Parrotlet or Lovebird: Comprehensive Comparison

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At a first look, people could get confused with a lovebird and parrotlet for they look alike. As a matter of fact, in the 1800s, parrotlets were discovered. They were given the name South American lovebirds. Although they look alike, a keen eye can surely tell which is which. In this article, you will know the similarities and differences between the two.

The Parrotlet

Parrotlet is a small parrot but has a big personality. They are assertive and can learn how to talk. Physically, they look like a green parakeet. They come in 5 inches making them smaller than a parakeet. In the pet trade, only several species are commonly found.  They are found in the wild in South and Central America and Mexico.

Although they are small, it doesn’t mean they will not need a big cage. They will need a spacious and wide cage having ¼ inch of bar spacing. Behaviorally, they are active, and they need ample space for toys in order to make them busy. Shreddable toys are one of their favorites. They like swings and boings as well. For their food, they are fed on a pellet-based diet with vegetables and fruits as supplements. They need calcium too and some vitamins.

These birds are willful, affectionate, and feisty. If the owner wants a companion, then it should be kept alone. Keeping a pair will form a close bond between them, and the owner is excluded. They are dimorphic. In addition, they are easy to pair too. They enjoy the company of each other. In large aviaries, they can be kept in groups. Keep them separately from other species for they will be fighting over territory. Both genders are good companions.

The hand-fed ones are friendly. The mutations are more easy-going compared to the colored ones. However, they are less hardy. This could be the result of inbreeding. Although they are small, they might not be ideal for children. They can learn to copy sounds, but not the best talkers, though. They can learn a few words still. Good thing they are not noisy. Being small brings them to dangers as they are stepped on.

The Lovebird

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Similar to parrotlet, lovebirds are smaller species. They are inquisitive and always on the go. They are popular for being loving and attentive with their mates. There are nine species. They all belong to Agapornis, the genus. They belong to Psittaciformes, their order.  With their names, they are known to form strong bonds. They are over 5 inches to 6.5 inches. Physically, they have short and blunt tail feathers. They are also stockier with a hooked bill and two toes pointing forward and another two pointing backward. These birds are feed with seeds, grasses, vegetables, and fruits in the wild. Lovebird species are mostly native to Africa.

Lovebirds are fond of exercising and need the biggest cage. Putting them in a small cage would make them neurotic and can have self-mutilating habits. For these active parrots, they need toys. They are chewers too; therefore, their toys should stand up chewing. They can live for 12-15 years. For their nutrition, there should be a balanced diet of water, fiber, protein, carbo, minerals, and vitamins. Supplement it with various fruits and vegetables. Know what food should be avoided.

Behaviorally, they are inquisitive, active, and bold. Being in pairs would make them less interactive with people because they are much focused on their partners. Keeping a single lovebird would need more interaction with humans and lots of toys as well as safe chew toys. The females are so defensive in terms of territory. In addition, they are singers, chatters, and whistles. They are noisier at dawn and dusk. They sing and love talking to each other. Sadly, they are prone to chlamydiosis, nutritional deficiencies, self-mutilation and more.


Feisty Personality

Both have small bodies. They are both nippy. To keep their tameness, they should be handled daily. They like affection and attention. Both show love and devotion to their owners; however, it can cause jealousy. Apart from being feisty, they are both smart too. In fact, lovebirds can figure out how to open their cage and free themselves. In addition, they are bossy. Both don’t like being housed with others due to dominance issues.


They are both acrobatic, curious, and active. They love their toys. They hang out on the shoulder, then hide under in a pocket or person’s hair. They are said to be big birds trapped in small bodies. They enjoy swings.

Different Species

Both have 3 species commonly kept as pets. The lovebird species are masked, Fischer’s and the peach-faced, while the parrotlets are the pacific, spectacle, and green-rumped.

The peach-faced lovebird is a wonderful pet that comes in colorful mutations. The pacific parrotlets come in several mutations too. They are stubborn and feisty but loving to their owners.


  • Size: The commonly kept parrotlets are in 3 inches going to 5.5 inches. They weigh from 18-28 grams. Meanwhile, the lovebirds are from 5 to 6 inches and weigh 35-55 grams. Although they are both small, parrotlets are smaller than lovebirds.
  • Sexual Dimorphism: Lovebirds are not sexually dimorphic. It means both sexes look the same in terms of appearance. Parrotlets, on the other hand, show visual differences between a male and a female.
  • Verbalizations: Lovebirds have a high-pitched shriek, while parrotlets chirp quietly and don’t have the ability to squawk. Parrotlets can talk. They are quiet members. They spend their day peeping placidly. Lovebirds are known to copy noise or talk rarely. Lovebirds rub and preen sweetly.
  • Nesting Behavior: A female peach faced lovebird shred everything, while parrotlet doesn’t have this nesting behavior.
  • Feeding & Bathing: For being active, parrotlets burn more calories, then it should be fed more. Lovebird, on the other hand, needs more bathe. They love a mister or a shallow bowl of water.
  • Housing: Lovebirds want to be in pairs. They are needy in pairs and become content. Parrotlets will be happy to be on its own.
  • Life Span: Parrotlets live longer than lovebirds. Lovebirds can live 15-20 years, while parrotlets live for 20-30 years.
  • Cost: Lovebirds are sold at lower prices, while parrotlets are more expensive.

Choosing a House

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Although they don’t share some things in common, the following things are important to both lovebirds and parrotlets.

  • Their cage should be large enough for stretching, playing, and climbing. A water dish, toys, cuttlebones, food dish, and lots of perches should fit in it. Get the largest one.
  • The bar spacing should be small to prevent the head from being stocked.
  • Put the cage in a warm area but far from direct sunlight and floor.
  • Don’t set up the cage in or near the kitchen. Both birds are so sensitive to fumes.
  • At night, cover the cage.

Play and Hide

  • Give 2-3 toys in order for them to be busy. To lessen boredom and feather picking, give foraging toys.
  • Give acrylic toys, hanging woods, and rope toys.
  • For foraging, give hay ball with timothy hay.
  • Give two perches of various width for feet exercising. Put them far from food dishes.
  • Both enjoy supervised time out of the cage.
  • Give cuttlebone for their beaks.
  • Give a warm bath for 3 to 4 times a week.


  • The cage should have a liner using recycled paper or corncob bedding.
  • Clean the cage every day or weekly. Take all the dirt. Wash everything that has to be washed. Change things when needed. The toys must be safe for them.


Now that you have known facts about lovebirds and parrotlets, there is no reason for you to be confused about the two. If you are planning to raise any of them, you are given an idea of how to do it. No matter which you pick, both possess their own unique appearance, personality, feeding, etc. You will not go wrong picking either or both of them. Bear in mind the things you need to consider each of them.

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