The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






African Mourning Dove

African Mourning Dove
African Mourning Dove
: Animalia
: Chordata
: Aves
: Columbiformes
: Columbidae
: Streptopelia
: decipiens
Binomial name
Streptopelia decipiens
(Hartlaub & Finsch, 1870)

The African Mourning Dove (Streptopelia decipiens) is a pigeon which is a widespread resident breeding bird in Africa south of the Sahara. Despite its name, it is not a close relative of the American Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura.

This species is common or abundant near water. It builds a stick nest in a tree, often a mangrove, and lays two white eggs. Its flight is quick, with the regular beats and an occasional sharp flick of the wings which are characteristic of pigeons in general.

African Mourning Dove is a largish, stocky pigeon, 31cm in length. Its back, wings and tail are pale brown. The head is grey and the underparts are pink, shading to pale grey on the belly. There is a black hind neck patch edged with white. The legs and a patch of bare skin around the eye are red.

When flying, it shows blackish flight feathers and extensive white in the tail, the latter being a distinction from the similar but larger Red-eyed Dove. The call is a fast krrrrrrrr, oo-OO, oo.

Sexes are similar, but immatures are duller than adults, and have scalloping on the body feathers.

African Mourning Doves eat grass seeds, grains and other vegetation. They are quite terrestrial, and usually forage on the ground.

Unlike several other species in this genus, they are quite gregarious and often feed in groups. They also mingle peacefully with other doves.


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