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Nyasa Lovebird Agapornis lilianae
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species is listed as Near Threatened because its moderately small population may be in decline. If the total population is found to be smaller, it may qualify for a higher threat category.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

14cm. Small green parrot with an orange head, a short tail, strong red bill and extensive white occipital area. Similar spp. Fischer's Lovebird A. fischeri has a bright blue rump and is larger.

Distribution and population
Agapornis lilianae occurs along the Zambezi Valley in Mozambique and into Zimbabwe, northwards along the Luangwa River into Zambia and southern Tanzania, and along the Shire River into Malawi. Although it has been described as common in most of its range (Collar 1997), the total population is estimated to number less than 20,000 birds (UNEP-WCMC CITES Trade Database, January 2005). The global range may be less than 20,000 km (Harrison et al. 1997, UNEP-WCMC CITES Trade Database, January 2005).

Population justification
The total population is estimated to number less than 20,000 birds. It is placed in the band 10,000-19,999 individuals, equatiung to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to predation by invasive species and unsustainable levels of exploitation.

The species has a strong association with mopane Colophospermum mopane woodland in the south of its range, but also inhabits belts of Acacia on aluvium and riparian forest, and frequents fig trees in the north of its range (del Hoyo et al. 1997). It feeds on grass seeds, including Hyparrhenia, millet and wild rice Oryza perennis, but also takes flowers, seeds and fruit of other species. Breeding takes place from January to March and in June and July in Zambia, with laying possibly occurring in January and February in Malawi, and young have been observed during April in Zimbabwe. The nest is a roofed structure in crevices in mopane trees. In captivity the clutch-size is three to eight eggs, with an incubation period of c.22 days and a fledging period of 44 days (del Hoyo et al. 1997).

Its population has been reduced considerably by flooding of a large section of the Zambezi valley by Lake Kariba, and very likely also by the Cahorra Bassa Dam in Mozambique. It is considered a pest by small-scale farmers (Harrison et al. 1997). In addition to legal trapping of large numbers for the international cage-bird trade (over 10,000 since 1981 when it was listed on CITES Appendix II), many are captured and sold locally in Mozambique, and the species is also captured and traded in Zimbabwe and Zambia (V. Parker in litt. 2003, UNEP-WCMC CITES Trade Database, January 2005).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out surveys to obtain an overall population estimate. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Control or halt trapping and trade in order to prevent over-exploitation.

Related state of the world's birds case studies

Collar, N. J. 1997. Psittacidae (Parrots). In: del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. (ed.), Handbook of the birds of the world, pp. 280-477. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1997. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Harrison, J. A.; Allan, D. G.; Underhill, L. G.; Herremans, M.; Tree, A. J.; Parker, V.; Brown, C. J. 1997. The atlas of southern African birds. BirdLife South Africa, Johannesburg.

UNEP-WCMC. 2005. CITES trade database.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Martin, R, Stattersfield, A., Taylor, J.

Parker, V.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Agapornis lilianae. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Lilian’s lovebird (Agapornis lilianae) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Psittacidae (Parrots)
Species name author Shelley, 1894
Population size 6000-15000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 129,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change