Love is in the air at the UK's Drusillas Park after four baby Black-cheeked Lovebirds hatched on Valentines Day! The birds are so named due to the obvious devotion between the male and female pairs. They mate for life and preen each other’s feathers -- a labor of love.
In an effort to egg on the romance, Head Keeper Mark Kenward has been playing Cupid over the last 18 months, monitoring the birds’ behavior and making changes to their diet and husbandry. During this time the zoo also enlisted the help of students from St Bede’s School to create bespoke boxes for the birds to nest-le up in. Their efforts finally paid off when zoo keepers made the happy discovery of four tiny tweets at the end of January.
Mr Kenward said: “We routinely check the nest boxes every Monday and were over the moon to see the chicks within. All of the babies are doing well and we hope they will be the first of many. It’s a real feather in our cap to have bred these beautiful and rare birds, and to receive our special delivery for Valentine’s Day seems a very fitting tribute to lovebirds everywhere.”
These colourful birds are native to Zambia and are Africa’s most endangered parrot.
Learn more about Lovebird breeding after the jump:
Although this species can breed all year, black-cheeked lovebirds generally favor the warmer months. Females typically lay four or five eggs, which hatch after approximately 25 days and fledge after six weeks. A new flock of lovebirds were introduced to the award-winning attraction in 2010, after being re-homed from Bristol Zoo and are part of the European breeding program.