Lovebirds pair for life, which is how they earned their moniker.
When lovebirds reach sexual maturity, usually after 10 months, they seek a mate. If a pair of lovebirds successfully court and mate, most remain together.
This means that lovebirds can become disconsolate when a bonded partner dies. The surviving lovebird will look for its lost mate and likely cry out for them.
While losing a lovebird doesn’t mean the other will also die, you should take the survivor for a veterinary check-up to ensure the cause of death wasn’t contagious.
Also, monitor the remaining lovebird carefully, as it may be reluctant to eat or drink for a while.
Be patient with a grieving lovebird, as it’ll take time for them to recover from the loss. Spend time together and provide more out-of-cage time, petting, and affection.
Eventually, you can provide the surviving lovebird with a new mate. These birds can form a new bond with a different companion once they’ve grieved and recovered from their loss.
Eventually, you can provide the surviving lovebird with a new opposite-sex mate, as they can form a new bond with a different companion once they’ve recovered from their grief.
Do Lovebirds Always Mate for Life?
If you plan to bring lovebirds into your home, it’s advisable to adopt a bonded pair.
While lovebirds occasionally change partners if they consider themselves incompatible, this is rare. Once lovebirds have found a mate, they grow distressed when separated.
What Happens When a Lovebird’s Mate Dies?
If a lovebird loses its bonded mate, the survivor will experience a distinct behavioral change comparable to depression. It’ll likely lose its appetite and search for its mate in and out of the cage.
Bereaved lovebirds can also grow uncharacteristically aggressive and vocal.
After losing a mate, be patient and compassionate toward the surviving lovebird. It won’t understand the intricacies of bereavement, but it’ll know its partner is no longer there.
Keep a close eye on the remaining lovebird, as it’ll likely lose its appetite after losing a mate. Spend more time with the lovebird so it’s not alone for too long, and allow sufficient time to grieve.
Eventually, prepare to introduce a new mate. While lovebirds are monogamous, they can bond with a new mate after losing a partner, which is likely preferable to a lovebird living alone.
If One Lovebird Dies, Does The Other?
It’s untrue that a bonded partner will immediately die from grief when a lovebird dies.
The average lifespan of a lovebird is 15 years, and if one member of a bonded pair has many years left, they can survive and recover from their grief.
The exception to this is if an infectious disease killed the lovebird. If one lovebird contracted psittacosis, parrot fever, or similar health concern, this might have been passed on to the second bird.
Assess the body of the deceased lovebird and check for signs of illness that could have led to its death. For example, Avian Pathology warns that lovebirds can sometimes contract avian pox.
Following the death of a lovebird, take the surviving bird to a vet for a full check-up.
What To Do If A Lovebird Dies
When a lovebird dies, a testing time is ahead for its surviving mate.
While you must take the time to grieve the loss of a beloved pet, you’ll also need to help the surviving lovebird through the difficult weeks ahead.
The lovebird will likely act erratically and uncharacteristically after losing a bonded partner. Expect it to be disorientated and confused for a while and to demand more attention than usual.
The lovebird may become considerably more vocal, screaming for attention. The lovebird may also become uncharacteristically aggressive, biting and pecking during handling.
This is expected because the lovebird is adapting to life without its partner and seeking attention. Show patience and follow these steps to help the surviving lovebird overcome its grief:
1/ Companionship And Affection
a bereaved lovebird will need more love and affection. It’ll feel lost without its companion, and if it has formed a bond with you as an owner, it’ll look to you to fill this emptiness in its life.
Spend as much time together as possible in the immediate aftermath. The longer the lovebird spends alone, the more distressed it’ll be.
Talk to the lovebird regularly, and offer more petting if the lovebird is willing to accept handling. While bereaved lovebirds can be volatile, they also crave companionship and interaction.
2/ Out-of-Cage Time
You may find that the surviving lovebird is reluctant to spend time alone in its cage. This territory will remind it of what’s missing from its life, so it’ll become distressed when caged for long periods.
Ensure your home is birdproof, and let it roam free in your company. You may find it wants to perch on your shoulder or sleep on your hand, so allow this if it brings comfort.
You’ll still need to lock the lovebird in its cage when it gets dark for security.
3/ Provide Distractions
When a lovebird loses its partner, the silence is deafening. Distract the lovebird by leaving the radio or television on whenever you leave the room, and provide more toys for recreation.
As per Behavioral and Neural Biology, lovebirds are stimulated by mirrors in their cage as they believe this is the presence of another bird. However, it can make the situation worse when there’s no reciprocation.
4/ Introduce A Second Lovebird
Wait for the lovebird to show signs of overcoming its grief before taking this step, and even then, don’t lock the two birds together and expect them to bond immediately.
Introduce the two lovebirds from inside their respective cages, allowing them to grow accustomed to each other’s presence. Once the birds start singing to each other, let them free.
While the birds are outside the cage, check for signs of affection and bonding.
Mutual feeding is at the heart of lovebird courtship and mating. A male will attempt to court a female by regurgitating food. If the female is interested in mating, she’ll accept this offer.
This feeding will result in the two lovebirds spending their time together, even if perched side by side. The two birds will also likely preen each other. Once this occurs, the lovebirds are bonded.
If possible, adopt a second bird of a similar age that has also lost its partner. Never break up an existing union or attempt to force a lovebird to bond with a new partner.
It’s heartbreaking when one lovebird dies, but your duty of care to the surviving mate remains. Do all you can to ensure the second bird remains healthy, and eventually introduce it to a new companion.