Black Cheek Lovebirds
Wild Type Coloration (above)
Found only in a small area of southern Zaire, this species is facing an uncertain future due to their very small range and loss of habitat. Because capture and export of wild birds has been outlawed for decades, all Black-Cheeks in captivity are largely descended from birds captured in the 1920s. Because they are difficult to breed they are largely unknown in North American aviculture; breeding stock must usually be imported from Europe. Being non-sexually dimorphic, the sexes are similar in color, the back is dark green, the under parts greenish yellow. The forehead and crown are reddish brown, merging into black on the checks. There is a band of orange on the upper breast and the nape. The Black Cheeks are often confused with Masked (sometimes called Black-Masked) lovebirds, even by breeders. This has unfortunately led to a number of hybrids. With breeders only havening access to limited pure genetic stock and continued loss of habitat in the wild, this beautiful lovebird could be in trouble.