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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Columbidae (pigeons and doves)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Columbiformes

Genera indigenous to southern Africa

Columba (pigeons)

Three native species and one naturalised species (Feral Pigeon Columba livia)

Treron (green pigeons)

One species of Green pigeon occurs in southern Africa: the African green pigeon Treron calvus.

The African green-pigeon is found from Senegal to east Africa, extending south to southern Africa, where it is fairly common in a wide variety of habitats. It mainly eats fruit, as well as very small quantities of seeds, flesh and even dry blood! The female builds the nest, using material gathered by the male. The nest is a flat platform of twigs and leaves, placed in the fork of a tree. It lays 1-2 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes, for 13-14 days, with the chicks staying in the nest for 11-13 days.

Aplopelia (Cinnamon Dove)

One species: Cinnamon dove Aplopelia larvata

The Lemon dove is fairly common in near-coastal South Africa, where it normally lives in leaf litter of indigenous forests. It feeds mainly on fallen seeds and fruit, as well as small quantities of invertebrates. Both sexes build the nest, which is a flat platform of twigs and rootlets, usually placed 2.5 metres above ground in a tree or creeper. It lays 1-3 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female, for 14-18 days. The chicks stay in the nest for 20 days, after which they remain with their parents for 2 months, before becoming independent.

Streptopelia (turtle doves)



3 Species indigenous to southern Africa: Blue-spotted wood-dove Turtur afer; Emerald-spotted wood-dove Turtur chalcospilos; and Tambourine Dove Turtur tympanistria.

Oena capensis (Namaqua Dove)

The Namaqua dove occurs across sub-Saharan Africa, occupying a wide variety of mostly arid habitats, such as Acacia savanna, arid shrubland, farmland and rural gardens. It eats almost exclusively seeds, doing most of its foraging on the ground, especially on gravel or on the edges of roads. The nest is a fragile saucer made mostly of twigs, usually placed about 1 metre above ground in a shrub, tree sapling or dead dead branch. It lays 1-2 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes, for 13-16 days. In one study, the chicks were brooded for the first 4-5 days of their lives, and remained in the nest for 16 days.