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2011-08-03
African mourning Dove - Streptopelia decipiens - not a close relative of the Mourning Dove - Zenaida macroura


The African mourning Dove - Streptopelia decipiens - is a fairly widespread resident breeding bird in sub Saharian Africa. In South Africa it is only found in the far north eastern part of the country. It is not a close relative of the Mourning Dove - Zenaida macroura - common in North America. 

It is a large, stocky dove, with pale brown back, wings and tail. The head is grey and the underparts are pink, shading to pale grey on the belly. 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. Sexes are similar.

It forages on the ground, mainly feeding on seeds, supplemented with insects and fruit.

In Southern Africa these doves breed throughout the year peaking in August and September. The male brings Twigs rootlets and leaves to the female who builds the nest. One to two white eggs are laid which are incubated for between 12 and 14 days and the chicks remain in the nest for between  15 to 18 days.

 This species is common or abundant near water.


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