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Monday, April 02, 2007
Indigo’s Babies- Violet Masked Lovebirds

By Blake Ma
Blake enjoys working with lovebirds and has a passion for exhibiting and breeding them

Click image to enlarge
Diary of a Show Bird, By Blake Ma
Indigo, the proud father, a double factored violet masked lovebird.
Diary of a Show Bird, By Blake Ma
Indigo's baby, a violet masked lovebird, on March 27, 2007.
Diary of a Show Bird, By Blake Ma
Indigo's baby, a violet masked lovebird, on March 27, 2007.

It was no doubt love at first site. I was at a show in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 2006, and there Indigo perched, the most violet lovebird I had ever seen. He had beautiful white eye-rings, a deep rich violet hue and a beautiful black mask – almost as if it were at a ball attending a masquerade.

Masked lovebirds have always reminded me of panda bears. Panda bears have a white and black contrast with black circles around their eyes and a white hooded head; masked lovebirds are just the opposite and have white eye-rings and a black mask over its head. This particular bird reminded me of a panda with large, sweet eyes begging me to take it home, so I did!  I named the bird Indigo – I could think of no other name that would describe more fittingly a creature that stopped bird and non-bird lovers alike in their tracks to see what creature could naturally be so violet. 

The big news is that Indigo has babies! He and his mate have hatched out all three eggs. I will definitely be keeping one visual violet masked for exhibiting and future breeding. Working with violet masked is very rewarding, but it can also be tricky. Here are some things I’ve learned about violet masked lovebirds.

  • One violet factor, zero dark factors – A single violet factored bird with no dark factors will look like a blue masked bird with one dark factor (aka cobalt or medium).  This bird will not look like a visual violet masked but will be able to produce visual violet birds if paired to the right bird.
  • One violet, one dark factor – The violet will be visible over the whole body.
  • Two violet factors – The violet will be visible over the whole body. 
  • Two violet factors, one dark factor – The violet will be very deep and visible over the whole body. 
  • Zero, one or two violet factors, two dark factors – The bird will be a grayish looking so if violet is, there it is covered and cannot be seen.

Out of the five combinations above, only three will produce the visual violet coloring on the body of the whole bird. Indigo is a double-factored violet masked bird (two violet factors and zero dark factors). I have him currently paired with a medium blue masked lovebird (one dark factor). All of Indigo’s babies will have one violet factor, and the babies that inherit the one dark factor will also be visually violet.

The potential problems that can arise with some pairings is that there will be no way to distinguish between the medium blue masked and the single factor violet masked unless you know – through breeding or proper documented pedigrees – the genetic history of the parents. Part of the complexity in working to produce visual violet masked lovebirds is that you will also produce dark blue masked lovebirds that will hide any indications of violet. In both of these cases, these types of birds need to be sold as possibly violet and sold to people who want to work with this mutation. The violet masked mutation seems to almost have died out in the U.S. and it’s time more people begin anew to work at re-populating this beautiful mutation. Can anyone help me think of a suitable name for Indigo’s violet masked baby?

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Indigo’s Babies- Violet Masked Lovebirds

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Reader Comments
I am beginning to work with this lovely mutation. Thank you so much for your notes, they are very informative and will help me identify my chicks! I have 3 hand feeding right now, all look Violet in their leg feathers (I call them their pants, lol). In taking photos, I've noticed diff. lighting gives them diff. coloring. Is there a lighting of choice in your opinion? And is that with or w/o flash? Happy birding!
Andrea, Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 5/29/2013 12:39:23 PM
I'm interested in prices for babies if there will be any ready for christmas. Let me know asap
Katie, Germantown, WI
Posted: 11/24/2012 2:32:08 AM
I saw Indigo myself at the Raleigh bird show in 2006 and it stopped me in my tracks, most beautiful lovebird I have ever seen.
Darrell, Concord, NC
Posted: 3/12/2010 2:18:59 PM
Jeannette is interested. Call 217-416-7357
carol, Staunton, IL
Posted: 11/12/2009 9:11:34 PM
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