Backyard BirdsUncategorized

African Mourning Doves

The African Mourning Doves (Streptopelia decipiens) are widespread in Africa south of the Sahara. Notwithstanding their common name, this species is not a close relative of the North American Mourning Dove.

They are quite common or abundant near water. Its flight is quick, with the regular beats and an occasional sharp flick of the wings which are characteristic of pigeons in general.


The African Mourning Dove measures up to 31cm in length (including the tail).

The back, wings and tail are pale brown. The head is grey and the underparts are pinkish, shading to pale grey on the abdomen. 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.

Males and females look alike, but immatures are duller than adults and have scalloping on the body feathers.

Further Dove Information

Nesting / Breeding

Their stick nest placed in trees, often mangroves. The average clutch consists of two white eggs.

Diet / Feeding

African Mourning Doves feed on grass seeds, grains and other vegetation. They usually forage on the ground, and often in groups.

Calls / Vocalizations

The calls are described as a fast krrrrrrrr, oo-OO, oo.


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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