Last Updated on: 27th June 2023, 12:34 pm
Lovebirds are friendly, sociable parrots that thrive in the company of same-species birds. Unsurprisingly, playing and engaging with unpaired pet lovebirds is essential to their health and happiness.
Bored, isolated parrots develop mental health and psychological problems. A lack of attention leaves lovebirds vulnerable to boredom, loneliness, depression, stress, destructive behaviors, and stereotypies.
A single lovebird needs 2-4 hours of daily human interaction. This can include allowing the bird to fly and explore outside its cage, playing games together, watching TV, and teaching it tricks.
If you’re concerned that a pet lovebird will be unhappy when you’re not around, getting a second bird will keep it occupied. A pair of bonded lovebirds will meet each other’s social needs.
Do Lovebirds Need a Lot of Attention?
One aspect of keeping lovebirds (Agapornis) that may seem overwhelming is how much attention they need. Lovebirds are social parrots, thriving on interaction with other birds.
The ideal companion for a lovebird is a second lovebird because their deep devotion to each other is how they got their name. Bonded lovebirds spend their time preening, feeding, and playing together.
Getting a second lovebird will fulfill the existing bird’s social requirements. A pair of lovebirds will keep each other occupied during the day while you’re at work or otherwise engaged.
You can still play, pet, and talk to lovebirds as much as you like. However, they won’t need as much attention to be happy and contented, provided they have each other’s companionship.
A lovebird without a mate can become sad and depressed, causing mental health problems. You must spend sufficient time together if you only have one lovebird.
Do Lovebirds Have to Be in Pairs?
Lovebirds are happiest when part of a bonded pair. They’re social birds that interact with members of their species, calling to each other to communicate and check on each other’s welfare.
When a lovebird’s bonded mate dies, it’ll pine for its mate and show signs of deep sadness.
All lovebird species live in small flocks, which range in number. According to the University of Michigan, Fischer’s lovebirds live in flocks of 10-20 individual birds.
You can keep a lovebird alone but must devote time and attention to its needs. Lonely lovebirds can develop stereotypies, like feather-destructive behavior, pacing, and head bobbing.
Do Lovebirds Bond with Their Owners?
Lovebirds can form strong bonds with their owners, like many other parrots. However, a lovebird’s bond with a human will never be the same as with another lovebird.
Bonded lovebirds can understand each other’s movements, mannerisms, and vocalizations, so they can communicate in a way that a human and a parrot can’t.
While lovebirds enjoy human companionship, especially when hand-reared, they’ll always prefer the company of same-species birds.
If you have a good relationship with a lovebird, getting a second bird means it’ll show less interest in you. This is something you must take into consideration.
How To Entertain Lovebirds
There are various ways to interact with a lovebird, including the following:
- Talking together.
- Singing songs.
- Watching TV.
- Things to shred.
- Foraging opportunities.
- Climbing apparatus.
- Puzzle feeders.
- Shoulder perching.
- Chew toys.
If you’re giving a lovebird attention, it’ll enjoy and benefit from that interaction.
Do Lovebirds Like To Be Handled?
Most lovebirds enjoy moving around on your shoulder while you walk around the house. The answer to “Do lovebirds like to be held?” depends on how tame the lovebird is and if it trusts you.
The more time you spend interacting and socializing with a lovebird, the tamer it’ll grow. If a lovebird seems reluctant to perch on you initially, don’t force it to do so.
A good way to earn a lovebird’s trust is by feeding it from your hand. Place some treats onto your palm and flatten the surface. The lovebird will perch on your wrist while eating.
Once a lovebird is used to perching on your wrist, you can train it to hop from one hand to another. Slowly increase the distance between your hands until it flies from one to the other.
Do Lovebirds Like to Be Petted?
Petting is akin to lovebirds preening each other with their beaks.
For this reason, don’t pet a lovebird in the wrong places. Otherwise, you may inadvertently stimulate its mating response. You can safely pet a lovebird in the following areas:
Never stroke a lovebird on its back, on or under its wings, or tail region because these areas are only groomed by a lovebird’s mate (sexual partner).
Touching a lovebird in these places may cause it to become roused, resulting in unwanted behaviors. For example, laying unfertilized eggs without the presence of a male.
How Much Time Should You Spend with Your Lovebird?
You should spend at least 2 hours a day interacting one-on-one with a pet lovebird.
Give the lovebird at least 1 hour of one-on-one time after sunrise before you leave for work or school. You should be able to fit in another hour before sunset (when birds sleep).
Ideally, a lovebird should spend 2-4 hours of supervised time outside its cage during the day. Many owners let their birds free-roam in a parrot-proofed room.
How Long Can Lovebirds Be Left Alone?
Work commitments mean we must leave our homes for several hours at a time. If you’ve got a busy lifestyle, you may wonder how long lovebirds can be left alone.
A pair or group of lovebirds won’t mind being left alone while you’re at work or school. That’s because they’ll have each other for company, entertainment, and social interaction.
To stave off boredom, set the lovebirds up in a large cage. There should be room for lovebirds to fly around inside. Provide 4+ perches, climbing apparatus, foraging opportunities, and toys.
A single lovebird shouldn’t regularly be left alone for longer than a few hours because it’ll get lonely without anyone to interact with, which may cause stress and psychological problems.
Lovebirds shouldn’t be left alone for more than 12 hours. If you need to leave lovebirds alone longer, ask a friend to look after them. Ideally, choose someone the lovebirds know and trust.
Do Lovebirds Die When Alone?
Because lovebirds are social birds, being alone for an extended period can be stressful. Prolonged loneliness and stress can trigger depression and anxiety-related problems.
These mental health conditions can cause:
- Lack of curiosity or interest.
- Aggression and biting.
- Decreased appetite and weight loss.
- Stereotypical behaviors (e.g., pacing, toe-tapping, head swinging).
- Self-mutilation. According to Applied Animal Behavior Science, this could include feather picking.
If a lovebird shows the above symptoms, it may be lonely. The rumor that lovebirds can die of loneliness or a broken heart is a myth, but it’s not good for them to be alone for long.
Getting a second lovebird is the best way to resolve a parrot’s loneliness. If this isn’t possible, dedicate time to petting, talking to, and interacting with the lovebird every day for at least 2-4 hours.