Agapornis Canus, What You Didn’t Know About These Birds

The Agapornis Canus is the smallest of the exotic bird family with about 14 inches in size and 35 grams in weight. This parrot is originally from Madagascar, the bird is very beautiful because of its brightness and beautiful colors. It acclimates well in captivity and although it gets a little nervous, it can be a good animal or ornamental bird.

Scientific name

The scientific name Agapornis canus, and is one of the species that are part of the parrot family (Psittaciclae). It is also known as Gray-headed Lovebird, Bald-headed Lovebird or Malagasy Lovebird. This ornamental bird was discovered by the scientist Johann Friedrich Gmelin in 1788 on the island of Madagascar. For this reason, it is also known as the Inseparable of Madagascar. (See Article: Agapornis)


The fauna and flora of Madagascar is very rich and has a high percentage of endemism. 80 to 90% of the species are in fact endemic.

The island of Madagascar is considered a biodiversity hotspot and this exceptional originality comes from its isolation in the Indian Ocean at the end of the Cretaceous 84 million years ago and the absence of predators. which has contributed to the sustainability of the island’s species long before the introduction by humans of species that become invasive.

In 1990, the avifauna counted 294 species of which 107 were endemic (including two breeding species).

Characteristics of Agapornis canus

The advantage of these parrots, which are 14 cm long and weigh 35 grams, is the ease with which they distinguish between the sexes, i.e., they have a marked sexual dimorphism. The female is green and the males for the head, neck and chest light gray almost white. Newly imported males are in green, bred in captivity have, fresh from the nest, the gray of the head.

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Agapornis canus is characterized by the presence of a light gray almost white (male) and light green on its body. It will certainly be one of the most agaporni species. is no eye ring visible have four other species.

Its feet are gray and its tips mix the gray color with its bony tone. This type of color mutations are not known and inseparable. Similarly, some experts in exotic birds speak of the Agaporni Canus, in which the white color is characterized by brightness and a little purple tone. (See Article: Agapornis Nigrigenis)


In terms of what Agapornis canus, they are not picky about their food. Newly imported birds, and also provide grass seed, canary grass, millet, Senegal ear, while birds already acclimatized accepted good level millet and, as herbs are concerned. At feeding time, we will add these same sprouts and some other ripe fruits. (See Article: Agapornis Lilianae)


The female lays 4 to 5 eggs of 19.2 x 16.0 millimeters, incubating for 22 days. The chicks leave the nest after 5 weeks, then it is mainly the male who takes care of them, while the female is preparing for a new nesting. The Agapornis cana (Agapornis Canus) are birds that tend to be very nervous. This implies that their breeding and adaptation in captivity is very difficult, but not impossible.

Breeding in captivity

The selection of agapornis cana , this interesting parrot of beautiful colors, with a sexual dimorphism is well marked, with more success in a nest from the inside. However, since they have been bred cage and aviary garden. I recommend you to see this article about the Vision M02 Cage which has the necessary characteristics for this species.

This breeding is not always easy, it depends a lot on the configuration of the couple.Newer imported birds tend to nest in autumn even in European climatic conditions.

For the nest, what is best for you in this inseparable, is a coop for parrots , where you will also spend the night. Conduit sometimes within the area very few materials for recovery, but in other cases, the lining of consciousness.

They tend to be strands of various grasses, pieces of bark of elderberry or willow, or evergreen trees, especially larch. The female takes all this stuffing material into the nest embedded between the back feathers. The birds are well accustomed to carrying the weak gel. Young birds trapped in the nest and artificially reared are properly trained and become very familiar. (See Article: How to Breed Lovebirds)

Problems During Captive Breeding

We may face the problem of laying during a sudden cooling of the weather at the beginning of laying. The female cannot evacuate her egg.

The solution : hold the bird for a few minutes over boiling water, without burning the bird. Steam dilates the muscles and allows the egg to pass through. The bird can also be arranged in a small cage near a radiator. To anticipate this problem, we can distribute cod liver oil mixed with seeds every day during the coldest period. It will bring vitamins and lubricate the body (One teaspoon per one kilogram of seeds).


First Case: Check the humidity with a hygrometer (For lovebirds, it takes about 65% to 75% humidity for a good hatching) Therefore the usefulness of peat to maintain the humidity and daily intake of fresh willow branches during egg laying (but especially stop at the first hatch). How to bring this humidity : spraying warm water in the nest from time to time or installing humidifiers in the breeding room.

Second Case: egg mortality may also be due to poor brooding. Females disturbed during the night (rodents, cats, car headlights) Eggs get cold very fast and the embryo dies. To avoid this problem, indoor lighting should not be turned off suddenly; use a dimmer that gradually reduces the brightness.

Third Case: Lack of vitamin A, the embryo develops poorly and dies.

Fourth Case: Disease in the embryo, very rare in lovebirds.

On the other hand, the food must be adapted and varied to avoid nutritional deficiencies that weaken the parents. Extreme cold and heat also affect breeding success. Repeated inbreeding can also weaken the offspring and even engender genetic defects.

Light Eggs

Eggs have not been fertilized:

  • Birds too young (minimum 10 months, ideally 14 months)
  • Pair together for too short a time
  • Moulting birds
  • One partner is too young compared to the other
  • Undernourished birds, not enough or too much.

Other Problems :

  • The female lays eggs without shells. Lacks calcium and minerals in daily diet.
  • Chicks are killed in the nest: in this case, find out which parent kills the young and remove it from the brood. But it can also come from food that is too rich and the parents are too excited.
  • The death of a baby with a full crop is often due to a diet that is too dry: the mass is not moist enough, so you can add carrots or apples.
  • Poor growth is due to a diet that is not very varied and very poor.
  • If the parents eat the eggs, the cause is still lack of calcium or it becomes a vice.

Baby Agapornis Canus

Many breeders of Agapornis canus complain of what is commonly known as young pecking. This disease, or rather this vice, is widespread in budgerigars and parakeets. It occurs most frequently in young birds that are still nesting. The symptoms are very simple, the first traces of blood on the backs of the chicks as the feathers grow, then more and more feathers plucked out and sometimes chicks completely exposed as they leave the nest.

The culprit is the male or more often the female (and sometimes both parents) who, for no apparent reason, engage in actual raids on the young’s plumage. The reasons for this barbaric behavior are far from clear, but one thing is certain: a biting bird does not stop overnight and, in general, remains a biting bird all its life.

This problem is catastrophic in a brood. In many cases, plucked birds will keep their tracks for life, except perhaps if the remiges have been saved. First we must know that this condition is usually hereditary.

At this level, only a rigorous selection, which consists in keeping non-pointed birds as a priority, seems to be effective. Of course, this is not always possible and often the best birds have been exhausted. In this case, care must be taken to minimize the risk of temptation for these birds to pluck their young when they have done so. It remains to be seen why parents pluck their young: perhaps out of boredom or unbridled enthusiasm.

In both cases, solutions can be made. To keep the birds busy, they will always receive fresh branches from trees and shrubs that they can dissect at their convenience for long periods. For food, sunflower and oak, extremely rich and energetic seeds, will be totally excluded from the diet of your birds.

Last but not least, vitamin intake will be limited to once a year, just before breeding or in case of intense need (fatigue, illness, stress or difficult molt). It must be said that it has been observed that the rate of pecking is drastically reduced since the application of these few rules. This also played on the frequency of fights between mates and limited nail clipping.

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