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I Dream Africa provides a comprehensive directory of activities, hot spots, top locations etc. in Namibia. Combined with the directory, I Dream Africa also provides tour packages allowing clients to experience Namibia at its best.
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Dove

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Doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere. There are 308 species worldwide and 7 species which occur in Namibia.

Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur


The European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur), also known as Turtle Dove, is a member of the bird family Columbidae, which includes the doves and pigeons.

It is a migratory species with a southern Palearctic range, including Turkey and north Africa, although it is rare in northern Scandinavia and Russia. It winters in southern Africa.

Smaller and slighter in build than other doves, the European Turtle Dove may be recognised by its browner colour, and the black-and-white-striped patch on the side of its neck. The tail is notable as the bird flies from the observer; it is wedge shaped, with a dark centre and white borders and tips. When viewed from below, this pattern, owing to the white under-tail coverts obscuring the dark bases, is a blackish chevron on a white ground. This can be seen when the bird stoops to drink and raises its spread tail.

The mature bird has the head, neck, flanks, and rump blue grey, and the wings cinnamon, mottled with black. The breast is vinaceous, the abdomen and under tail coverts are white. The bill is black, the legs and eye rims are red. The black and white patch on the side of the neck is absent in the browner and duller juvenile bird, which also has the legs brown.

It is a bird of open rather than dense woodlands, and frequently feeds on the ground. It will occasionally nest in large gardens, but is usually extremely timid, probably due to the heavy hunting pressure it faces during migration. The flight is often described as arrowy, but is not remarkably swift.

The nuptial flight, high and circling, is like that of the Common Wood Pigeon, but the undulations are less decided; it is accompanied by the whip-crack of the downward flicked wings. The arrival in spring is heralded by its purring song, a rather deep, vibrating “turrr, turrr”, from which the bird's name is derived. Despite the identical spelling, the "turtle" of the name, derived from Latin turtur, has no connection with the reptile; "turtle" in that case came originally from Late Latin tortuca.

Perhaps because of Biblical references (especially the well-known verse from the Song of Songs), its mournful voice, and the fact that it forms strong pair bonds, Turtle Doves have become emblems of devoted love. In the New Testament, two turtle doves are mentioned to have been sacrificed for the Birth of Jesus. In Renaissance Europe, the Turtle Dove was envisaged as the devoted partner of the Phoenix.

Turtle Doves also are featured in the song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas", as the gift "my true love gives to me" on the second day of Christmas. If added cumulatively, by the end of the song, the recipient has been given 22.

African Mourning Dove Streptopelia decipiens

The Mourning Collared Dove (Streptopelia decipiens) is a pigeon which is a widespread resident breeding bird in Africa south of the Sahara. Despite its name, it is not a close relative of the North American Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura. This species is common or abundant near water. They often mingle peacefully with other doves.

Description: The Mourning Collared Dove is a largish, stocky pigeon, up to 31 cm in length. Its back, wings and tail are pale brown. 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, the latter being a distinction from the similar but larger Red-eyed Dove. The call is a fast krrrrrrrr, oo-OO, oo.

Sexes are similar, but immatures are duller than adults, and have scalloping on the body feathers.

Behaviour: Adult on a nest near Lake Baringo, Kenya
The Mourning Collared Dove's flight is quick, with the regular beats and an occasional sharp flick of the wings which are characteristic of pigeons in general.

Diet and feeding: Mourning Collared Doves eat grass seeds, grains and other vegetation. They are quite terrestrial, and usually forage on the ground. Unlike several other species in this genus, they are quite gregarious and often feed in groups.

Reproduction: It builds a stick nest in a tree, often a mangrove, and lays two white eggs.

Red-eyed Dove Streptopelia semitorquata

The Red-eyed Dove (Streptopelia semitorquata) is a pigeon which is a widespread resident breeding bird in Africa south of the Sahara. It is a common, if not abundant, species in most habitats other than desert.

This species builds a stick nest in a tree and lays two white eggs. Its flight is quick, with the regular beats and an occasional sharp flick of the wings which are characteristic of pigeons in general.

Red-eyed Dove is a largish, stocky pigeon, typically 34cm in length. Its back, wings and tail are pale brown. When flying, it shows blackish flight feathers. The head and underparts are dark vinous-pink, shading to pale grey on the face. There is a black hind neck patch edged with white. The legs and a patch of bare skin around the eye are red. The call is a loud doo-doo-du-du.

Sexes are similar, but juveniles are duller than adults, and have scalloping on the body feathers.

Red-eyed Doves eat grass seeds, grains and other vegetation. They often forage on the ground.
Like several other species in this genus, they are not particularly gregarious and often feed alone or in pairs.

Ring-necked Dove Streptopelia capicola


The Ring-necked Dove (Streptopelia capicola), also known as the Cape Turtle Dove and the Half-Collared Dove, is a widespread and abundant bird in the bush, savannah, farmlands, and woodlands of southern and eastern Africa. Their name comes from a black patch of feathers on the back of their necks. The rest of their feathers are a pale brownish-grey, with darker colors on their backs. They also have white tips on the end of their tail feathers.

Appearance: Males and females look alike, although the males are slightly bigger. They are usually around 27–28 cm (11 in) in length.

Habitat: These doves are usually found alone or in pairs, although they do form larger flocks around sources of food and water, sometimes containing hundreds of birds. They are quite noisy in these groups, not only for the variety of calls they make throughout the day (and often into night), but also because their wings clap loudly when the birds take flight. Their usual call is a monotonous and high-pitched crooning sound, “Cooka-loo” which they repeat ten to thirty times. They have a second, cackling call that sounds like laughter. Because of the unusual sound of the birds' call, in the bush it is said that in the morning the call of the dove is saying 'work haaarder, work haaarder', and in the evening, the call is saying 'drink laaager, drink laaager'.

Ring-necked Doves rest in treetops during the night and forage for food on the ground. They drink mainly in the morning. They feed mainly on seeds, but they also eat insects on occasion, especially flying ants. When they walk on the ground, their heads bob with each small step.

Breeding: These doves breed at all times of the year, making flimsy nests from trees and rootlets in the forks of trees. They usually lay two creamy-white eggs per clutch, which are incubated for 15 days. The males sit on the eggs during the day, and the female at night. The chicks are ready to leave the nest after 14 days, and the adults are ready to breed again a week later. The male will continue to feed the young birds after the next eggs are laid.

Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis

The Laughing Dove (Stigmatopelia senegalensis) is a small pigeon which is a resident breeding bird in the tropics in Africa south of the Sahara, the Middle East and southern Asia east to India. In India it is also known as the Little Brown Dove. Probably as the result of stowaways from Africa or India, the bird is also found in a localised area of Western Australia — in and around Perth and Fremantle.

This species has recently been placed into the genus Stigmatopelia by some authorities following the studies of Johnson et al. (2001)[2], but actually the correct genus seems to be Spilopelia, established concurrently with Stigmatopelia but later given priority. The Spotted Dove (S. chinensis) is the Laughing Dove's closest living relative; though they are certainly not close-knit sister species, this scenario is well in line with the two species' molecular and behavioral peculiarities. Stigmatopelia would only apply if the two were considered a monotypic genus each, i.e. a rather radical splitting approach.

Description: The Laughing Dove is a long-tailed, slim pigeon, typically 25 centimeters in length. Its back, wings and tail are reddish-brown with blue-grey in the wings. In flight, the underwings are rich chestnut.

The head and underparts are pinkish, shading to whitish on the lower abdomen. There is black spotting on the throat. The legs are red. The chuckling call is a low oo-took-took-oo-roo, with the emphasis on the took-took. Occasionally a nasal scream at one-second intervals is produced in flight or when landing. Sexes are similar, but juveniles are more rufous than adults, and have reduced throat spotting.

It is a common and widespread species in scrub, dry farmland and habitation over a good deal of its range, often becoming very tame.

This species builds a stick nest in a tree and lays two white eggs. Its flight is quick, with the regular beats and an occasional sharp flick of the wings which are characteristic of pigeons in general.

Laughing Doves eat grass, seeds, grains, other vegetation and small insects. They are fairly terrestrial, foraging on the ground in grasslands and cultivation. They are not particularly gregarious, and are usually alone, or in pairs.

Emerald-spotted Wood Dove Turtur chalcospilos

The Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Turtur chalcospilos, is a pigeon which is a widespread and often abundant resident breeding bird in eastern Africa from Ethiopia to South Africa. It also occurs in a belt from northern Botswana west to northern Namibia, and in a narrow coastal strip through Angola to Gabon.

This is a species of open drier deciduous woodland and second growth. It is absent from evergreen rainforests and semidesert areas.

Description: Emerald-spotted Wood Dove is a small plump pigeon, typically 20 cm in length. Its back, hindneck, wings and tail are pale grey brown, and the folded wings have green metallic patches. There are blackish bands on the lower back and tail. The forehead, crown and nape are bluish grey, fading to pinkish grey on the throat. The underparts are mauve-pink, becoming whiter on the belly.

The bill of this dove is blackish with a red base. The sexes are similar, but the female may be slightly duller than the male. The immature has duller green spots and buff fringes to the feathers. When flying, Black-billed Wood Dove is told from this species by its bright chestnut underwings.

The call is in three parts: two soft long coos, followed by a series of slow descending coos lasting 10 seconds, and concluding with 4 seconds of rapid coos,which decrease in volume.

This species shows some geographical variation in plumage, but differences are clinal, and Emerald-spotted Wood Dove is now considered to be monotypic.

Behaviour: The Emerald-spotted Wood Dove builds a flimsy stick nest in a tree or shrub, and lays two cream-coloured eggs. Both sexes incubate for 13–17 days to hatching, and feed the squabs for 13–17 days to fledging. Many young birds are taken by mongooses and shrikes. The Emerald-spotted Wood Dove is not gregarious, but flocks may form at waterholes. This species usually forages on the ground for grass and other small seeds.

Namaqua Dove Oena capensis

The Namaqua Dove (Oena capensis) is a small pigeon. It is the only species in the genus Oena. .

Description: The Namaqua Dove is a tiny sparrow-sized pigeon, typically 22 cm in length with a 28–33 cm wingspan, and weighing 40g. It has a very long black tapered tail, and the size and shape have led to comparison with the Budgerigar. The plumage is mostly grey apart from a white belly, and chestnut primary feathers which are visible in flight.

The adult male has a black face, throat and breast, and a yellow and red beak. The adult female lacks the black and has a red-based grey bill. Young birds are dark blotched on the wings and shoulders, and otherwise resemble the females.

The song is a quiet, short, double hoo, higher on the longer second note kuh-whooo, mournful and frequently repeated.

Distribution: The dove is a widespread resident breeding bird in Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar with its range extending into the Arabian Peninsula southern Israel, Jordan and as far north as Turkey. It is found in near desert with acacia and bushes.

Behaviour: The dove is quite terrestrial, and usually forages on open ground and roadsides. The food is almost exclusively minute seeds, such as those of grasses, sedges and weeds. The bird not gregarious, being encountered singly or in pairs, though they may form larger flocks at waterholes. The flight is fast with clipped beats and a tendency to stay low. It builds a stick nest in a bush, and lays two white eggs, which are incubated for 16 days in typical pigeon fashion; the female at night and early morning and the male from mid morning till late afternoon.

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