The Lovebirds in the South of France

Back in 2010 I did a quick and dirty weekend trip to the Nice area in the South of France to get 2 category C species on my WP list - namely Fischer's Lovebird and Reeves Pheasant. The Lovebirds proved very easy to find in both the villages of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and Beaulieu-sur-Mer but I believe these birds may not all be what they are supposed to be!

Studying the photographs I took at the time and looking through literature reveals that many of these birds look like hybrids. Clearly there are pure (at least pure-looking) Fischer's Lovebirds there but they appear to be outnumbered by hybrids which begs the question whether these feral populations are really viable.

Interestingly, the hybrid birds look like Fischer's x Hooded (see the copy of the plate out of the Helm Guide to Parrots of the World below) which are also known to hybridise in Africa. On my visit to France however I didn't manage to photograph any pure looking Hooded Lovebirds although there were some present.

Some of my photographs are shown below. Not great quality as it was in my old digi-scoping days!

Anyone who has been to see these birds or is contemplating a trip should bear this in mind and (while they remain on the WP list) make sure they see the right birds!

Fischer's Lovebird

hybrid Lovebird

Plate from Parrots of the World

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