The Black-cheeked lovebird is one of the 4 species from the white eye-ring group and was discovered
by Dr.A.H.B.Kirkmaí in 1904 The first specimens reached Europe some three years later.
The existing ranges of the Black-cheeked are small areas of Zambia, Namibia, and parts of Zimbabwe It has
the smallest range of all the nine species with the exception to the Black- collared which is the least known of the genus.
Surveys of the wild population of Black-cheeked indicate that it is Africa's most endangered parrot the initial decline
of this species is believed to have taken place in the 1920 / 1930's by heavy trapping for the bird trade.
Habitat alteration, suitable water holes, destruction of mopane woodlands, resumption of illegal trapping and the additional
threat being the irresponsible introduction from other area's of the Nyasa Lovebird limit the recovery of this species in
the wild, which are known to hybridise freely with the Black-cheeked. The Black-cheeked is basically the same size as the
Nyasa and apart from the colour of its head and upper breast it is almost identical as other features to the Nyasa lovebirds.
The former are reasonably hardy in captivity but can be badly affected by conditions of extreme wet and cold.
The recovery of this species in the wild is limited by habitat is the most desirable and feasible option. The maintenance
of a captive purebred population of this species is of the utmost importance as a safeguard against a loss of genetic variability
or even extinction. It is important however to emphasize that the establishment of a captive population in no way diminished
the urgency of ensuring the survival of this species is the wild.
The founder stock for a captive breeding programme must be selected with the greatest care and detailed records kept of
source, age, ring numbers, etc. Contacts with other breeders should be maintained and also contact with the Rare Species Officers
of the Lovebird Society around the world,also the efficient use of the Internet could be of considerable assistance is maintaining
captive bred populations.
Black-cheeked lovebirds have been crossbred in captivity indiscriminately with other species of the AGAPORNIS genus resulting
in quite a large number of fertile hybrids. These hybrids should be avoided at all cost or even culled to maintain the true
The full detailed description of the Black-cheeked lovebird is available is
many aviculturists textbooks however the following points may help with the visual sexing of this species. Generally hens
have a flatter broader skull a more substantial beak and a wider abdomen and are more squat but slightly larger in appearance
than the cocks. The colouration of the hen is similar to that of the cock except the plumage and the cheeks, which are often
less black and browner in colour and a little less glossy. The forehead is less reddish-brown the neck is rather more green
than olive and the orange-red to yellow upper breast area tends to be smaller and paler than in the cock. This lovebird is
moderately noisy but is generally more peaceable than other of the genus although will occasionally quarrel if to confined.
Its diet consists of a seed mix of various millets, canary, some Niger, hemp and a small amount of sunflower. They also like
apple, cheese, pear and small amount of orange, chickweed, brown bread and seeding grasses.
Breeding successes vary due to the small captive population available to aviculturists. This can result is loss of genetic
diversity in the captive population, which could account for reduced fertility or fitness low hatchability of fertile eggs
poor survival of young and increased susceptibility of disease. It is hoped that this article will encourage the true aviculturists/conservationists
within our ranks to maintain a pure captive bred population of this species.