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Lovebird Courtship and Mating: What We Learned

Introduction

Sometimes, lovebirds don't end up as mates even though they are bound to be "in love" some time or other. I am lucky as my birds ended up as mates, even when there wasn't any scope of friendship between them.

In this article we will address the following major topics (Based on my personal experience) :

  • Courtship in Lovebirds
  • Mating Ritual
  • What do Lovebird Mates do?
  • Jealousy in Pets
  • What Happens when you Bring a New Bird (Mate) Home?
  • Lovebird Personalities (Fun Facts about my Pets)

Meet Mumu (male: on the right) and Lulu (female: on the left)

Picture showing a peach faced male lovebird Mumu with his mate Lulu, who is a white-faced violet roseicollis peach faced female lovebird.
Picture showing a peach faced male lovebird Mumu with his mate Lulu, who is a white-faced violet roseicollis peach faced female lovebird. | Source

Courtship in Lovebirds

How my pets ended up as mates will be explained later. Let's see what courtship and mating are, first. After we came back from India, we noticed that Mulu (their ship name) were closer than before. They weren't enemies anymore. They were friends, infact we felt they were going to become more than friends. Here are the tell-tale signs of courtship/attracting a mate:

  • Regurgitation

This is the first sign of courtship in lovebirds. The male tries to attract/woo the female by regurgitating (bringing swallowed food up again to the mouth) and feeding her. This begins when the male bobs his head up and down to bring back food from his crop.

Mumu fed Lulu many times to win her trust and attraction. She denied eating from his mouth at the beginning, but approved and asked to be fed later on. This feeding continues rigorously when the female gets pregnant, lays eggs and also when their chicks are born.



Tip: When the male feeds the female rigorously, make sure to provide healthy nutritious foods like corn, whole wheat bread, egg white and yolk (once a month in small amounts); and egg shell bits as calcium supplements, fresh/dried spinach leaves (according to your bird's taste) and lots of fresh water.

Mumu Feeding Lulu by Regurgitation

Male lovebird named Mumu feeding female lovebird names Lulu by regurgitation. This is the first sign of courtship.
Male lovebird named Mumu feeding female lovebird names Lulu by regurgitation. This is the first sign of courtship. | Source

Regurgitation is the First Step of Courtship in Lovebirds

  • Closeness

    When your birds remain close together and you feel like they are stuck together like glue (well it just puts together what I want to say), it means they are soon to be mates.

The Obvious Proximity Between Lovebirds (Onto Becoming Mates)

Picture depicting the closeness of two lovebird mates. The male named Mumu is building proximity with his mate Lulu.
Picture depicting the closeness of two lovebird mates. The male named Mumu is building proximity with his mate Lulu. | Source
  • Preening Each Other

Lovebirds preen (clean their feathers) each other all the time. This means they will become mates soon. They look so sweet while doing this. It is the best sight to watch (according to me).

Mumu initiated preening Lulu. At first, she didn't respond back by preening him. He urged her to preen him by pressing his head in her stomach. It took a while and lot of effort from him to win her over. Their love is so strong now. Roles are reversed, she preens him most of the time now! It's so endearing to watch this behavior.

Mulu Preening Each Other

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Picture showing male lovebird Mumu preening Lulu, the female lovebird.Adorable picture showing female lovebird Lulu preening the male Mumu.Mumu has this cute way of protesting when Lulu/anyone of us preen/stroke his cheeks. He makes small noises as if he is protesting, but loves to be preened very much.
Picture showing male lovebird Mumu preening Lulu, the female lovebird.
Picture showing male lovebird Mumu preening Lulu, the female lovebird. | Source
Adorable picture showing female lovebird Lulu preening the male Mumu.
Adorable picture showing female lovebird Lulu preening the male Mumu. | Source
Mumu has this cute way of protesting when Lulu/anyone of us preen/stroke his cheeks. He makes small noises as if he is protesting, but loves to be preened very much.
Mumu has this cute way of protesting when Lulu/anyone of us preen/stroke his cheeks. He makes small noises as if he is protesting, but loves to be preened very much. | Source
  • Nesting Behavior

    When you see your female lovebird shredding paper into long strips with her beak and putting them in her back, she is displaying nesting behavior. It means she is ready for mating and is practicing nest making! However, this activity can be part of her entertainment too.

Tip: You aren't sure about the gender of your lovebird, but don't want to do a DNA test. How to know it's gender then? When your bird displays the nesting behavior mentioned above, you can be sure it's a female. This is because even though males try to imitate this, they remain unsuccessful. (My male bird can just tear bits, he can't make strips!) However, there can be exceptions.

Nesting Behavior Exhibited!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Picture showing female lovebird (right) depicting nesting behavior (shredding strips and putting them in her tail). The male (her mate) is imitating her unsuccessfully. Mumu trying to copy Lulu by putting the paper bit in his tail.
Picture showing female lovebird (right) depicting nesting behavior (shredding strips and putting them in her tail). The male (her mate) is imitating her unsuccessfully.
Picture showing female lovebird (right) depicting nesting behavior (shredding strips and putting them in her tail). The male (her mate) is imitating her unsuccessfully. | Source
Mumu trying to copy Lulu by putting the paper bit in his tail.
Mumu trying to copy Lulu by putting the paper bit in his tail. | Source

Mating Ritual

The male lovebird makes sounds like "click", "click" with his beak and moves around the female. He puts his foot on her wings and grabs them for climbing on her back. The female opens her wings to balance his weight. Then, mating follows. This process is repeated several times a day. Eggs are laid within 5-7 days post mating, with each being laid in a gap of 1-2 days (there can be exceptions/delays).

Lovebirds Making Love!

What do Lovebird Mates do?

So your lovebirds are now mates. What do they do together? Read on and find out...

  • Eating Together

When your birds eat together, it means they are acknowledging each other's presence and are spending their time together.

Yum! Seeds!

Two lovebird mates eating seeds together from a money plant pot.
Two lovebird mates eating seeds together from a money plant pot. | Source
  • Playing Together

    Mulu play together a lot. I have a bag of chewy toys for them, with trinkets and beads. They also love shredding paper. By copying Lulu, Mumu has learnt how to put a paper bit in his tail! (He is unsuccessful most of the time.) Yeah, a great accomplishment! He tries this when given dried palm leaves too.

Toys and Paper Strips

Lovebird mates playing together.
Lovebird mates playing together. | Source

I Can Do that Too!

  • Bathing Together

This doesn't happen most of the time, but sometimes Mulu bath together. When Mumu begins bathing, Lulu follows him and starts bathing too. They look so cute while doing this.

Let's Get Clean

It's so Cold, Let's Dry Ourselves

Lovebirds drying themselves by preening after taking a bath.
Lovebirds drying themselves by preening after taking a bath. | Source

Mulu Preening each Other After Bathing

Reason for Buying the New Bird Lulu

We planned to go to India for a small vacation. We were very worried about Mumu. So, to give him company, we bought Lulu. We were lucky, as it is very hard to get single lovebirds. Thanks to Mr. Jafar; a man who previously worked in a pet shop, as he decided to keep Mumu and Lulu in his house for 3 weeks. Both were kept in safe hands and their bonding grew considerably. Well, coming back to the beginning, we hoped they would bond with each other, as soon as they would be together for the first time. But we were wrong...

Caution ⚠

Never put a new bird in the same cage as your pet bird. It could lead to fighting, which could cause injuries. Keep them in separate cages. There must always be supervision when they are let out of their cages.

Jealousy in Pets

Mumu was shocked, well not just shocked, jealous too. I had never been bitten my him before, until Lulu came. He hated the fact that she was getting our attention. But, we never gave her more attention than him, as we knew he was jealous. We kept both of them in separate cages, which were placed side by side. Doing this ensured two things; they couldn't fight and they could watch each other, which would probably help in making them friends.





Pet birds can get jealous too!

A pet bird does not understand why another bird has entered the house, he/she only knows that someone else is getting your attention. He/She might even bite you out of jealousy. Be extra sensitive to his/her strong feelings.

How?

Give more attention to your first pet. Do not ignore him/her by giving all your attention and love to the new bird. Always talk to your pet bird calmly. Try to reassure him/her by giving a head scratch, a treat or a new toy. This would help in reducing the jealousy.

Let's Take the Jealousy Poll!

Have you ever seen your pet being jealous?

  • Yes, I felt terrible.
  • Nope.
  • I never had a pet.
See results without voting

What Happens When you Bring a New Bird (Mate) Home?

When Mulu were together, the following things happened:

  • He would always approach her, would scream at her, or try to intimidate her. But she never got scared by him. She stayed her cool and calm self.

Mumu intimidating Lulu

  • He tried to move her away when she sat on our knees or shoulders. But she would never budge. Way to go, girl!
  • They always fought over the same piece of toy. Though there were many toys to play with, they would try to snatch each other's toys. Even if there would be two of the same kind! I had to play peacemaker so many times. Phew!

Mulu Fighting Over Sequins

  • Both of them just tried to scare each other by trying to fight. They tried to hit each other but didn't; instead it would appear as if they are trying to make each other back off with their beaks.

Playing and Fighting too! (Ignore the Mess, we were Packing that Time...)

Some Fun Facts About my Pets!

Lovebirds are of different personalities, just like humans! Each bird is unique and special in his/her own way. Mumu and Lulu are complete opposites, yet they are mates. I have mentioned some fun facts about my pets below. Enjoy reading!

The "Rainbow Sorbet" Mumu

Picture showing an adorable medium green heavy pied peach-faced lovebird, named Mumu. The color is a mutation. The body is yellow with tinges of green, wings a mix of yellow with green spots, while the tail is a bright blue.
Picture showing an adorable medium green heavy pied peach-faced lovebird, named Mumu. The color is a mutation. The body is yellow with tinges of green, wings a mix of yellow with green spots, while the tail is a bright blue. | Source

Bio data of Mumu

  1. Name: Mumu (in the memory of my granny who called my sister by this pet name.)
  2. Sex: Male
  3. Date of Birth: Three weeks old baby when bought on 12 March 2016.
  4. Species: Medium green heavy-pied peach faced lovebird.
  5. Personality: Package of curiosity, aggression and a happy-go-lucky nature rolled in one.
  6. Unique abilities: Can clearly speak "Step up" and "Come here". Understands emotions and screams angrily (if we scold him).
  7. Routine: Follow us around the house and pokes his "nose" in all our matters.
  8. Nicknames: "Chaplu" (meaning nosy in our native language), "Kalejo" (meaning the apple of an eye in our native language) and Softy Pie.
  9. Likes: Playing outside all day, getting lots of attention, head scratches, kisses and listening to Blank Space (Thank you Taylor Swift, my bird gets sleepy, while listening to your song! It acts like a lullaby for him), sung by my sister and me.
  10. Dislikes: Going back inside the cage and when we touch his stuff (seeds,toys and his cage.)
  11. Most loved activity: Chewing toys and chains, banana tips, my mobile's cover (sadly, but I don't allow him) and carpet threads.
  12. Cause of sadness: When we are away, he needs us around him, all the time. Also, he needs his mate Lulu too.

Mumu Sleeping on my hand after Listening to Blank Space (Sung by me!)

Cute peach faced lovebird named Mumu sleeping on my hand.
Cute peach faced lovebird named Mumu sleeping on my hand. | Source

The "Cotton Candy" Lulu

Picture showing an adorable white-faced voilet roseicollis peach faced lovebird, named Lulu. The mutation is sex-linked. The face and chest are white, while the rest of the body is deep violet. The wings are violet with streaks of grey color.
Picture showing an adorable white-faced voilet roseicollis peach faced lovebird, named Lulu. The mutation is sex-linked. The face and chest are white, while the rest of the body is deep violet. The wings are violet with streaks of grey color. | Source

Bio data of Lulu

  1. Name: Lulu (meaning pearl in Arabic; she is truly the gem personified.)
  2. Sex: Female
  3. Date of Birth: Six months old (according to pet shop owner) on 18 July 2016.
  4. Species: White-Faced violet roseicollis peach faced lovebird.
  5. Personality: Quiet, reserved and as cool as a cucumber. She doesn't take any matter to heart and is very calm and composed.
  6. Unique abilities: Puts her whole face inside the water bowl sprinkling droplets upon herself and then pushes it against the cage bars, to let water fall on her body. She can untie the nylon thread which locks the cage door and escape away. She can also open the closed cage door and get inside easily. Pretty smart for a bird, I must say. She never bites, gets angry or aggressive.
  7. Routine: Peculiar habit of eating seeds inside her water bowl. Post this, she tries to remove the "mess" with her tongue, drinks the "seedy water" and sprinkles it upon herself. Seeing this I sometimes say, "Hey, I just changed the water now!"
  8. Nicknames: Snow White, Fur ball and Softy Pie.
  9. Likes: Sitting and eating from the money plant pot (the plants withered, so we filled the pots with seeds), running her beak through our hair (sometimes) and exploring different designs (of fabrics, carpet and toys.)
  10. Dislikes: When Mumu is away from her sight and when we try to get too close to her (she needs her personal space too.)
  11. Most loved activity: Shredding any type of paper and loves tearing cardboard too.
  12. Cause of sadness: When Mumu stays away from her. So, she calls him loudly, flapping her wings and he appears before her the next second.

Lulu Loves to Eat from her "Seed Pot"!

Female lovebird named Lulu eating seeds from money plant pot. She loves to sprawl and sleep here too!
Female lovebird named Lulu eating seeds from money plant pot. She loves to sprawl and sleep here too! | Source

Conclusion

I would like to end by saying that lovebirds can be friends or mates or enemies too. It isn't necessary that any two lovebirds can end up as mates. I am glad mine did.

Currently, Lulu has laid 9 eggs (squeals) and sits on them. I am waiting to see the new born chicks and speculating what their color might turn out to be. When the chicks will be born, I would surely make another hub about egg laying in lovebirds. Till then, Happy Mating!

© 2016 Sakina Nasir

30 comments

Maryam 4 weeks ago

Such a beautiful article! They r adorable


SakinaNasir53 profile image

SakinaNasir53 4 weeks ago from Kuwait Author

Thank you so much sister! ☺


Samitha 4 weeks ago

They are soo Cute ❤

Amazing article ❤❤❤

Loved it


SakinaNasir53 profile image

SakinaNasir53 4 weeks ago from Kuwait Author

Thank you so much Samitha! ☺


Jodah profile image

Jodah 4 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

Cute birds.


SakinaNasir53 profile image

SakinaNasir53 4 weeks ago from Kuwait Author

Thank you so much Jodah! ☺


Hussain 4 weeks ago

They are so adorable! Amazing article!


SakinaNasir53 profile image

SakinaNasir53 4 weeks ago from Kuwait Author

Thank you so much Hussain! ☺


Yanisha 4 weeks ago

Masha Allah :* mumu and lulu are so adorable.... and it looks like some "hatred turned love" story :P


SakinaNasir53 profile image

SakinaNasir53 4 weeks ago from Kuwait Author

Thank you so much for commenting Yanisha! ☺


Petlawad 4 weeks ago

Beautiful article. Beautiful birds.


SakinaNasir53 profile image

SakinaNasir53 4 weeks ago from Kuwait Author

They are indeed! Alhamdolillah. Thank you for commenting Petlawad. ☺


Ashish Dadgaa profile image

Ashish Dadgaa 3 weeks ago from India

@Sakina,

Awwwww that's wonderful love story of Mumu and Lulu :)

Very nicely written hub. I liked the way you have waved the love story of Mumu and Lulu.

Very good utilization of photos and videos.

Bless You.

Regards,

Ashish


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SakinaNasir53 3 weeks ago from Kuwait Author

Thank you so much my friend Ashish! ☺ Your compliments always leave a smile on my face. God bless you too dear.


Ashish Dadgaa profile image

Ashish Dadgaa 3 weeks ago from India

@Sakina,

Awwwwww I am glad to hear that my words are spreading smile on someone's face :)

Keep Smiling Sakina :)


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 2 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

Very well done article and very complete with great examples of your personal experience. It was enjoyable reading and the pictures of your birds are beautiful.

I had a finch that laid eggs one time but the eggs never hatched, and after a couple of weeks she actually started eating them. That was an interesting experience. I guess she knew that they were not going to hatch after two weeks.


SakinaNasir53 profile image

SakinaNasir53 2 weeks ago from Kuwait Author

Thank you so much for your valuable feedback Glenn! ☺

Oh! That's new...I never heard that before. I guess she knew her eggs wouldn't hatch. Did she break them?

Birds are very picky. They reject their eggs (even with babies), when humans cause disturbance. They need their time and privacy. Was she alone or did she have a mate?


hatim 2 weeks ago

such an awsm artcle and interestng too. they are really cute and adorabl.


Ashish Dadgaa profile image

Ashish Dadgaa 2 weeks ago from India

@Sakina

Congratulations my dear friend for being chosen for PetHelful :)

Happy Hubbing :)

Bless you :)


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 2 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

Sakina, You gave me something to think about, in your prior comment to me, that I never considered. I remember that my sister thought I placed fake eggs in the nest in her cage. So maybe it's possible that my sister touched the eggs to check them.

As you explained, that could be a reason why my Finch destroyed them. I'll have to ask my sister if she touched them, but she probably won't remember since this was almost 50 years ago.

To answer your other question: My Finch started poking holes in the eggs. Then she proceeded to eat the yolk. I really don't remember how long it's been, but could've been three weeks. I think the eggs would normally hatch in 21 days. That's why I was thinking, at the time, that she knew they wouldn't hatch after the normal incubation period had elapsed.


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SakinaNasir53 2 weeks ago from Kuwait Author

@Hatim Thank you so much for your appreciation! ☺

@Ashish Thank you so much, I am very happy about it! God bless you too! ☺

@Glenn Oh! If your sister had touched them, that could be the reason your finch destroyed her eggs. If she didn't, may be she rejected them. Did you always see her again and again at that time? It's best to give egg-laying females privacy and keep them covered; placing them in a dark and quiet room. They don't like anyone "poking around" their stuff.


SakinaNasir53 profile image

SakinaNasir53 2 weeks ago from Kuwait Author

@Glenn

Do you have any pet birds currently? ☺


Hamza 2 weeks ago

Very nice article.. Thnk u for sharing ur experience.. Really loved it both ur article n pets.


SakinaNasir53 profile image

SakinaNasir53 2 weeks ago from Kuwait Author

Thank you so much Hamza! ☺ I am glad you loved it!


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 2 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

Sakina, That would explain it too. Even if my sister didn't touch them, I do recall that we never covered the cage, except at night as we usually did. But not all day while the eggs were there. This incident was back in the early 1960s. When I next talk to my sister I'll ask her if she remembers. At this time I don't have any birds or any pets any more. I had many different animals as pets when I was growing up. I even bread tropical fish.


SakinaNasir53 profile image

SakinaNasir53 2 weeks ago from Kuwait Author

Oh Sure! Thanks for sharing your experience with me Glenn. ☺


DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 2 weeks ago from The Beach of Brazil

I read through this again and really enjoyed it. I am not sure if I can find a mate for my lovebird but now I am tempted to go out and find a girlfriend for my Pionus.


SakinaNasir53 profile image

SakinaNasir53 2 weeks ago from Kuwait Author

Aww! Thank you so much for the kind comment DrMark. ☺ Yeah, sure do!


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 9 days ago from High desert of Nevada.

Sakina, this is a wonderful and very informative article. I so enjoyed reading it. Thank you for sharing Mumu and Lulu. They are so adorable.


SakinaNasir53 profile image

SakinaNasir53 9 days ago from Kuwait Author

Thank you so much Phyllis! I am glad that you enjoyed reading my hub.

Have you had any birds as pets? ☺

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    SakinaNasir53 profile image

    Sakina Nasir (SakinaNasir53)20 Followers
    6 Articles

    Sakina loves birds. She had 2 IRN parrots and 2 budgies. Now she has 2 lovebirds. Of which one is a peachfaced male hand-raised by her.



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