Madagascar Love Bird


western purple-faced langur / monkey
western purple-faced langur / monkey

The only Love Bird species that did not originate on the African continent is the Madagascar Love Bird. Maddies are named after the island of Madagascar, which is located off the southeast coast of Africa.

Maddies are the tiniest Love Bird species, measuring about 30-35 grams on average. They are tiny and anxious, and resemble finches more than hookbills in certain aspects. Their beaks are tiny in comparison to their body size, and they prefer finch and canary seed over the sunflower/safflower mixtures that most other Love Birds like.

Madagascars are excellent flyers, and their wings seem bigger in comparison to their bodies when open than those of the Peachfaced. Maddies can accelerate rapidly and easily and spin neatly, however they are not as agile in the air as Peachies. I’ve never seen a Madagascar Love Bird linger in one spot as the Peachfaced does.

Maddies are one of the few sexually dimorphic Love Bird species. Green and black hens have a dark green back and wings, a brilliant green rump, and a lighter green breast. The leading edge of the flights is dark green, while the following edge is black. Males are similarly colored, with the exception of a faint light grey on their whole head and upper breast. As a result, maddies are frequently referred to as “grey-headed Love Birds.”

Only a few breeders have successfully reproduced more than one or two generations of Maddies in captivity. This, along with the fact that even hand-fed birds are too timid and skittish to be acceptable pets, are compelling arguments for any captive Madagascars to be allowed to breed rather than retained as pets. Though the future of this species in captivity seems bright, the breeding successes and failures over the next several years may very well determine their destiny for future generations of aviculturists.

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