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Streptopelia semitorquata (Red-eyed dove)

Grootringduif [Afrikaans]; Indlasidudu, Umakhulu [Xhosa]; iHophe (also applied to Cape Turtle dove) [Zulu]; Haikonda (generic term for turtle dove) [Kwangali]; Leebamosu, Leebana-khoroana (also applied to Cape turtle-dove and Laughing dove), Leebana [South Sotho]; Bvukutiva [Shona]; Khopola, Nyakopo [Tsonga]; Roodoogtortel [Dutch]; Tourterelle collier [French]; Halbmondtaube [German]; Rola-de-olhos-vermelhos [Portuguese]

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 > Family: Columbidae > Streptopelia

Streptopelia semitorquata (Red-eyed dove)

Red-eyed dove, Paarl Bird Sanctuary, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ]

The Red-eyed dove is common in many areas of southern Africa, and has adapted very well to living with humans. It lives in most types of woodland, especially alien tree plantations. It forages on the ground, looking for seeds, nuts and bulblets. It usually builds it own nest out of twigs and grass, but can also use stick nests made by other birds. The female lays 1-2 eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 14-17 days, after which the chicks hatch. The brood stays in the nest for 15-20 days, before leaving.

Distribution and habitat

Occurs across sub-Saharan Africa, including southern Africa, where it is common in northern Namibia, northern and south-eastern Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho and South Africa. It has adapted very well to the activities of humans, generally preferring woodland, especially alien tree plantations,with pines (Pinus) Eucalyptus, Rooikrans (Acacia cyclops) or Port Jackson willow (Acacia saligna).

Distribution of Red-eyed dove in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project ( Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Predators and parasites


It eats a wide range of seeds, as well as flowers, nuts, fruit and rarely insects. It forages on the ground, frequently under trees. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Plants
    • seeds:
      • cultivated plants
        • sorghum
        • maize
        • millet
        • cowpeas
        • sunflowers
      • grasses
      • Pennisetum typhoides (Bullrush millet)
      • Ricinus communis (Castor oil bush)
      • Croton (Crotons)
      • Acacia cyclops (Rooikrans)
      • other Acacia
    • fruits
      • Trema orientalis (Pigeonwood)
      • Lantan camara (Cherry-pie)
      • Vepris lanceolata (White-ironwood)
      • Maytenus (Silky-barks)
      • Morus alba (Mulberry)
      • discarded apple pulp at juice extraction factories
    • bulblets
      • Cyperus esculentus (Nut grass)
    • flowers
      • Erythrina latissima (Broad-leaved coral tree)
      • Toona ciliata (Indian-mahogany)
    • ground nuts
  • Invertebrates


  • The female usually makes the nest, using material collected by the male; it consists bowl of twigs lined with grass. It may also use nests of other birds, such as crows, thrushes and egrets.
  • Egg-laying season is year round, usually peaking from September-January.
  • It lays 1-2 eggs which are incubated by both parents for 14-17 days.
  • The chicks stay in the nest for 15-20 days.


Not threatened, in fact it has benefited greatly from human disturbance.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.