Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology

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Nest-site characteristics and breeding biology of the Black-cheeked Lovebird Agapornis nigrigenis in Zambia

LS Warburton, MR Perrin


The nest-site characteristics and breeding biology of the Black-cheeked Lovebird Agapornis nigrigenis in their natural habitat and in captivity were investigated as part of a wider study of the ecology of the species. Seventy-eight nests were found. Black-cheeked Lovebirds nested inside naturally formed cavities in live Mopane trees Colophospermum mopane, in localities which were used for roosting during the non-breeding season. Nest-site fidelity was suspected. Most nests were found in a loosely clumped distribution. Nest-site characteristics including cavity dimensions, height from ground, distance to three nearest nest trees, cavity entrance orientation and nest shape are presented. No nesting requirement appeared to be limiting, or to affect the population's reproductive output.
Reproductive data were necessary to elucidate factors affecting reproductive success and to assist with the development of a conservation management plan for this Vulnerable species. Breeding occurred from January to May, coinciding with annual maximum rainfall and the early dry season, when a single clutch was raised by most pairs. Nesting chronology was correlated with mean monthly rainfall and major food source availability. Behavioural data on nest building, location, defence and breeding success are presented. Courtship, copulation, parental care and juvenile behaviours are reported, and clutch size, laying intervals and hatching successes of captive birds are discussed.

Ostrich 2005, 76(3&4): 162–174

AJOL African Journals Online