Lovebirds and weavers

Lovebirds, like other parrots, nest in cavities, usually these are holes in trees but may also be under roof eaves or other sites. Lovebirds occasionally take over the nests of weavers, and a review follows below, listed by lovebird species. Five of the 9 species (plus hybrids) have confirmed or unconfirmed reports of using weaver nests.

Rosy-faced Lovebird Agapornis roseicollis

Rosy-faced Lovebirds regularly roost and nest in Sociable Weaver nests. There is a breeding record for them in Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver nests. Apparently White-browed Sparrow-weaver nests have also rarely been used for roosting and breeding, although the sparrow-weavers often chase any birds trying to enter their nests.

Rosy-faced Lovebird in Sociable Weaver nest, from John Fincham (PHOWN)


Feral, hybrid lovebirds Agapornis spp.

In about 2004 some hybrid lovebirds were released from aviaries and they started breeding in the St Francis Bay area. In 2010 Steve Boyes submitted a PHOWN record of these lovebirds living in some Cape Weaver nests. There were at least eight Cape Weaver nests that were occupied by lovebirds. At least two of these nests had chicks inside them. Only one of the nests was occupied by Cape Weavers.

Fast forward to 2021, a little over 10 years later, when a PHOWN record was submitted by Rykie Taljaard. The lovebirds had been seen in the Cape Weaver nests for some time. This site is a few hundred metres from the 2010 site.

Hybrid lovebirds using Cape Weaver nests in Cape St Francis, South Africa

Black-cheeked Lovebird Agapornis nigrigenis

This lovebird is suspected to rarely use Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver nests.

Nyasa (Lilian’s) Lovebird Agapornis lilianae

There is a record of this lovebird roosting in Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver nests; also a breeding record for the same two species is unconfirmed.

Fischer’s Lovebird Agapornis fischeri

In Tanzania this lovebird roosts in Rufous-tailed Weaver nests; there is one published record of breeding. There is aPHOWN record of attempted roosting by this lovebird in Grey-headed Social-weaver nests.

Black-winged Lovebird Agapornis taranta

There is an old (1926) unconfirmed report from Ethiopia of this lovebird using a weaver nest.

Dieter is a qualified Bird Ringer and trainer, registered bird guide, and Weaver expert. Dieter is able to act as a bird guide for day trips in Cape Town, and is able to customise birds tours in South Africa and beyond.