Yellow-collared Lovebird Agapornis Personata
Also know as Masked Lovebird. Found in Tanzania, but is in the northeast, this species does not overlap the range of the preceding species. This species is fairly often seen in captivity, breeds readily, and a number of color mutations have been developed. Therefore it makes this bird perfect for the inexperienced breeder.
Description and sexing:
Length of male 15 cm average, female is usually slightly bigger. Average weight 40 g, female usually slightly heavier. The sexes are similar in appearance. The head is a dark sooty brown. The wings are a dark green, the underside is lighter. The breast and the nape of the neck are yellowish and the flight feathers are black. The rump is a grayish blue. The beak is red, the legs and feet gray.
A general problem these days is orange suffusion in the yellow collar. Sometimes the orange overlaps the yellow but a few millimeters, sometimes it extends over more than half the breast. In our opinion the main reason for this color fault is that in the past hardly anybody practiced selective breeding. Luckily the tide is turning and some breeders now try to build up strains of homozygous normal personatus again. This is a job requiring much time and patience. Even a perfectly colored pair of light greens does not always and automatically produce good colored offspring, this makes the bird a more challenge to breed quality show birds than the Fischer’s Lovebird.
Behavior and keeping:
These birds are the more aggressive species of the eye-ringed lovebirds and can become territorial during breeding; especially the females. Keeping a watchful eye on the birds can prevent injury or even death during territorial disputes. Because of their aggression, when breeding in colonies, adequate space must be provided to ensure less tension. Placing extra food bowls around the aviary will greatly help maintain the peace.
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).
Yellow-collared or Masked Lovebirds can breed year round but should not be allowed to breed during hot summer months. High heat can kill young chicks and create an uncomfortable environment. The clutch can consist of two to six eggs and incubation lasts 21 days. Masked Lovebirds can breed twice a year; however, it’s highly recommended that the pair be given a season to rest. A female will willingly produce four clutches a year if given the chance. This type of breeding is unethical and will quickly result in an exhausted female that will have a short lifespan. The band size is 4,5 mm.
Blue, the psittacine is completely missing in all feathers. The result is a blue bird with a white chest and white neck band. The rump has a violet color because the psittacine is also lacking in the otherwise mauve rump. Due to the lack of the psittacine in the feathers the head color will be a ‘cold’ black. This mutation never affects the color of the paws, nails and eyes. Blue inherits recessively.
Aqua, the photo is showing a combination between Aqua and pastel, very nice to see and also still very rare in Europe, in the USA they are more common.
Pastel, in pastel we see that only approximately 50% of the black eumelanin stays visible in the barb core. Black becomes grey and green becomes a dirty yellow green. The general body color becomes ‘paler’, i.e. pastel, the flight feathers are light grey and sometimes they can even be white. The ideal is a uniform bleaching of 50% causing very light grey flight feathers, but in reality this is not easy to achieve. The red and yellow colors are not affected The personatus will have a very light grey mask, with the (unaffected) red psittacine present still visible. This is usually described as ‘brownish’. In addition the chest and the neck band must stay a pure yellow because these are not affected. Combinations of pastel and ino result in much paler pastel birds. These PastelIno birds are therefore not suited for exhibitions.
Fallow, this mutation originated in America years ago. In this mutation we see a thinning of the eumelanin preset causing a ‘pastel’ like bird. But if we look closely we see that these birds also have red eyes.
Lutino, this is the most important and most common transmutation found for the personatus. This recessively inherited ino type arose for the lilianae. We get a completely yellow bird with red eyes. The colour of the paws varies from light grey to flesh-coloured. Flesh-coloured paws are preferred. The form of the mask remains unchanged. The mask has a very light pink colour because the remaining red psittacine is visible. The mask must definitely not be too red. The rump is predominantly yellow with an occasional white feather. Combined with birds from the green series the term lutino is used, whereas albino is used for the combination with blue birds. These albinos are completely white with red eyes.
Darkfactor, a bird from the green series without dark factor is green, a bird from the green series with one dark factor is D green and a bird from the green series with two dark factors is DD green. If we examine the feathers of a bird with two dark factors under a microscope we see that the barbs are thinner because the spongy zone is less deep than for a green bird (modified feather structure). As a result more light is absorbed by the black eumelanin grains and less light is reflected and gives the bird a darker color. The photo is showing from left to right, lightgreen, darkgreen, olive and mauve.
Violet, the violet factor originated in the Netherlands and results in a bird with a modified feather structure. In the normal wild type blue light is formed in the spongy zone by interference, for this mutation violet light is formed in the spongy zone by interference due to the modified structure. The violet factor inherits dominantly and can be present in a single or a double form, independent of the series (i.e. blue, green or pastel), but it is clearly the most beautiful in D blue birds (birds from the blue series with one dark factor). Therefore only D blue birds with one violet factor are requested for exhibitions. These are commonly described as violet. A blue bird with one violet factor has the same appearance as a regular D blue bird. A blue bird with two violet factors has the same appearance as a D blue with one violet factor. In DD blue birds we cannot see the violet factor. The violet factor must also exhibit all characteristics of a blue bird, except for the blue feather fields which must be violet. Important is that the white feather fields on the chest and in the neck remain white. Green birds with a violet factor are also possible, these are ideal for breeding but have little value as exhibition birds.
Modification a halfsider, above birds in the photo are just beautiful to see but unfortunately they will not breed. The come in many variations, even male and female halfsiders.. weird.