Family Parrots (Psittacidae)

Least Concern

Grey-headed Lovebird (Agapornis canus)


French: Inséparable à tête grise German: Grauköpfchen Spanish: Inseparable malgache

Psittacus canus

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,

Madagascar and Mauritius


Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. c. canus (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – Madagascar except SW.
  • A. c. ablectaneus Bangs, 1918 – SW Madagascar from R Mangoky to W side of Anosyenne Mts#R.
  • Introduced or believed introduced (presumed canus in most cases) to Comoros, Seychelles, Reunion, Mauritius, Rodrigues, also Zanzibar and several other African places; persists only in Comoros#R.

    Descriptive notes

    13–15 cm; 25–31·5 g. Male has pale grey from head to upper breast; green upperparts, brighter on rump; yellow green underparts; black underwing-coverts.... read more


    Varied whistles and squawks, including a subdued Melopsittacus undulatus-like chatter,... read more


    Forest edges and clearings, wooded (e.g. Medemia palm) savanna, scrub and degraded forest... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruits and grass seeds, mainly the latter including commercially grown elephant grass (Panicum maximum) in Seychelles, often eaten... read more


    Nov–Dec, Mar in Madagascar; Nov–Apr in Comoros. Nest in tree-hole, usually dead, e.g. Tamarindus, Acacia,... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. CITES II. Generally widespread and common, more so in coastal areas, but now judged uncommon in E (where formerly common) and rare on the High... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Grey-headed Lovebird (Agapornis canus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 12 December 2019).