Q&AZ: Is The Rosy-Faced Lovebird Invasive But Benign?

By Claire Caulfield
Published: Monday, September 10, 2018 - 5:10am
Updated: Wednesday, June 10, 2020 - 11:41am
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Muriel Neddermeyer
Muriel Neddermeyer
Muriel Neddermeyer

The Rosy-faced Lovebird is a distinctive green and pink parrot often spotted in Phoenix neighborhoods. KJZZ listener Nick was wondering about the impact of this non-native bird and asked via Q&AZ.

The birds first appeared in Phoenix in the 1980s, and bird biologist Troy Corman said current flocks are probably descendant from pet birds that were released or escaped.

“They are common cage birds and do well in captivity,” he said. “A lot of folks like to have them because of their bright colors and they’re not very big.”

In 2011 scientists estimated that there were about 2,500 Lovebirds in metro Phoenix and Corman thinks their numbers are still growing.

“Most people think of parrots as being kind of tropical; you wouldn't think they would do very well but there are species that are in more arid landscapes and the Rosy-faced Lovebird is one of those,” he said.

The bird is native to southwest Africa, but have adapted to Arizona by nesting in palm trees and in saguaro cacti.  

There haven’t been any scientific studies on the subject, but Corman says he hasn’t seen any evidence that the non-native parrots cause ecological harm.

“They’re staying in urban areas and they’re not getting out into true wild desert,” he said. “Then they are small enough that they’re not causing problems for the native species that we have.”

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