Each year when Valentine's Day rolls around, you're bound to see lots of pink and red. From boxes of candy and bouquets of flowers to cuddly teddy bears and handwritten cards, people find all sorts of ways to tell the special people in their lives how much they mean to them.
Kids exchange valentines at school. Couples fill restaurants for romantic dinners together. Everywhere you look, love is in the air! You might even spot a couple of lovebirds holding hands.
You're likely to hear that word — lovebirds — more often on Valentine's Day than any other day of the year. We use it to refer to couples who are in love and who often do mushy, lovey-dovey things. But is there such a thing as a real lovebird?
As a matter of fact, there ARE real lovebirds. Lovebirds consist of nine different species of the genus Agapornis. They're small, brightly-colored parrots native to Africa and Madagascar. They tend to be very and are popular pets.
The nine species of lovebirds include: yellow-collared lovebirds (also known as masked lovebirds), Fischer's lovebirds, Lilian's lovebirds (also known as Nyasa lovebirds), black-cheeked lovebirds, peach- or rosy-faced lovebirds, black-winged lovebirds (also known as Abyssinian lovebirds), red-headed lovebirds (also known as red-faced lovebirds), grey-headed lovebirds (also known as Madagascar lovebirds), and black-collared lovebirds (also known as Swindern's lovebirds).
Lovebirds' name is a reflection of their behavior. They mate for life and typically spend lots of time sitting side-by-side with their mate. When their mate is away, they will pine for it, often exhibiting behavior similar to depression in humans. When they're reunited, they will feed each other to reestablish their close bond.
Lovebirds live together in small flocks. They prefer to dwell in small cavities, so they can often be found in small holes in shrubs, trees, and rocks in the wild. Most lovebirds eat a mixed diet of fruits, seeds, vegetables, and grasses, while a few species also eat insects and figs.
Even though lovebirds are native to Africa and Madagascar, you can find them all over the world, since they're popular pets. You might also find them in the wild in a few places. Feral populations of certain species of lovebirds have been found in Phoenix, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and San Diego, California.