1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Love-bird
|←Lovat, Simon Fraser||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 17
|See also Lovebird and Psittacula on Wikipedia, and our 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica disclaimer.|
Love-bird, a name somewhat indefinitely bestowed, chiefly by dealers and their customers, on some of the smaller short-tailed parrots, from the affection which examples of opposite sexes exhibit towards each other. By many ornithologists the birds thus named, brought almost entirely from Africa and South America, have been retained in a single genus, Psittacula, though those belonging to the former country were by others separated as Agapornis. This separation, however, was neither generally approved nor easily justified, until Garrod (Proc. Zool. Society, 1874, p. 593) assigned good anatomical ground, afforded by the structure of the carotid artery, for regarding the two groups as distinct, and thus removed the puzzle presented by the geographical distribution of the species of Psittacula in a large sense, though Huxley (op. cit. 1868, p. 319) had suggested one way of meeting the difficulty. As the genus is now restricted, only one of the six species of Psittacula enumerated in the Nomenclator Avium of Sclater and Salvin is known to be found outside the Neotropical Region, the exception being the Mexican P. cyanopygia, and not one of the seven recognized by the same authors as forming the nearly allied genus Urochroma. On the other hand, of Agapornis, from which the so-called genus Poliopsitta can scarcely be separated, five if not six species are known, all belonging to the Ethiopian Region, and all but one, A. cana (which is indigenous to Madagascar, and thence has been widely disseminated), are natives of Africa. In this group probably comes also Psittinus, with a single species from the Malayan Subregion. One of the birds most commonly called love-birds, but with no near relationship to any of the above, being a long tailed though very small parrot, is the budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) now more familiar in Europe than most native birds, as it is used to “tell fortunes” in the streets, and is bred by hundreds in aviaries. Its native country is Australia.