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2011-10-02
Lilian’s Lovebirds - Agapornis lilianae - For lovebirds everywhere.


The Lilian's Lovebird - Agapornis lilianae - also known as Nyasa Lovebird, is a small African parrot species and is the smallest parrot on mainland Africa. These Lovebirds are Endemic to Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

It is mainly green with white eyerings. It has orange on its head, neck and upper chest and has a green rump. Male and female are identical.

The Lilian's Lovebird feeds on grass seeds, millet, wild rice, flowers, and fruit.

The Breeding season for Lilian's Lovebirds is from January to July. They make a roofed nest in tree crevices. In captivity the clutch consists of three to six white eggs, which are incubated for about 22 days, and the chicks leave the nest after about 44 days.

This species is listed as Near Threatened because its moderately small population which is in decline.

Birdlife International has teamed up with the Good Gifts Catalogue to raise funds for Lilian’s Lovebirds in Malawi. Listed in the cataloque as a gift ‘for lovebirds everywhere’ it is hoped that people will spend £25 (the cost of the gift) which will go towards field equipment for surveying and monitoring the birds in Liwonde National Park, Malawi and towards community outreach programmes.

With just 1,000 individuals estimated to exist in Malawi, this charming little parrot, ‘Liwonde’s Jewel’, is under serious threat from local hunting activities. In 2004, over 110 lovebirds were found dead at one water pool. Hunters poison small pools of water during the dry season when water is scarce in the park. Their aim is to catch small mammals and large birds such as doves for food. Their theory is that they remove the intestines of the birds quickly from the bird so that the body is not poisoned and it is safe to eat.  Lilian’s Lovebirds are a victim of this hunting as they come to drink in the same pools in large numbers.

It is not clear, however, exactly how hunting is affecting their populations because so little is known about their biology, abundance and distribution in the national park where they are found. It is essential, therefore, to assess their status and undertake research so that the appropriate action can be taken to reduce the current hunting pressure and to protect their habitat in the long term.

 


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