Drusillas Park in Alfriston has got good reason to tweet this Valentine’s Day, following the arrival of four baby black-cheeked lovebirds. These rare colourful birds are native to Zambia and are Africa’s most endangered parrot.
Lovebirds take their name due to the strong bonds formed between male and female pairs. They mate for life and spend lots of time preening each others feathers in a true labour of love.
Although this species can breed all year, black-cheeked lovebirds generally favour the warmer months. Females typically lay four or five eggs, which hatch after approximately 25 days and fledge after six weeks.
A new flock of lovebirds were introduced to the award-winning Sussex attraction in 2010, after being re-homed from Bristol Zoo and are part of the European breeding programme.
In an effort to egg on the romance, Head Keeper Mark Kenward has been playing Cupid over the last 18 months, monitoring the birds’ behaviour and making changes to their diet and husbandry. During this time the zoo also enlisted the help of students from St Bede’s School to create bespoke boxes for the birds to nest-le up in.
Their efforts finally paid off when zoo keepers made the happy discovery of four tiny tweets at the end of January. Mark commented: “We routinely check the nest boxes every Monday and were over the moon to see the chicks within. All of the babies are doing well and we hope they will be the first of many to hatch at the Park this year.”
“It’s a real feather in our cap to have bred these beautiful and rare birds and to receive our special delivery for Valentine’s Day seems a very fitting tribute to lovebirds everywhere.”
Published 7th February 2012
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