed Lovebird can live as long as 20 years. However, they can be prone to nutritional deficiencies, self-mutilation, and chlamydiosis. Regular vet visits, a high-quality diet, and plenty of playtime will keep your Grey-Headed Lovebird happy and healthy.

Diet and Nutrition

Feed your Grey-Headed Lovebird a high-quality diet of concentrated grains, fresh fruits and veggies, and commercial avian pellets. Never feed your bird a seed-only diet, as this can cause malnutrition. Provide him with a cuttlebone and calcium blocks for extra calcium consumption. Always ensure he has access to clean, fresh water.

Exercise

The Grey-Headed Lovebird is an active and athletic bird that loves to play. Provide your pet with tons of toys to keep him engaged and entertained. Make sure all of his toys are lead- and zinc-free. Avoid giving your bird toys that he can easily choke on, including ones with small chips or loose string. Good toy options for a Grey-Headed Lovebird include rawhide, wood, leather, sisal, and acrylic toys. Paper towel rolls, paper cups, and dried pasta shapes also make excellent toys for your bird.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Grey-Headed Lovebird

Grey-Headed Lovebirds are readily available in most pet stores and cost between $40 and $200. You can also adopt a lovebird from your local animal shelter. Ask your avian vet for their recommendations on where to buy or adopt a Grey-Headed Lovebird.

Conclusion

The Grey-Headed Lovebird makes a fantastic pet for almost anyone. Cute, chatty, and colorful, lovebirds can become affectionate and loving companions if trained and socialized properly.

If you’re on the prowl for the perfect pet, consider getting a Grey-Headed Lovebird today!


Featured Image Credit: David Havel, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.