Fischer's Lovebird Agapornis Fischeri
This species comes from northwestern Tanzania, south of Lake Victoria. This species is fairly common, breeds readily, and a number of color mutations have been developed. Therefore it makes this bird perfect for the inexperienced breeder.
Description and sexing:
Length of male 15 cm average, female is usually slightly bigger. Average weight 40 g, female usually slightly heavier. The sexes are similar in appearance, basically green, with light green on the underparts. The forehead, cheeks and throat are bright orange, merging into yellowish orange on the breast and nape of neck. The rump is blue and there are blue, orange, and black markings on the tail. The beak is red, the feet and legs gray. The irises are brown.
Note; This bird’s rump should be a clear violet. Any greyish tinge in this violet rump indicates earlier hybridisation with Masked or Black-cheeked lovebirds. In present day exhibition Fischer’s selection has taken place towards more red on the head, the olive green parts are nearly suppressed completely
The sex can be determined by the distance between the pelvis bones which in males measures 1–2 mm while measuring 4–6 mm in females. Also note, the pelvis bones of the male are more pointy, female bones are more rounded
Behavior and keeping:
These birds are the more aggressive species of the eye-ringed lovebirds and can become territorial during breeding; especially the females. Keeping a watchful eye on the birds can prevent injury or even death during territorial disputes. Because of their aggression, when breeding in colonies, adequate space must be provided to ensure less tension. Placing extra food bowls around the aviary will greatly help maintain the peace.
The diet of these birds is not difficult; a standard mixture will do well. Seeds (millet, canary, sunflower. buckwheat, niger, hemp, safflower, peanuts, sweetcorn, linseed, corn, pinenuts, barley), fruits and vegetables (apples, oranges, kiwi fruits, fresh figs, berries, juniper berries, spinach, carrots), green food (dandelion leaves, cabbage leaves, etc.),
Try soaking dry figs and juniper berries over night before feeding to soften them.
Sprouted seeds, softened rusk and egg food should also be offered, particularly during the breeding season (rationed when not breeding).
Fischer’s Lovebirds can breed year round but should not be allowed to breed during hot summer months. High heat can kill young chicks and create an uncomfortable environment. The clutch can consist of two to six eggs and incubation lasts 21 days. Fischer’s Lovebirds can breed twice a year; however, it’s highly recommended that the pair be given a season to rest. A female will willingly produce four clutches a year if given the chance. This type of breeding is unethical and will quickly result in an exhausted female that will have a short lifespan. The band size is 4,5 mm.
Aqua (par Bleu), this very rare mutation appeared in USA, the photo is showing three Aqua bird and also a modification (bird on the right), these appeared in Europe but young Aqua bird turn green after their first mould.
Dark eyed clear, the original dark eyed yellow has a melanin reduction of about 95% in the plumage. That is a yellow bird having a light green hue, a light blue rump, grey legs and toes and black eyes. Combinations with NSL ino result in the yellow black eye with a white rump. Combinations with pastel result in a spotted yellow bird (in contrast with the combination pastel/ino, they have grey legs and toes). There is no need to say that one should try to breed this variety as pure as possible, and all combinations with pastel and recessive ino should be avoided. Combined with birds that show a light blue rump and black eyes, one refers to these birds as dark eyed white. The photo is showing a Dark eyed White in front and a Albino, take a good look at the eyes, see the difference?
Recessive pied, in these birds there is an almost total absence of melanin. Also the blue rump has almost disappeared. The only thing left is an almost complete yellow bird showing some green spots here and there, mostly at the wing coverts. The feet are mostly grey, however there are examples of specimens having very light colored feet. In the early days one was under the impression that we had to deal with a type of yellow black eye, but that is not the case. In this mutation we also observe a reduction of the red psittacine in the mask resulting in a smaller mask.
Euwing, in 2004 reports of a possible new mutation among the Agapornis fischeri. A green young with a deviating color was born from the combination green x lutino. This bird was clearly a lot darker on its wings and the general body color also deviated. What was striking was how clearly defined the separation between the wings and the mantle was. The mantle (the area between the wings) was a paler color. As a result a distinct V pattern was visible on the back.
Blue, transmutant through personatus. Here we have to take notice of the color of the mask. A dark deposition in the mask or a clear white neck ring are not allowed. The back of the head must be dark grey at the crown, changing over into light grey at the back of the head and neck. Just like the wild type there is a difference in color between the feathers of the wing coverts and the general body plumage. The wing coverts are somewhat darker in color which is caused by eumelanin present in the barbs of the feathers. The mask should have the same size as in the wildtype.
Pastel, probably derived in the personatus, although we do not have clear evidence. Black turns into grey and green turns into “dirty” yellowish-green. The general body color becomes paler, the flight feathers are light grey and sometimes even white. Ideal would be an equal lightening of 50% of the color with light grey flight feathers, however, to be honest, it is hard to achieve. The red and yellow colors are not affected so the shape of the mask stays unaltered and all characteristics of the fischeri must be preserved.
Lutino,this autosomal recessive ino (NSL ino) originated in the lilianae and was transmuted through personatus into the fischeri. In combination with green birds we obtain a completely yellow bird with red eyes. The color of the legs varies from light grey to flesh colored. There is a preference for flesh colored legs. The shape and size of the mask stays unaltered. The back of the head should not be over exaggerated red. One should prefer a yellow diagonal strip at the back of the head. The rump should be as white as possible. In combination with green series birds one refers to them as lutinos, in combination with blue series birds we obtain completely white birds with red eyes and we refer to them as albinos.
Edged, this mutation inherits as an incomplete dominant character and we have to deal with a partial melanin reduction in the plumage. Here are phonotypical differences amongst SF and DF birds, however, sometimes there are also major differences in appearance amongst mutual SF birds. Not all SF (Single Factored) birds are equally marked, the melanin reduction is not the same in all feather areas. Note, that males usually show the best markings.
We observe a bleaching effect at the centre of the wing covert feathers in the best marked specimens. Because the edge of these feathers keep their normal green colour, we obtain the edged effect. The centre of the feather becomes very light green to almost yellow, a kind of pearled effect. The flight feathers and the color of the legs and toes are practically unaltered. The rest of the body displays an equal bleaching, however, sometimes the pearled markings can be seen at the breast feathers. The shape and color of the mask stays unaltered.
A double factored edged, this type is easily recognized. Green birds show a “dirty” yellow colour with light grey flight feathers and also a clear “mouldy” color at the bend of the wings and at the top of the wing coverts. The mask has often the tendency to become smaller but has to be unaltered with respect to the wild type. The color of the legs and toes stays practically unaltered.
Dominant pied, in these birds we observe the major melanin absence at the body region resulting in green series birds having an almost yellow body color. The reduction at the wing coverts is much lesser and stays restricted to a few feather areas. This type of pied also reduces the red psittacine in the mask. The color of the legs may vary. As far as we know there is no difference in phenotype between SF and DF birds.
Slaty, these birds display a different color which was first described as steel blue. In this mutant the refractive index of the keratin seems to be altered by the mutation. Normally the keratin has a “milky” appearance, however, in this mutation it actually appears to be completely transparent. The result is a slaty colored bird in the blue series.
Misty, established in 2002 in the Netherlands, Misty is an incomplete dominant mutation in which we get a minimal eumelanin reduction. When birds are SF misty they are ‘slightly duller’ in color, but do not really differ much from the wild type. In DF misty green birds the colors tend to look a bit like DD green birds and the feathers seem olive-green in color. However, if we compare them to birds with two dark factors, there are clear differences.
Darkfactor, (transmutated via the Masked Lovebird) a bird from the green series without dark factor is green, a bird from the green series with one dark factor is D green and a bird from the green series with two dark factors is DD green. If we examine the feathers of a bird with two dark factors under a microscope we see that the barbs are thinner because the spongy zone is less deep than for a green bird bird (modified feather structure). As a result more light is absorbed by the black eumelanin grains and less light is reflected and gives the bird a darker color.
Violet, the violet factor inherits incomplete dominant and may be present single factored or double factored, independent whether a bird is a blue-, green-, or pastel series bird. It is obviously most beautiful in cobalt birds (birds from the blue series having one dark factor). Therefore only cobalt birds with one or two violet factors are in demand for shows. These birds are simply defined as violets. A sky blue bird with one violet factor (SF) looks very much like a common cobalt. A sky blue bird with two (DF) violet factors looks like a cobalt with one violet factor. In mauve birds (blue birds with two dark factors) we cannot see the violet factor and therefore we must testmate with mauve birds carrying violet. The best way to do so is to mate with a sky blue. All offspring will be cobalts. If the mauve bird was a SF violet, about half the offspring could be SF violet cobalt. If the mauve was a DF violet than all offspring will be SF violet cobalts. The violet bird must have all properties of a blue bird, except that the blue feather areas have to be violet colored.