With a name like “Lovebird,” it’s not hard to imagine why so many people are charmed and enchanted by these romantic little parrots. Lovebirds are parrots from the genus “Agapornis.” This name comes from the Greek word “agape,” meaning “love,” and the Latin word “ornis,” meaning “bird.” They are well-known for their seemingly romantic behaviors to which they owe their common name. Lovebirds mate for life and form deep bonds with one another. This is true to such an extent that Lovebirds can suffer from adverse health effects when they are kept by themselves. (1)(2)
Lovebirds are among the most popular pet birds around. These delightful little six-inch-tall birds are often favored by people who enjoy parrots but aren’t prepared to house some of the larger and more demanding parrot species. They are, in fact, often referred to as “pocket parrots.” One important note for potential Lovebird owners is that, while they may be lower maintenance than an African Gray or a Cockatoo, Lovebirds still have complex care requirements and should not be purchased or adopted on a whim. They can be mischievous, destructive, or territorial, especially if they are not reared with proper care and socialization. (3)
Still, Lovebirds are known for their overall great temperaments and unique and lovable personalities. Whether you’re a Lovebird owner or a fascinated birder interested in these pint-sixed parrots, read on to learn more about all of the things that make the Lovebird so lovely.
Lovebird Symbolism and Meaning
The greatest association connected with Lovebirds is also the most obvious. Lovebirds are symbols of love and affection. Even in the wild, Lovebirds begin courting when they reach sexual maturity at ten months old. After finding their mates, Lovebirds will remain monogamous and loyal to their partners for the remainder of their fifteen to twenty-five year lifespans. It has been recorded that, both in the wild and in captivity, Lovebirds will begin behaving erratically or self-destructively after being separated from their mates. When a Lovebird’s mate dies or is otherwise lost, the Lovebird may exhibit behaviors which resemble grief. Lovebirds not only represent love, these birds represent commitment, devotion, and soulmates. Lovebirds are an animal which embodies the ideals of a loving marriage. (4)
Many birds mate for life, but Lovebirds are especially known for the affectionate behaviors which they exhibit. Lovebirds are known to pine for each other. They preen each other’s feathers and are often seen feeding each other. When mated pairs of Lovebirds are separated from each other, they often feed each other once they’re reunited as a way of reestablishing their bond. So Lovebirds can represent romantic gestures, affection, love languages, attention, or thoughtfulness. (5)
Lovebirds can be kept in captivity as single birds, despite their reputation for romantic behavior. This is because Lovebirds are especially capable of forming deep bonds with human companions. It is ill-advised to own a single Lovebird because they need to spend quite a lot of time with their bonded human or they may grow depressed or ill. Because Lovebirds are capable of forming such deep bonds with humans, and because they make such good pets in general, Lovebirds are often associated with domesticity, friendliness, sociability, and the relationships between humans and our beloved pets. (6)
Agapornis parrots are native to Africa. You might be surprised to learn, then, that there are quite a few regions within the United States where you might just spot a Lovebird within your own backyard. In Arizona, for example, Lovebird populations are quite robust and have been recorded using man-made air conditioning units to stay cool and crevices in cacti to build their nests. For this reason, Lovebirds can be connected with invasive species, pests, and the unique challenges and side effects that the pet trade has brought to the natural world. (7)
Lovebird Native American Symbolism
Lovebirds are not native to the Americas, despite the fact that feral populations are found in several regions. Parrots are found in the Americas and are typically connected with prosperity, luxury, and the summer season. Parrots are often thought of as symbols of shamanism or magic. (8)
Lovebird Christianity Symbolism
Parrots of all kinds are not typically used as biblical or Christian symbols.
Lovebird Celtic Symbolism
Lovebirds are not native to the Celtic world. Birds in general tend to be connected with the Celtic “Otherworld.” A connection can be drawn between Lovebirds and the myth of Rhiannon and her supernatural avian choir. According to legend, the Welsh goddess, Rhiannon, was connected with queenship, fertility, and regality. Rhiannon was said to have a choir of birds which could sing so beautifully that visitors to the Otherworld could listen to them forever without noticing the passage of time. Listeners would spend years in the Otherworld without realizing that their lives had passed them by. (9)
Lovebird in Dreams
Dreaming of Lovebirds can signal the state of one’s love life. Dreaming of a single Lovebird may represent loneliness, isolation, or longing. If romance is important to you, then dreaming of a single Lovebird may signal a desire to pursue love.
Dreaming of a pair of Lovebirds represents one’s relationships. A Lovebird dream may mean that the dreamer feels happy or content in their relationships. A dream featuring a Lovebird pair engaging in preening or courtship behaviors indicates that the dreamer is hungry for affection.
Lovebird Encounters and Omens
Encountering Lovebirds in captivity is a sign of domesticity. Such Lovebird encounters might symbolize the state of one’s home life. Happy, healthy, and outgoing Lovebird encounters represent a home life that is harmonious, satisfying, and joyful.
Encountering feral Lovebirds in the wild in the United States may represent something that is out of place or unusual in one’s life. Lovebirds are not native to the United States and so Lovebird encounters in these regions may represent unusual or unexpected situations.
While non-native species forming wild populations is typically an ecologically harmful phenomenon, it is still a testament to the adaptability of the species involved. While Lovebirds are definitely not supposed to be found in places like Arizona or San Francisco, encountering them in such places may symbolize adaptability, versatility, and fortitude.
Lovebird in Mythology & Folklore
I have not been able to find any myths which name the Lovebird specifically. The following stories are myths and folktales which can be loosely connected to these birds.
Although Lovebirds are native to Africa, I was unable to locate any African myths regarding Lovebirds. Instead, I found an interesting story about the African Gray Parrot. According to one African myth, this parrot was once white in color and stunningly beautiful. One day, the birds of the world chose to have a beauty contest which the creator would judge. The other birds were annoyed that the African Gray didn’t try to beautify itself. It seemed to them that this parrot was far too sure that it would win. So, they doused the parrot in gray ash. This did not upset it. Next, they threw red paint on its tail, but the parrot was unbothered. Although its pure white feathers were sullied, the African Gray won the contest thanks to its superior inner beauty. (10)
According to an old Chinese legend, a steward named Han Ping was once wed to the most beautiful woman in the land. The prince of the land found out about this marriage and was extremely jealous. He stole Han Ping’s wife and took her as his own bride. The lovers were heartbroken and began corresponding with one another in secret. This worked for a while, but eventually the prince found one of Han Ping’s letters. He was angry and swore that he would never allow the lovers to correspond again. Han Ping was heartbroken and desperate and killed himself as a result. When his wife found out about this, she killed herself as well, leaving a letter behind begging to be married alongside her husband. The prince was furious and chose to bury them in separate graves several meters apart. He declared that if their love were really true then they’d find a way to bring their graves together. When the couple was buried, a miraculous tree sprouted over their two graves, bridging the gap between them. Within the tree were a pair of colorful birds who preened and fed each other lovingly. The people of the kingdom came to believe that the birds were the souls of the star-crossed lovers. (11)
Lovebird Spirit Animal
If your spirit animal is the Lovebird then you are likely a romantic spirit who longs to be half of a happy pair. People with the Lovebird as their spirit animal often feel compelled to find love. This desire is well-intentioned, however it can make the Lovebird spirit animal vulnerable to being mistreated. People with this spirit animal may be easy to manipulate or take advantage of.
People with the Lovebird spirit animal tend to be outgoing and sociable. They may, however, be possessive or territorial when it comes to their loved ones. The Lovebird spirit animal is prone to jealousy.
If your spirit animal is the Lovebird then you are likely a big believer in grand romantic gestures. People with the Lovebird spirit animal tend to be devoted to their families and love putting together thoughtful gifts and gestures to show their appreciation.
Lovebird Totem Animal
The Lovebird totem animal is connected with the health and safety of the home. People with the Lovebird as their totem animal are natural-born home-makers. The Lovebird totem animal takes great pleasure in building a home environment that is safe, comforting, welcoming, and secure.
For the Lovebird totem animal, the home is sacred. It is a labor of love intended to provide for the physical and emotional needs of the family. The Lovebird totem values the home so highly because this totem wants nothing more than to provide for its family. The home is a tangible expression of the Lovebird’s love for its partner and family.
Lovebird Power Animal
If your power animal is the Lovebird, then you may be especially drawn to helping others. This is because the Lovebird power animal is deeply in tune with the needs and emotions of others. The power of the Lovebird is empathy and thoughtfulness. The Lovebird power animal is able to read and respond to the emotions of others with ease. People with the Lovebird as their power animal are not only excellent at understanding other people’s emotions, but also very good at figuring out ways to bring catharsis and healing into the lives of others. The Lovebird power animal is great at making others feel loved and safe.
Lovebird Tattoo Meaning
A Lovebird tattoo is a symbol of romance and love. One might choose such a tattoo to represent a particular relationship. Couples may even choose to get matching Lovebird tattoos as a symbol of their relationship and the devotion between them.
A Lovebird tattoo may also represent versatility. Like Lovebirds which have successfully built up wild populations in environments where you would not expect them to be found, a Lovebird tattoo may also represent the tattoo owner’s ability to adapt and thrive in new environments.
Lovebirds have obviously earned their romantic titles. These pocket-sized parrots are famous for their affectionate natures, which have made them popular both as pets and as symbols of love and romance. For pet-lovers who have formed deep relationships with these birds, their loving and charming natures are more than evident. From the wilds of Africa to the city of San Francisco to the homes of the people who cherish them, Lovebirds bring joy, light, and happiness to the lives of human beings!