Black-winged Lovebird Agapornis Taranta

Another name for this species is the Abyssinian Lovebird. It is found in central and eastern Ethiopia and southern Eritrea, where it inhabits quite high altitudes. Because there unpredictable breeders it is hard to breed this lovebird. Therefore it makes the bird only suitable for the more experienced breeder.

Description and sexing: 

Length of male 17 cm average, female is usually slightly bigger. Average weight 48 g, female usually slightly heavier. The male is mainly green, with a bright red forehead, which extends into a narrow ring around the eyes. The flight feathers are sooty black and there is a black bar on the tail. The beak is red, the legs and feet are gray. The female is green all over, darker on the back lacking the red and black markings of the cock. They are occasionally available on the market, but are one of the most difficult species to breed and this makes the birds only suitable for more experienced breeders.

Behavior and keeping

The Abyssinian or Black-winged Lovebird is reported to have a pleasant disposition. They tend to be more tolerant of other birds - provided plenty of space is available for all. In cramped spaces, they can get aggressive and possibly cause injury. They are less noisy than other lovebird species.

The diet of these birds is not difficult; a standard mixture will do well. Seeds (millet, canary, sunflower. buckwheat, niger, hemp, safflower, peanuts, sweetcorn, linseed, corn, pinenuts, barley), fruits and vegetables (apples, oranges, kiwi fruits, fresh figs, berries, juniper berries, spinach, carrots), green food (dandelion leaves, cabbage leaves, etc.),

Try soaking dry figs and juniper berries over night before feeding to soften them.

Sprouted seeds, softened rusk and egg food should also be offered, particularly during the breeding season (rationed when not breeding).


Abyssinians prefer to breed during the colder season but they are unpredictable breeders. Some pairs are quite prolific while others show no interest in mating for several years. One way to increase success is by allowing them to choose their mates naturally in a flock environment / communal aviary, and then to separate bonded pairs for breeding. Pairs have even been unwilling to breed in communal aviaries and need to be kept singly - at the very least during the breeding season. The band size is 4,5 mm.

Note, more often males are for sale, for some reason they are bred more than the females. Prices are much higher for a female as they are rear.

Tip, Immature birds look like adult females, but male birds have a black underwing. Immature females have green wing feathers that turn brownish-black as they mature.


Sex-linked mutations:

Lutino, in Germany a lutino female was born in 1993. Unfortunately the bird died.

Cinnamon, in 1972 an imported bird was seen and believed to be a Cinnamon but this could also have been an early Fallow mutation (see below) as only male’s offspring appeared with this mutation and this is not expected with a sex-linked mutation. There is no further information about this mutation.

Recessive mutations:

Taranta Pale Fallow  

Pale fallow, this mutation was born in 1999, is very difficult to breed and is very rare in aviaries. The birds are stunning beautiful, complete yellow (ish) with black wings.

Taranta Bronze Fallow

Bronze fallow, not as recognizable as the pale fallow. This bird is greener as the pale fallow but with red eyes and pale wing feathers. Actually, there is even another Fallow type, this version only shows red eyes and a little dilution in the wing. The photo is showing both types of fallow. 

Turquoise, recent reports confirms that an Turquoise mutation exist, however I am not sure if this is truly a Turquoise mutation as only the belly of the bird is more or less blue. Study about this mutation must confirm what mutation it is.

Dominant mutations:

Taranta Olive green

Dark factor, in 1990 a single dark factor bird was born in the Netherlands. A bird with both dark factor in its gene is also know as Olive. Nowadays this is the “most common” mutation in the Black-winged Lovebird specie. The photo is showing a young pair, the male in front is darkgreen and the female is an olivegreen

Taranta Misty

Misty, is an incomplete dominant mutation in which we get a minimal eumelanin reduction. When birds are SF misty they are ‘slightly duller’ in color, but do not really differ much from the wildtype. In DF misty green birds the colors tend to look a bit like DD green birds and the feathers seem olive-green in color. However, if we compare them to birds with two dark factors, there are clear differences.