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red-eyed dove

Dove, Red-eyed

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Description

While it is called the red-eyed dove, the thin iris in the eyes of this dove can range from yellowish, to orange and orange-brown, to red. An alternative common name for this dove is the “half-collared dove” which at first seems like a much more apt name, as its most distinctive marking is a black half collar on the back of its neck. Unfortunately, there are more than 10 other species of dove that also have black half collars on the backs of their necks! The prevalence of this half collar across many species indicates that it may have some importance as a signal in socialization or courtship. The rest of the feathers on the red-eyed dove are differing shades of gray, with a lighter gray on the head and terminal ends of the undertail, a slate-gray on the wings, and a purplish-gray on the chest.

Cover photo: Adult red-eyed dove by Mark Pressler

 

Classification

Overview
The red-eyed dove is a bird in the columbid, or pigeon and dove family. A close relative in the genus Streptopelia, the Eurasian collared dove, was introduced to the Bahamas in 1974, spread to Florida, and has since exploded in population and can be found by the millions in every state in the continental US. These invasive doves are now commonly seen flying around Sonoma County.
Class
Aves
Order
Columbiformes
Family
Columbidae
Genus
Streptopelia
Species
S. semitorquata

Key Facts

Conservation Status
Least Concern
Lifespan
Insufficient data. Many columbids have a ~10 – 20 year lifespan
Height
11.8 in (30 cm)
Weight
5.7 – 10.9 oz (162 – 310 g)
Wingspan
Unknown

The IUCN Red List describes the red-eyed dove as a species of Least Concern, meaning conservationists around the world are not currently worried about the continuation of this species. The current population size is unknown, but this dove is described as common throughout most of Africa south of the Sahara desert, as well as in a small section of southwest Arabia.

Social Life
Little is known of the social life of the red-eyed dove. Pigeons and doves have a wide spectrum of sociality, ranging from being largely asocial to regularly flocking in large numbers. Most pigeons and doves form monogamous pair-bonds, at least for the extent of a single breeding season.

Habitat and Range
The red-eyed dove is considered a generalist and is capable of living in a wide range of habitats, but a trend running through most of these habitats is the presence of large trees and a nearby source of water. These doves are found in riparian woodlands and other dense woody thickets close to water sources, as well as forest edges and many human-altered habitats such as farmland, parks, and gardens in urban areas. They tend to avoid the interior of rainforests.

Red-eyed doves are found throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa, as well as a small section of southwestern Arabia. Some populations have been observed moving locally based on the rainy season, but this is a non-migratory species.

Diet
Being a generalist as far as habitat types also means the red-eyed dove is a generalist as far as diet, and can eat a wide variety of foods. A range of grains, seeds and berries are consumed, as well as some invertebrates such as termites. Most foraging happens on the ground, but some individuals have been seen plucking berries directly from trees.

Predators
It is unknown what the most common predators of the red-eyed dove are, but it is likely that most medium-sized carnivores in sub-Saharan Africa occasionally prey upon this bird. This includes smaller cats like the serval and caracal, civets and genets, mongooses, jackals, foxes, and honey badgers.

Reproduction
Sexual Maturity:   unknown, usually ~1 year in pigeons & doves
Mating Season:     patterns vary across its large range, but nesting has been observed in all months
Incubation:            ~14.5 days
Clutch Size:            usually 2, sometimes 1 egg

Information

Description

While it is called the red-eyed dove, the thin iris in the eyes of this dove can range from yellowish, to orange and orange-brown, to red. An alternative common name for this dove is the “half-collared dove” which at first seems like a much more apt name, as its most distinctive marking is a black half collar on the back of its neck. Unfortunately, there are more than 10 other species of dove that also have black half collars on the backs of their necks! The prevalence of this half collar across many species indicates that it may have some importance as a signal in socialization or courtship. The rest of the feathers on the red-eyed dove are differing shades of gray, with a lighter gray on the head and terminal ends of the undertail, a slate-gray on the wings, and a purplish-gray on the chest.

Cover photo: Adult red-eyed dove by Mark Pressler

 

Classification

Overview
The red-eyed dove is a bird in the columbid, or pigeon and dove family. A close relative in the genus Streptopelia, the Eurasian collared dove, was introduced to the Bahamas in 1974, spread to Florida, and has since exploded in population and can be found by the millions in every state in the continental US. These invasive doves are now commonly seen flying around Sonoma County.
Class
Aves
Order
Columbiformes
Family
Columbidae
Genus
Streptopelia
Species
S. semitorquata

Key Facts

Conservation Status
Least Concern
Lifespan
Insufficient data. Many columbids have a ~10 – 20 year lifespan
Height
11.8 in (30 cm)
Weight
5.7 – 10.9 oz (162 – 310 g)
Wingspan
Unknown

The IUCN Red List describes the red-eyed dove as a species of Least Concern, meaning conservationists around the world are not currently worried about the continuation of this species. The current population size is unknown, but this dove is described as common throughout most of Africa south of the Sahara desert, as well as in a small section of southwest Arabia.

Social Life
Little is known of the social life of the red-eyed dove. Pigeons and doves have a wide spectrum of sociality, ranging from being largely asocial to regularly flocking in large numbers. Most pigeons and doves form monogamous pair-bonds, at least for the extent of a single breeding season.

Habitat and Range
The red-eyed dove is considered a generalist and is capable of living in a wide range of habitats, but a trend running through most of these habitats is the presence of large trees and a nearby source of water. These doves are found in riparian woodlands and other dense woody thickets close to water sources, as well as forest edges and many human-altered habitats such as farmland, parks, and gardens in urban areas. They tend to avoid the interior of rainforests.

Red-eyed doves are found throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa, as well as a small section of southwestern Arabia. Some populations have been observed moving locally based on the rainy season, but this is a non-migratory species.

Diet
Being a generalist as far as habitat types also means the red-eyed dove is a generalist as far as diet, and can eat a wide variety of foods. A range of grains, seeds and berries are consumed, as well as some invertebrates such as termites. Most foraging happens on the ground, but some individuals have been seen plucking berries directly from trees.

Predators
It is unknown what the most common predators of the red-eyed dove are, but it is likely that most medium-sized carnivores in sub-Saharan Africa occasionally prey upon this bird. This includes smaller cats like the serval and caracal, civets and genets, mongooses, jackals, foxes, and honey badgers.

Reproduction
Sexual Maturity:   unknown, usually ~1 year in pigeons & doves
Mating Season:     patterns vary across its large range, but nesting has been observed in all months
Incubation:            ~14.5 days
Clutch Size:            usually 2, sometimes 1 egg

Adult red-eyed dove by Mark Pressler