Agapornis fischeri was discovered by the explorer Dr. Fischer in northern Tanzania around 1877. Small flocks of these birds are found in an area south of Lake Victoria. An inland plateau between 1200 and 1800 metres altitude with deciduous woodland and bush forms their natural habitat. They mainly feed on grass seed and acacia seeds although they also visit the local crops of millet and maize. After the Peach-faced the Fisher’s may be considered number two in the lovebird popularity poll.
Fischer’s lovebirds measure fifteen centimetres. The fore-head is orange-red. From the top of the head down to the back this becomes more suffused with olive-green. The main body colour is green. A bare eye ring is found around the eyes. The bill is coral red, the feet are grey and the claws dark grey to black. This bird’s rump should be a clear violet. Any greyish tinge in this violet rump indicates earlier hybridisation with Masked or Black-cheeked lovebirds. In present day exhibition Fischer’s selection has taken place towards more red on the head, the olive green parts are nearly suppressed completely.
Young birds are a duller version of their parents. They may temporarily show some dark suffusion in the red but that usually disappears after the juvenile moult. Birds over a year old still showing black can be written off as hybrids.
Before starting to breed mutations (or any lovebird at that) it always is a good idea to visit several breeders who specialise in your chosen colour and/or species. You can learn a lot by comparing management, housing, equipment and so on. A visit to only one breeder does not suffice. Try to memorise the standard of excellence of your Society before you buy your first bird. Alternatively bring along an experienced fancier and listen to his advice.
© Dirk van den Abeele