Friday, May 8, 2009
Tori The Hybrid Lovebird?
By Jessica Pineda, Associate Editor of BIRD TALK and BirdChannel.com
Join her on her quest to learn about each parrot species in The Parrot Birder.
© Cioli and Hunnicutt/BowTie Studio
Is Tori a lutino peach-faced lovebird, or a hybrid?
I learned something interesting about my lovebird, Tori, today. It’s quite possible she is a hybrid! A BIRD TALK magazine reader, Richard, pointed out that Tori has a very distinct eye ring, similar to that of Agapornis personata, or a masked lovebird. We e-mailed back and forth for a bit, and the more he talked about hybrid lovebirds, the more I thought, “That’s my Tori!”
I just received, and read, my June 2009 copy of BIRD TALK. I have kept and bred peach-faced and masked lovebirds for a number of years, so I was attracted to the lutino mutation on the cover. Something about the bird, however, struck me as a little unusual.
While not positive, it seems to me that this particular bird has a distinctly white eye-ring type eye. The bird's coloration is definitely of a lutino mutation roseicollis, but I strongly suspect that the bird is a hybrid with one of the eye rings, probably personata.
I have roseicollis/personata hybrids that look identical to this bird. Compare the eye ring to that of a pure roseicollis (as well as that of the pure personata) on page 30.
Thank you for writing to BIRD TALK magazine. I am the cover bird’s owner, and I adopted her after she was abandoned at a pet store. I am not sure of her origins, but now I am curious if she is a hybrid.
Thanks for responding, Jessica. Your bird is lovely, regardless of her genetic makeup. If she is indeed a female (have you done a DNA test?), which is more likely (only one ino gene necessary for a female), a clue to her ancestry would be in how she handles nesting materials (paper, leaves, twigs, etc.).
Since peach-faced lovebirds always tuck the material into their rump feathers, and masked lovebirds never do, the hybrids tend to be noticeably confused on which to do. I've read that they try both, then eventually settle on carrying it in their mouths, like masks.
I did have my lovebird DNA-tested, and she is a female. She does chew up paper strips and tucks them into her rump feathers, but she doesn’t seem to know what to do with them after that. She does the weaving paper in between the bars, now that I think about it, which is more of an eye-ring trait. Wow! She might just be a hybrid!
So what do the lovebird enthusiasts think? Is my lovebird, Tori, a hybrid? I’m not sure there is any way to tell genetically, but I am going to start doing some reading! I’ll let you know the results!
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Tori The Hybrid Lovebird?