Nor the main species nor it’s two sub-races have been imported alive into Europe. This is for a large part due to their special feeding habits and secondly because they live over the canopy of the African tropical rain forests. They can not be kept alive and are difficult to catch. An almost legendary story about a Father Hutsebout exists. He was one of the few people who managed to keep these birds alive (in Africa) but only when daily fresh wild figs were given. Without those they died in a few days.
Most European museums show skins of these birds.
For the sake of completeness only a description of the three species is given.
Agapornis swindernianus swindernianusor Swinderns Black-collared lovebird.
Sexes alike. Body colour green, lighter green on cheeks and under parts. A narrow black and yellow collar on the nape merges into the green of the back. The rump is brilliant blue. The primaries are blackish, the under wing coverts are green. The tail is green with a red lateral band towards the base, the tip of the tail is green again. The bill is grey-black. The feet are grey and the claws are black. Total length thirteen centimetres.
A. s. zenkeri, the Zenker’s or Cameroon Black-collared lovebird.
The yellow part of the collar is orange in this sub-race. It also is brighter green and slightly larger in size.
A. s. emini or Emins Black-collared lovebird.
As Zenker’s Black-collared lovebird but a less extensive collar. Also possesses a strongly curved bill.
Swinderns lovebird inhabits Liberia, Zenker’s and Emins lovebirds come from the western part and the eastern part of central equatorial Africa.
© Dirk Van den Abeele