Backyard Birds

African Green Pigeons

The African Green Pigeons (Treron calvus) – also known as Bare-faced Green Pigeons, Green Fruit-Pigeons or, simply “Green Pigeons” – occur naturally in most of Africa south of the Sahara desert. Around 17 races are currently accepted.

Distribution / Habitat

They are found in sub-Saharan Africa: specifically in Senegal to northern Uganda, southern Kenya with a corridor to central Ethiopia south to central Angola and northeastern South Africa and along the east coast of South Africa.

They specifically are native to the following African countries:

Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

They inhabit riparian forest, woodland and savanna, These quiet birds are commonly observed climbing around branches like parrots and occasionally hanging upside down as they reach for food.

(Columbidae – Please see also Doves)

Pigeon InformationPigeon Intelligence & Amazing FactsSpecies / BreedsBreed Photo Gallery

African Green-Pigeon, Treron calvus, Sabi Sands, Singita, South Africa (8/25/08)

Subspecies and Ranges:

There are about 17 subspecies which vary in terms of color of their feet that range from yellow to red and the size of the cere (fleshy skin above the beak).

Guinean Green Pigeon (nominate form) (Treron calvus calvus/calva – Temminck, 1811/1808)

  • Eastern Nigeria south to the northeastern parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly known as Zaire) to the Ituri region, and south to central Angola and the Príncipe Island off the west coast of Africa.

Sierra Leone Green Pigeon (Treron calvus sharpei – Reichenow, 1902)

  • Sierra Leone to southern Nigeria and northern Cameroon

Senegal Green Pigeon (Treron calvus nudirostris – Swainson, 1837)

  • Senegal to Gambia and Guinea-Bissau

African Green-Pigeon (poensis) (Treron calvus poensis – Hartert and Goodson, 1918)

  • Only found on the island of Bioko – also known as Fernando Póo, located off the west coast of Africa, specifically Cameroon

Uele River Green Pigeon (Treron calvus uellensis – Reichenow, 1912)

  • Northern Democratic Republic of the Congo in the proximity of the Uele River (or Welle River) to southern Sudan and Uganda

East African Green Pigeon (Treron calvus brevicera – Hartert and Goodson, 1918)

  • Southwestern Ethiopia to northern Tanzania east of the Rift Valley (however avoiding the coastal regions)

African Green-Pigeon (salvadorii) (Treron calvus salvadorii – Dubois, AJC, 1897)

  • Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi south to the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly known as Zaire)

Wakefield’s Green Pigeon (Treron calvus wakefieldii – Sharpe, 1874)

  • Coastal regions of Kenya and nothwestern Tanzania, including the Usambara mountain range

African Green Pigeon (granti) (Treron calvus granti – van Someren, 1919)

  • Lowlands of eastern Tanzania and Zanzibar

African Green Pigeon (schalowi) (Treron calvus schalowi – Reichenow, 1880)

  • In the southern parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (the province of Katanga) and Zambia south to the region of Victoria Falls

[African Green Pigeon (chobiensisi) (Treron calvus chobiensis – Roberts, 1932)] – usually considered invalid

  • Southwestern Zimbabwe and Botswana

African Green Pigeon (damarensis) (Treron calvus damarensis – Reichenow, 1901)

  • Northeastern Namibia and northwestern Botswana

Angola Green Pigeon (Treron calvus ansorgei – Hartert and Goodson, 1918)

  • Western Angola – south of Cuanza River

African Green Pigeons (vylderi) (Treron calvus vylderi – Gyldenstolpe, 1924)

  • Northwestern Namibia east to the city of Grootfontein in central Namibia.

African Green Pigeons (virescens) (Treron calvus virescens – Amadon, 1953)

African Green Pigeons (gibberifrons) (Treron calvus gibberifrons – Madarász, 1915)

[(Treron calvus granviki – Grote, 1924)] – usually considered invalid

  • Western Kenya and northwestern Tanzania

Delalande’s Green Pigeon (Treron calvus delalandii – Bonaparte, 1854)

  • Coastal Kenya (Mombasa) south to South Africa (East Cape Province)

[(Treron calvus glaucus – Clancey, 1967)] – usually considered invalid

[(Treron calvus orientalis – Gunning and Roberts, 1911)] – usually considered invalid

  • Southern Tanzania to Mozambique and lower Zambezi Valley



They measure 10 – 11 inches (25–28 cm).

Plumage Details / Adults

The plumage is mostly greenish. Adults have maroon shoulder patches; the juveniles have olive shoulder patches. The undertail coverts (feathers) are rufous colored.

Diet / Feeding

They are usually seen around fruiting trees as they forage for food.

Their diet consists of various fruits, such as wild fig (Ficus), Saffrons (Cassine spp.), Jacket plum (Pappea capensis), Buffalo thorn (Ziziphus mucronata), Water berry (Syzygium cordatum), Jackalberry (Diospyros mespiliformis), exotic Loquats and Mulberries. On occasion they may take carrion.

Breeding / Nesting

They nest in a tree fork that offers an adequate vantage point of their surrounds. The nest is a weak platform of sticks, collected by the male and arranged by the female.[4] Nesting may take place in any month of the year, though mostly in summer. 1-2 eggs are laid that hatch in 13–14 days. Chicks leave the nest at about 12 days.

Calls / Vocalizations / Sounds

Their calls are described as a series of flowing whistles, rendered as ‘thweeeloo, thweeeoo’.

Alternate (Global) Names

Afrikaans: Papegaaiduif … Chinese: ???? … Czech: Holub africký … Danish: Østafrikansk papegøjedue, Papegøjedue … Dutch: Afrikaanse Papegaaiduif … Estonian: aafrika viigituvi … Finnish: Afrikanviherkyyhky … French: Colombar à front nu, Colombar de la Guinée, Pigeon frugivore à face nue, Pigeon vert à front nu … German: Grüne Fruchttaube, Rotnasengrüntaube … Italian: Piccione verde africano … Japanese: afurikaaobato … Kwangali: Mpungu Huriti … Norwegian: Afrikagrønndue … Polish: treron krasnonosy … Portuguese: Pombo-verde-africano … Russian: ??????????? ??????? ?????? … Slovak: trerón figovníkový … Shona: Huriti … Siswant: Litubantfontfo … Spanish: Vinago Africano … Swedish: Afrikansk grönduva … Swahili: Ninga … Tswana: Leebamoru … Tsonga: Nghwamba … Xhosa: Intendekwane … Zulu: iJubantondo


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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