Red-headed Lovebird Agapornis pullaria

This species is found in equatorial Africa, ranging from Sierra Leone to Lake Albert in Uganda. In the west of it's range it extends down as far as northern Angola.Because of there nervous and shy character it is hard to breed this lovebird. Therefore it makes the bird only suitable for the more experienced breeder.

Description and sexing: 

Length of male 14 cm average, female is usually the same size. Average weight 43 g, female usually the same. The male has a bright green body, verging into yellowish on the under parts. The forehead and face are bright orange-red and there are black flight feathers. The rump is blue and there are small amounts of red, yellow and black in the tail feathers. The beak is red , the feet and legs are gray and the eyes are brown. The female is similar in color but paler.

Behavior and keeping:

Red-headed Lovebirds are uncommon in aviculture and are difficult to keep. Only few Red-headed Lovebirds exist in captivity. Only a handful of breeders have had success with this species. The key to breeding these lovebirds appears to be in keeping pairs singly.

Red-headed Lovebirds prefer finch and canary seed over the sunflower/safflower mixes that most other lovebirds eat.


Breeding successes are rare, mostly because this nervous species easily succumbs to stress in addition to the difficulty of satisfying their specific nesting habits. It makes its nest in a termites nest usually in a tree or sometimes on the ground. To make a nest the female digs a tunnel up to a length of 30 cm in the termites nest in a colony with other lovebirds. it is difficult to breed in captivity because it has to burrow to make its nest and the nest chamber needs to be heated to about 27C; however, they can be induced to burrow into cork to build a nest.

They will breed 1 clutch, with an average of four to 4 eggs. Incubation last 21 days and all young hatches within a 48-hour period. The band size is 4 mm.


Sex-linked mutations:


Recessive mutations:

Lutino, in 1960 a Lutino male (imported) bird was seen in Portugal, the owner successfully bred with bird but the string must have died as today there are no Lutino’s reported today.

Dominant mutations: