Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gilbert Water Ranch: Rosy-faced Lovebirds

First off, when did the change from Peach-faced Lovebird to Rosy-faced Lovebird happen? Anyway, these lovebirds have established themselves pretty solidly in the Phoenix metro area of Arizona.  They've also been seen in Florida, but as far as I know have not established feral populations there, so those sightings may have been recently escaped pets.  We used to get these Lovebirds at our backyard feeders when we lived in Mesa and I could count on their fly-bys on Sunday morning in the church parking lot.  They can be loud and raucous, but they are just so darn pretty.  The Red-winged Blackbirds on the right in the photo above seem to be looking on with jealousy. The Gilbert Water Ranch has been a pretty consistent place to see them.

These lovebirds are often kept in cages as pets, and those that you see in Arizona are feral populations of escaped pets.  They seem to be quite self-sustaining and the Arizona desert is a pretty decent replica of their native African habitat.  I prefer to see them in the wild acting like wild parrots should act, even if they are in a foreign land.
eBird sightings map of Phoenix metro area for Rosy-faced Lovebirds from 2003-present

I was hoping to see if their range or numbers had grown since I lived there, but the data was inconclusive for me because eBird use was growing a lot during that time too.  I also figured that the Rosy-faced Lovebirds would be seen pretty consistently throughout the year, but I was surprised that they are seen and reported far less in the summer than in the cooler parts of the year.  I don't know if that means that the lovebirds are hiding in the shade or if the birders are hiding in the shade during the blazing summers in Phoenix, but probably a little of both.
Rosy-faced Lovebird's native ranch in southwestern Africa - Namib Desert - similar in elevation and climate to Phoenix, Arizona (map from Wikipedia)


  1. Your photos are absolutely incredible! Thank you so much for sharing them with your readers.

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  2. Great shots! Would love to see these birds!

  3. in the last couple of years they have become more and more common bird watchers treats. They come in the classic Green, Blues and incredible yellow. Never one but in groups....