BLACK WINGED LOVEBIRD (AGAPORNIS TARANTA) WING 95 – 110 MM

The Black Winged Lovebird is the common, small green parrot of the Ethiopian plateau. It is widely distributed from about 1,500 – 3,200meter in the western and southeastern highlands and in the Rift Valley in forests and woodlands of hagenia, juniper, podocarpus, olive, acacia, candelabra euphorbia, combretum and fig. It commonly visits gardens, especially with seeding trees in Addis Ababa. The lovebird flies in noisy flocks which number usually five to ten individuals although as many as 50 to 80 individuals may be present. It flies swiftly and makes sharp turns at high speeds; it moves its wings in quick, short flaps, the black under the wings being obvious then. Both sexes have a large bright red bill; the male has a red forehead, the female and immature do not. Although the behavior of captive Black Winged Lovebirds has been documented in detail, no study of this species has been done under natural conditions. In captivity the lovebird is a sociable creature: a pair regularly stands as close together as possible. The two birds at times bounce their heads and necks up and down and move around in small circles: they may do this several times before they stop and press their bodies together again. The lovebird walks; it does not hop. Under natural conditions it has been observed to feed on juniper berries, figs and seeds. At night the birds sleep in holes in trees. It has a shrill twittering call and, in flight, a sharp whistle.

Amazingly, only one record of the nest and eggs of the lovebird has been documented: around 1900 one egg was obtained in April from a hole in a tree; the size and color of the eggs, details of the nest and the kind of tree were not recorded. Recent observations on pairing behavior and activities associated with nesting indicate that this species is a solitary nester, doing so probably from March through November.

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