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The Namaqua dove (Oena capensis) is a small pigeon. It is the only species in the genus Oena. The Madagascar endemic race is O. c. aliena.

Namaqua dove
Oena capensis -near Kambi ya Tembo, Arusha, Tanzania-8, crop.jpg
Male at Arusha, Tanzania
Namaqua dove, Oena capensis, at Mapungubwe National Park, Limpopo, South Africa (18085767542).jpg
Female at Mapungubwe National Park
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Columbiformes
Family: Columbidae
Genus: Oena
Swainson, 1837
O. capensis
Binomial name
Oena capensis
(Linnaeus, 1766)

Columba capensis Linnaeus, 1766


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 yellow and red beak and a black face, throat and breast. 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 and habitatEdit

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. The namaqua dove is prone to wander out its original range, it is now being recorded south asian countries. In pakistan this species is recorded near shore waters off Paradise Point, Karachi on Friday, 14 October 2016. In India a female namaqua dove is recorded at khijadiya bird sanctuary near jamnagar,gujarat on 17 December 2017[2]However, the bird is thought to be in trade in India, and a cage escapee can not be denied for its record from Western India.


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. It is 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.



  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Oena capensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ Trivedi A. and Trivedi K. 2018.Sighting of Namaqua Dove near Jamnagar, a first record for India. Flamingo 16(1):2-3

External linksEdit