These Are Actual Lovebirds, And They Do The Cutest Thing To Their Tails
There's something really strange that pet rosy-faced lovebirds (also called peach-faced lovebirds) do to their tails: They give them paper extensions. Kind of like hair extensions, but without the killer salon stylist costs.
It's a habit that leaves many owners scratching their heads in confusion at first glance (if they aren't bird savvy, that is). For others without birds, like myself, this quirk actually turns out to provide about a solid hour of pure YouTube entertainment.
A YouTube search of any word combination that includes "lovebird tail decorating" opens the floodgates to several videos documenting what happens when a lovebird is left with a piece of paper ripe for the taking: He or she tears it into the straight line with the smooth grace, yet merciless efficiency, of a shredder - just before gently tucking said paper into the folds of their tail feathers.
It's easy to think that lovebirds are doing this just for the sake of looking good. But as with most quirky animal habits, there's a perfectly logical explanation to back up the weirdness.
"It's extremely common that both the males and females do that," Lorelei Tibbets, licensed veterinary technician at the Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine, told The Dodo. "They shred these straight lines of paper and tuck it under their wings or in between their tail feathers and take it back to the nest [they're building]."
"In the wild, these little parrots usually nest in cavities in the arid regions of Africa," Hillary Hankey, director at Avian Behavior International told The Dodo. "But [they] will look for softer material to line the bottom of the nest hollow. They tuck and weave soft grasses and even hair through the feathers in their rump while out foraging and fly back to their nests."
Hankey said this probably allows for the birds to keep their beaks free to pick up a few groceries while collecting nesting material.
So basically, they're all about setting the mood for both a little homemaking and love-making. You've got to admire their ability for multitasking, if nothing else.
Now that you've been enlightened, check out the video below of an entire squad of lovebirds getting all dolled up with newspaper.