Fisher's Lovebird

Driving down a dusty road in Serengeti during the dry season, surrounded by golden grass, leafless trees, and the sky a brown haze as the Sahel desert in Sudan burns to the north; a visitor is shocked by a rapid infusion of color. A flock of brightly colored green and yellow Fisher's Lovebirds swirls by and disappears into the dry grass.

Fisher's Lovebird, like all lovebirds, is actually a small parrot. This bright and gregarious bird occurs naturally only in and slightly to the west of Serengeti. It nests in hollow trees or termite mounds and feeds mostly on seeds.

This Lovebird has an interesting history. Beginning in the early 1920's Fisher's Lovebird was exported from Tanzania as a house-bird to Europe and America. Many were also exported to Kenya and parts of Tanzania, many of which have escaped and formed breeding colonies in the wild. These wild (or feral) lovebirds survive well in other parts of East Africa and have interbred with the wild Yellow-Collared Lovebirds (Agapornis personatus) to form a hybrid species. There is some concern in some parts of Kenya that Fisher's Lovebird and its hybrid may be displacing endemic species from a limited number of tree-hole nesting spots.

Today, the export of Fisher's Lovebirds is controlled from Tanzania. Their population, while small in size and number, appears stable in Serengeti. They can be seen most often in the Serengeti's Western Corridor, and around water holes in central Serengeti. There is a large nesting population in and around Seronera.

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