Imagine taking a step outside into your backyard. You are soothed by the cooing sound of doves around you. Doves are beautiful birds that live all over the world. They are related to what some people call “the rats of the sky.” In other words, pigeons.
In this article, we don’t focus on pigeons. Instead, we dive into doves and how we differ from the pigeon. By the end of the article, you will know more about how scientists classify doves and more about the notable types of doves worldwide.
How are the Types of Doves Classified
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Doves belong to a larger family of bird. Their scientific classification begins in the Animalia Kingdom. It extends down into the Chordata Phylum. They are in the Aves Class under which all birds fall.
All types of doves belong to the Columbidae family. Theirs is the only family under the larger Order Columbiformes.
Almost all the birds in this family have stout bodies with short necks and slender bills. Their lifestyle and diet influence this shape more than anything. Even though they live throughout the world, they share many characteristics.
It is often just as easy to identify that a bird is a dove in North America as in Madagascar.
The Columbidae family is quite large. It contains 344 species of both pigeons and doves divided into about 50 genera. While some of these birds have extensive populations, others have struggled to survive. That is way more than 13 species, and some entire genera have gone extinct over the millennia.
There are quite a few inaccuracies involved in the general classification of the Columbidae family. There are many issues that scientists take with how certain birds get classified. As we continue with DNA testing, it becomes clearer which genera these birds fit in.
We have stuck with the most typical subdivisions. We use the two subfamilies that include species we consider doves within the English language. This family has a great deal of contention surrounding it. Some researchers reclassify subclades as subfamilies. They further divide the most prominent dove family, Columbinae.
We are sticking with research and the classification system used by the University of Michigan circa 2020 from the Museum of Zoology. That is, instead of the research from John H Boyd published in 2007.
There has been some swapping back and forth, but reclassification takes time. As of the article’s publishing date, the classifications are as accurate as possible.
As you scroll further into the article, we break out the subfamilies and their genera that predominantly include doves. We highlight the best unique, beautiful, and interesting species among these genera.
The Difference Between Doves and Pigeons
The division between doves and pigeons is quite surprising and subjective. They share the same Family and many times the same Genera. That said, there is no scientific difference between these birds.
The main difference lies in the language that you speak. In English, we tend to group smaller species of Columbidae as doves and larger ones as pigeons. That isn’t consistent even in English, though.
English got the word ‘pigeon’ from the french originally, who got the word from the Latin word ‘pipio,’ meaning peeping chick. The word ‘dove’ comes from a Germanic word. The word had more to do with the bird’s flight pattern than its shape.
In other languages, birds that we think of as doves will be pigeons and vice versa. For this article, we have stuck with the words we use for the birds in English. Anything that we call a dove, in general, has found its way into this article. We reserve pigeons for another time.
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The Subfamilies of Doves and Notable Species
There is one primary subfamily that most doves fall into. That is the Columbinae. Otherwise, the Treroninae includes three other species of doves.
As we dig into each of these, we highlight the genera included in each of the families. Then, we take out some of the best of the best dove species. The types of doves we feature are those that are the most common as well as those that are interesting or unique.
Let’s get started!
1.0 Columbinae Subfamily
The Columbinae subfamily is the largest of the five, including all the known species of pigeons and doves. Out of these five, only the Columbinae and the Treroninae include birds we call doves.
Most of these genera only include one or two species, with a few exceptions that contain the majority of the birds.
The Chalcophaps genus includes three species of dove, collectively known as the Emerald Doves. These birds live throughout Australasia and Indomalaya.
1.1.1 Common Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica)
The Common Emerald Dove is the most stereotypical bird associated with this genus. They spread throughout all of India, into China and much of the Indonesian islands. Zoologists also call them Grey-capped Emerald Doves. In some areas of Indomalaya, they are more of a pigeon than a dove.
These birds have become so symbolic and widespread that they are the state bird of Tamil Nadu, one of the Indian states.
The western world first discovered these birds when George Edwards came to the area in 1743. It ended up in his book A Natural History of Uncommon Birds and became a symbol of India for many Europeans.
1.1.2 Pacific Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps longirostris)
The Pacific Emerald Dove also has the name the Brown-capped Emerald Dove. There isn’t much of a difference in the shades of the head caps of the indica species. Their coloring is generally quite similar and often results in them getting confused.
This species of dove lives throughout rainforests and wet woodlands. They are stocky doves with emerald wings and back. They are most common in Australia. There they are almost as common as the common pigeon is throughout Europe and North America.
1.1.3 Stephan’s Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps stephani)
The Stephan’s Emerald Dove is a less common species within this genus. They have less green on their wings. The female tends to be larger and primarily blue and grey. The male is much more colorful. It has a grey cap, green wings and varying grays, creams and browns on its body.
There are three species of bird in the Claravis genus. The genus has the general name of “colorful ground doves.” That can cover all three species, but they do break out into three beautiful and unique species.
1.2.1 Purple-Winged Ground Dove (Claravis godefrida)
The Purple-Winged Ground Dove is one of the lesser common species of doves. They fall under the critically endangered conservation status. Researchers estimate that there are only 50 to 249 individuals of this species left.
You are unlikely to see these since they are so rare. They are native to south-eastern Brazil in the Atlantic forest. Their range also extends into parts of Paraguay and Argentina. The wild bird trade and habitat loss are the primary causes of this bird’s endangerment.
1.2.2 Maroon-Chested Ground Dove (Claravis mondetoura)
There is not much known about the Maroon-chested ground dove since they live in relatively remote parts of the world. They are native to Central and South America throughout montane forests. That makes them pretty unique to the mountains in Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru. Although they are easy to spot, their conservation status is at Least Concern.
1.2.3 Blue Ground Dove (Claravis pretiosa)
The Blue Ground Dove is the most common and well-known species in this genus. They are one of the smallest tropical doves. Their range extends from the southern end of Mexico into Peru and Argentina.
The blue ground dove female is almost entirely red-brown. The male embodies the name better. They are varying shades of light and dark blue, a beautiful bird. The birds live in woodland areas that are more humid. Their range and population are the largest of any Claravis species.
The birds within the Columbina genus are all small doves that are endemic to the New World. These species range from the southern US throughout most of South America. You will often find these living in pairs or flocks in the open country. Most of these species have pinkish legs with some black-and-white wing patterns.
1.3.1 Common Ground Dove (Columbina passerina)
The Common Ground Dove is the most widely populated bird in this genus. They are common throughout most of the U.S., Central and South America, and the Caribbean. They spend most of their time walking on the ground, as do most ground doves. They do have the ability to fly.
This dove looks stereotypical for a dove species. They have pinkish heads and breasts. The rest of them are varying colors of pearl and brown. Quite a few subspecies are belonging to this species. Most of them are separated by geography and have slightly evolved away from the primary species.
1.3.2 Croaking Ground Dove (Columbina cruziana)
The Croaking Ground Dove has an outstanding bill. Instead of the small, brown color belonging to most doves, theirs is bright. The half closest to their face is bright orange leading into charcoal. The rest of their body looks like the Common Ground Dove. They also share a similar range.
1.3.3 Inca Dove (Columbina inca)
The Inca Dove is also called the Mexican Dove. A French surgeon first described it in 1847. The species has more of a slender body than most plump doves. Their feathers have a scaled pattern that is more common to ground doves. These birds are mostly brown with a slight pink tint. Their color pattern is meant more for camouflage than beauty.
1.3.4 Other Columbina Doves
- Ecuadorian Ground Dove (Columbina buckleyi)
- Blue-eyed Ground Dove (Columbina cyanopis)
- Plain-Breasted Ground Dove (Columbina minuta)
- Picui Ground Dove (Columbina picui)
- Scaled Dove (Columbina squammata)
- Ruddy Ground Dove (Columbina talpacoti)
Some researchers consider Gallicolumba as a small subfamily of doves. Yet, for the most part, they are classified as a genus under the Columbinae Subfamily. All these species live in the forests of the Philippines. They aren’t closely related to the ground doves covered above. Instead, their closest genetic relative is the Thick-billed Ground Pigeon, even though they are considered a dove.
There has been some debate over precisely what species belong in this genus. For the most part, the genus containers the bleeding-heart doves. These birds look as though they got stabbed in the breast. There are a couple that may also be extinct as they haven’t seen them since the 1990s.
1.4.1 Sulawesi Ground Dove (Gallicolumba tristigmata)
The Sulawesi Ground dove is one of the few in this genus that doesn’t have the typical red spot on its breast. Instead, they have a bright yellow breast and a large yellow spot on the top of their head. These beautiful birds also have a purple patch next to their ears. These spots make them look like they have headphones on.
This species is an elusive bird. The birds are endemic to Indonesia, primarily the rainforests of Sulawesi that is in Wallacea. Although they are difficult to spot, they are classed as Least Concern.
1.4.2 Luzon Bleeding-heart (Gallicolumba luzonica)
The Luzon Bleeding-Heart is a stereotypical member of this genus. They look like they have a stab wound in the neck. It is only an evolutionary development for survival. The rest of their body is greyish with black bands on the wings.
The name of this bird comes from its native region. They are endemic to Luzon, an island in the Philippines. They rarely leave the ground except when they nest and are quite shy.
1.4.3 Other Gallicolumba Species
- Cinnamon Ground Dove (Gallicolumba rufigula)
- Mindanao Bleeding-Heart (Gallicolumba crinigera)
- Mindoro Bleeding-Heart (Gallicolumba platenae)
- Negros Bleeding-Heart (Gallicolumba keayi)
- Sulu Bleeding-Heart (Gllicolbuma menagei)
The Geopelia genus is relatively small. It only containers five species of bird, three of which are very similar. Among these doves, the Zebra and Diamond Doves are common pets kept in captivity. The Zebra Dove is the type species of these ground doves.
All these doves are long-tailed, differentiating them from some other ground species. They are native to Australasia and live in the open country.
1.5.1 Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata)
The Zebra Dove is the type species for this genus. They get their name from their zebra-like stripes that extend from their neck to their wings. Other than that black-and-white barring, they are shades of brown.
These doves are a pleasant breed, which is why they are often pets. They have a soft, staccato call. Their cooing is quite calming, even if they aren’t one of the most beautiful doves. They don’t have an extensive native range but have been introduced to many other areas. They used to live in Indomalaysia and now live in Mauritius, Hawaii, Borneo, and other islands with similar climates.
1.5.2 Diamond Dove (Geopelia cuneata)
The Diamond Dove is another common species in this genus. They are very common in Australia, where they like to live near water. They are one of Australia’s smallest doves. Their common name, Diamond, comes from the white speckles that rest across their wings.
These doves are most often seen on the ground, waddling around. They have a soft coo and some falsetto calls, depending on what they are trying to say. They mainly eat seeds but also pick away at ants.
1.5.3 Other Geopelia Species
- Peaceful Dove (Geopelia placida)
- Barred Dove (Geopelia maugeus)
- Bar-Shouldered Dove (Geopelia humeralis)
The Geotrygon genus is called quail-doves. They all live in the neotropics, from Mexico to the West Indies. This is another genus that are ground-dwelling birds for the most part.
The Geotrygon family might be called droves in English. Their Greek name would say otherwise. Geo- is ancient Greek for “ground,” and “treron” means “pigeon.” Since we call them doves, they have waddled their way into this article.
1.6.1 Crested Quail-Dove (Geotrygon versicolor)
This bird is the type species for the Geotrygon genus. They are endemic to Jamaica but live in a variety of subtropical montane forests. As time has gone on, they have dropped from Least Concern into Near Threatened. Their populations continue to decrease due to habitat loss.
These birds are varying shades of purple with spots of yellow on their body and cheek. They have a slim, curved beak. It is perfect for eating their diet of tiny grass seeds and berries.
1.6.2 Key West Quail-Dove (Geotrygon chrysia)
The Key West quail-dove is beautiful with its stunning colors. They are endemic to the Bahamas, except Jamaica. For years, they would breed in the Florida Keys. It is because of this they received their common name. Due to climate and habitat change, they no longer breed there. They are still rarely seen in the keys as a vagrant, but it is rarer.
These birds have a dark, rusty-colored back with similar colors on their wings. They have amethyst shades and greens on their crown and neck. On their tall and mantle, they shine with a purple iridescent color. It is easy to identify them because of their bold white stripe on their face under the eye.
1.6.3 Other Geotrygon Doves
- Grey-fronted Quail-Dove (Geotrygon caniceps)
- Puerto Rican Quail-Dove (Geotrygon larva) *extinct
- White-fronted Quail-Dove (Geotrygon leucometopius)
- Ruddy Quail-Dove (Geotrygon montana)
- Bridled Quail-Dove (Geotrygon mystacea)
- Purple Quail-Dove (Geotrygon pupurata)
- Sapphire Quail-Dove (Geotrygon saphirina)
- Violaceous Quail-Dove (Geotrygon violacea)
The Leptotila birds are ground-foraging doves, like many other Columbidae species. They range throughout the Americas. These birds fall under the subclade Zenaidini. Their closest relatives are the Zentrygon and Zenaida species. There are 11 total species in this genus.
1.7.1 White-tipped Dove (Leptotila verreauxi)
The White-Tipped Dove is a tropical bird. Their scientific name remembers the French naturalists that first recorded the genus. These doves fall under Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. They have a wider range. It includes southern Texas all the way down to southern South America.
This species has such a wide geographic range. That is why several species split off from the main White-tipped Dove. They all live in scrub, forests, and woodlands. These birds are pretty easy to confuse with other doves. Most of their body is grey with a red or blue eye-ring.
1.7.2 Grenada Dove (Leptotila wellsi)
The Grenada Dove is the national bird of Grenada. Even so, they are one of the most critically endangered dove species throughout the world. They also have the names “Pea Dove” and the “Well’s Dove.”
These birds look pretty similar to the other doves in the genus. They are so endangered because of habitat loss. The species hails back from the end of the Pleistocene era. They lived in dry forests or xeric scrub ecosystems. These have vastly changed since this era, and there are few left in the world.
1.7.3 Other Leptotila Species
- Yungas Dove (Leptotila megalura)
- Grey-fronted Dove (Leptotila rufaxilla)
- Grey-headed Dove (Leptotila plumbeiceps)
- Pallid Dove (Leptotila pallida)
- Azuera Dove (Leptotila battyi)
- Caribbean Dove (Leptotila jamaicensis)
- Grey-chested Dove (Leptotila cassinii)
- Ochre-bellied Dove (Leptotila ochraceiventris)
- Tolima Dove (Leptotila conoveri)
The Macropygia genus is one of the three genera that are called cuckoo-doves. This genus is long-tailed and mostly has brown plumage. These birds are most common throughout Indomalaysia and Australia.
William John Swainson was the first to introduce them, an English naturalist in the 1800s. He gave them the name Macropygia, which breaks apart Ancient Greek to mean “long-rumped” for their long tails.
There are also two extinct species within this genus. They include the Huahine Cuckoo-dove and the Marquesan Cuckoo-dove.
1.8.1 Brown cuckoo-dove (Macropygia phasianella)
The Brown cuckoo-dove is the type species of this genus. They are varying shades of tan and brown all over their body. They live throughout Australia.
Their common names can be somewhat confusing. They can also be called the “brown pigeon” or even “pheasant pigeon.” That is confusing since there are actual pheasant pigeons that it can be confused with if not careful.
These birds might be the type species now. At the outset, they were one species grouped with the slender-billed cuckoo-dove. In 2016, researchers split this species into three separate species. One of which is the Brown cuckoo-dove.
1.8.2 Ruddy Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia emiliana)
The Ruddy cuckoo-dove is another member of the Macropygia genus. These birds look very similar in shape and size to the Brown cuckoo-dove. The difference is the shade of their plumage. While many cuckoo-doves are a tan, dirty brown, the ruddy cuckoo-dove is a rusty brown.
The gleaming orange-ish plumage makes them one of the more attractive species in this genus. They live throughout Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia. These birds are Least Concern in the IUCN Red List.
1.8.3 Other Macropygia Species
- Amboyna cuckoo-dove (Macropygia amboinensis)
- Philippine cuckoo-dove (Macropygia tenuirostris)
- Sultan’s cuckoo-dove (Macropygia doreya)
- Tanimbar cuckoo-dove (Macropygia timorlaoensis)
- Enggano cuckoo-dove (Macropygia cinnamomea)
- Barusan cuckoo-dove (Macropygia modiglianii)
- Bar-tailed cuckoo-dove (Macropygia nigrirostris)
- Timor cuckoo-dove (Macropygia magna)
- Flores Sea cuckoo-dove (Macropygia macassariensis)
- Barred Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia unchall)
- Andaman cuckoo-dove (Macropygia rufipennis)
- MacKinlay’s cuckoo-dove (Macropygia mackinlayi)
- Little cuckoo-dove (Macropygia ruficeps)
The Metriopelia genus isn’t one of the most well-known or studied birds in the dove family. They solely inhabit the upland habitats that are pretty arid in the Andean mountains. The chain extends throughout most of the Western side of the country.
For the most part, the birds in this genus have large wings to fly effectively in thinner air. They also tend to have characteristic orange skin around their eyes.
1.9.1 Black-Winged Ground Dove (Metriopelia melanoptera)
The Black-winged ground dove is the type species for this genus. Their native area extends from Argentina and Bolivia into Peru and Ecuador. They enjoy natural habitats with high humidity. They also live in tropical climates in mountain forests or high-altitude shrubland.
These birds are primary blue-grey and have a black tail and wingtips. They do have the stereotypical orange around the eyes as well.
1.9.2 Other Metriopelia Species
- Bare-faced ground dove (Metriopelia ceciliae)
- Golden-spoteed ground dove (Metriopelia aymara)
- Moreno’s ground dove (Metriopelia moenoi)
There is only one species that belong to this genus, the Namaqua Dove. It appears quite different from the shape and stature that most doves share. This difference is likely because of its distribution. Many dove species are endemic to Australasia and the Americas. This species is found instead over most of Sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, and Arabia.
1.10.1 Namaqua Dove (Oena capensis)
The Namaqua dove is the only species that belong to this genus. Their closest relations in the entire family are the doves within the genus Turtur. There is even some evidence that suggests these doves would better suit that genus than holding their own.
These birds are a tiny species, close to a sparrow’s size than a typical dove. They have a very long tapered tail. This tail is black, and they have a grey body with chestnut feathers. It is easy to tell the male and female of this breed apart. The male has a black face with a red and yellow beak. The females don’t have the black and have a grey bill based in red.
There are two subspecies recognized in this species. Those that live in Madagascar are separated from the rest spread throughout Arabia and Africa.
The Reinwardtoena genus is another one of those that have cuckoo-doves in them. This is a small dove genus. You can find them in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and the Solomon Islands. Charles Lucien Bonaparte, a French naturalist, introduced them to the greater world. The genus commemorates Caspar Georg Carl Reinwardt, a German naturalist, instead.
1.11.1 Great Cuckoo-dove (Reinwardtoena reinwardti)
The Great cuckoo-dove is the type species in this genus. The bird is another long-tailed dove, more colorful than the Brown cuckoo-dove. They have a grey-white head and chest. Their wings and body start in black and fade into a rusty red color. Their tail is also red.
These cuckoo-doves live in the Maluka Islands and New Guinea. They make their sparse nests on rocks near waterfalls. Their flight and calls were instrumental in the culture of native Papau New Guinean tribes. They even created a dance reflecting this flight in the beat of the Kaluli drummers.
1.11.2 Other Reinwardtoena Species
- Pied cuckoo-dove (Reinwardtoena browni)
- Crested cuckoo-dove (Reinwardtoena crassirostris)
The Starnoenas genus is another one of those that have only one species that belong to it. The bird is separated from almost any other pigeon or dove. As such, they have evolved differently. That is why they are monotypic within their genus.
1.12.1 Blue-Headed Quail-Dove (Starnoenas cyanocephala)
The Blue-headed quail-dove is native to Cuba. These birds do appear to be a unique visual cross between a quail and a dove. They are on the IUCN Red list due to decreasing habitat. Eleazer Albin first described these birds in 1734.
It was exciting when DNA studies found that these birds were more closely related to Australasian species than New World species. The birds are a terrestrial species. They have a cinnamon-brown body and a light blue crown. They also have black and white facial stripes and mottling on their sides.
The Streptopelia species contain some of the more well-known species throughout the western world. The genus contains the collared doves and turtle doves. These species are notable throughout all Europe and the U.S.
Most of these species have pearly brown bodies with slightly pink chests and bellies. Many of them have a black-and-white patch on the neck. This spot functions as an immediate genus identifier.
1.13.1 European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur)
The European Turtle Dove is one of many species in this larger genus. They live throughout North Africa but will migrate to the sub-Saharan for winter.
These birds are somewhat easy to identify. They have red skin around their eyes. Their body is mostly light brown. On the back of their neck are stripes of black and white. Their wings are chestnut and deep brown. Altogether, it is quite a textured species. They are also a vulnerable species on the IUCN list.
1.13.2 Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
The Eurasian collared dove is a native species to most of Europe and Asia. They have become much more widespread over the years. This species is quite hardy and populates areas quickly. It has been introduced to the Caribbean and North America. Its high global population earns it the status of Least Concern.
These doves are pretty eye-catching. They have a pearly-brown body and head. It’s the black and white dash on the back of their neck that pops. Unfortunately, zoologists do consider these birds to be an invasive species in North America.
1.13.3 Other Streptopelia Species
- Dusky turtle dove (Streptopelia lugens)
- Adamawa turtle dove (Streptopelia hypopyrrha)
- Mourning collared dove (Streptopelia decipiens)
- Oriental turtle dove (Streptopelia orientalis)
- Sunda collared dove (Streptopelia bitorquata)
- Red-eyed dove (Streptopelia semitorquata)
- Philippine collared dove (Streptopelia dusumieri)
- Ring-necked dove (Streptopelia capicola)
- African collared dove (Streptopelia roseogrisea)
- Vinaceous dove (Streptopelia vinacea)
- White-winged collared dove (Streptopelia reichenowi)
- Red collared dove (Streptopelia tranquebarica)
This genus contains two species of dove, both of which are unusually beautiful. These birds are endemic to Indonesia, but you will find them in zoos worldwide.
1.14.1 White-Faced Cuckoo-Dove (Turacoena manadensis)
The White-faced cuckoo-dove has a brilliant body and a white face. They have longer, thick tail feathers as well. Their bodies are hues of blues, greens, and purples that shimmer in the sun. These birds are pretty elusive, so it is rare to see one outside of a zoo.
The Turtur genus is called wood doves. The Dutch naturalist Pieter Boddaert first introduced these birds in 1783. At first, there was only the Blue-spotted wood dove that made up this genus. Later on, zoologists added four more species to bring the genus total up to five.
1.15.1 Black-Billed Wood Dove (Turtur abyssinicus)
The Black-billed wood dove has a wide range over the majority of Africa. They live in areas on the outskirts of desert-like savannah and scrubland. You can most often find them nesting in Acacia trees. These plump pigeons have a black band on their bank, a black bill, and black spots on their wings.
1.15.2 Tambourine Dove (Turtur tympanistria)
We feature the Tambourine dove on our list because of its widespread population. It lives throughout Africa and its distinctive coloration. These birds appreciate habitats like woodlands, gardens and plantations. Even while living near human development, they are pretty shy.
These doves have a darker brown upper body contrasted by a bright white chest and stomach. They have large purple patches on their wings, and their bill is also purple. The dove gets its common name from its call, a persistent du-du-du-du-du.
1.15.3 Other Turtur Species
- Emerald-spotted wood dove (Turtur chalcospilos)
- Blue-spotted wood dove (Turtur afer)
- Blue-headed wood dove (Turtur brehmeri)
The Uropelia genus only containers one species.
1.16.1 Long-Tailed Ground Dove (Uropelia campestris)
The Long-tailed ground dove is the only species in this family. It does appear quite different from other doves. It looks more like a cross between a dove and a sparrow. Its body is small. It has a bright yellow circle around its eyes and yellow feet. It has a light tan body with black and white speckles on its wings.
These birds live in the cerrano in Brazil and Bolivia. Their area is a tropical savanna that is quite dry but gets seasonally flooded.
The Zenaida genus commemorates the wife of the French naturalist Charles Lucien Bonaparte. The type species of this genus is the Zenaida dove. The genus has an interesting genetic relationship to other genera of doves and pigeons. These include the Zentrygon, Leptotila, and Leptotrygon. DNA testing still gets used to provide a better idea of their relationship.
1.17.1 Zenaida Dove (Zenaida aurita)
The Zenaida Dove isn’t only the type species of the genus. It is also the national bird of Anguilla. Although not in English, these birds are locally called turtle doves. These doves only live in the Caribbean and throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. They tend to live in areas like the Petenes mangroves.
Although these doves don’t have a vast range, they have a widespread population. That is why it is common to hunt them as game birds throughout Florida.
1.17.2 Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)
The Mourning Dove, perhaps one of the best-known North American doves, also belongs to this genus. This species is another popular game bird throughout all of North America. The birds have many familiar names. These include Rain Dove, Turtle Dove, Carolina pigeon, and the Carolina turtledove.
In warm areas, this bird is a prolific breeder, which allows it to maintain its population. In North America, between 20 to 70 million of these birds get shot each year. Still, their population remains in the Least Concern status.
1.17.3 Other Zenaida Species
- White-winged dove (Zenaida asiatica)
- Eared dove (Zenaida auriculata)
- Socorro dove (Zenaida graysoni) *extinct in the wild
- West Peruvian dove (Zenaida meloda)
2.0 Treroninae Subfamily
As we have seen, the Columbinae subfamily contains the vast majority of the species and populations of doves worldwide. There are five total subfamilies under the Columbidae banner. The only other one that houses doves is the Treroninae. Out of the ten genera in the family, only three of them contain doves.
The Drepanoptila genera only have one species that is Near Threatened. These birds arguably don’t even look like doves in their coloration. Bright colors are standard on doves and pigeons within the Treroninae subfamily.
2.1.1 Cloven-feathered Dove (Drepanoptila holosericea)
The cloven-feathered dove is the monotypic species within this genus. Zoologists argue that they should group them with the Ptilinopus species. They have yet maintained their genus.
These birds live in the forests of New Caledonia. Almost their entire body is green with yellow spattered on the stomach and tail feathers. They have a white band that extends around their chest. Habitat degradation and hunting harm their population, which is now less than 140,000 birds.
The species within the Phapiteron genus defy the subfamily’s stereotype by being almost entirely brown. They are endemic to most of the Philippines and live in the trees. That fact differentiates them from the many other ground-dwelling species in this part of the world.
2.2.1 White-Eared Brown Dove (Phapitreron leucotis)
Four species fall into this genus. The white-eared brown dove is the type species in this genus. The bird has red feet, the most colorful part of its body. They also have slightly blue beaks and a white line under their eyes.
2.2.2. Other Phapitreron Types of Doves
- Amethyst Brown Dove (Phapitreron amethystinus)
- Tawitawi Brown Dove (Phapitreron cinereiceps)
- Mindanao Brown Dove (Phapitreron brunneiceps)
The Ptilinopus is the largest genus of doves. You will often find these birds kept in captivity due to their beauty. Almost all these species are beautiful and run the gamut of colors. Their plumage ranges from bright green to orange and pink.
These doves are almost all called fruit doves. There are 55 total species and many more subspecies that break out from that, some of which are extinct. These doves mostly live in tropical areas and forests.
2.3.1 Rose-Crowned Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus regina)
The Rose-Crowned Fruit Dove is the type species in this genus. It embodies many of the individual colors seen on the birds in this genus. They have a rose-colored crown, as their name suggests. Their chest and stomach are all shades of orange, pink, blue, and green.
The Rose-Crowned Fruit Dove has a wide range throughout Australia and parts of Indonesia. They are pretty standard throughout this area which puts them as Least Concern.
2.3.2 Orange Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus victor)
The Orange Fruit Dove has another common name as well, the flame dove. They are short-tailed dove and one of the most colorful of the fruit doves. The males have olive heads, and their bodies are all bright orange. The females are dark green from head to tail. They have orange-yellow undertails. Their body feathers are almost hair-like, a unique feature of this bird.
The Orange Fruit Dove is another that falls into the IUCN Least Concern group. They are endemic to most of the islands of Fiji. This species is allopatric, meaning they are geographically separated from other species.
2.3.3 Other Ptilinopus Species
- Banded fruit dove (Ptilinopus cinctus)
- Black-banded fruit dove (Ptilinopus alligator)
- Red-naped fruit dove (Ptilinopus dohertyi)
- Pink-headed fruit dove (Ptilinopus porphyreus)
- Flame-breasted fruit dove (Ptilinopus marchei)
- Cream-breasted fruit dove (Ptilinopus merrilli)
- Yellow-breasted fruit dove (Ptilinopus occipitalis)
- Red-eared fruit dove (Ptilinopus fischeri)
- Jambu fruit dove (Ptilinopus jambu)
- Banggai fruit dove (Ptilinopus subgularis)
- Oberholser’s fruit dove (Ptilinopus epia)
- Sula fruit dove (Ptilinopus mangoliensis)
- Black-chinned fruit dove (Ptilinopus leclancheri)
- Scarlet-breasted fruit dove (Ptilinopus bernsteinii)
- Wompoo fruit dove (Ptilinopus magnificus)
- Pink-spotted fruit dove (Ptilinopus perlatus)
- Ornate fruit dove (Ptilinopus ornatus)
- Tanna fruit dove (Ptilinopus tannensis)
- Orange-fronted fruit dove (Ptilinopus aurantiifrons)
- Wallace’s fruit dove (Ptilinopus wallacii)
- Superb fruit dove (Ptilinopus superbus)
- Many-colored fruit dove (Ptilinopus perousii)
- Crimson-crowned fruit dove (Ptilinopus porphyraceus)
- Purple-capped fruit dove (Ptilinopus ponapensis)
- Kosrae fruit dove (Ptilinopus hernsheimi)
- Palau fruit dove (Ptilinopus pelewensis)
- Lilac-crowned fruit dove (Ptilinopus rarotongensis)
- Mariana fruit dove (Ptilinopus roseicapilla)
- Silver-capped fruit dove (Ptilinopus richardsii)
- Grey-green fruit dove (Ptilinopus purpuratus)
- Raiatea fruit-dove (Ptilinopus purpuratus chrysogaster)
- Makatea fruit dove (Ptilinopus chalcurus)
- Atoll fruit dove (Ptilinopus coralensis)
- Red-bellied fruit dove (Ptilinopus greyi)
- Rapa fruit dove (Ptilinopus huttoni)
- White-capped fruit dove (Ptilinopus dupetithouarsii)
- Red-moustached fruit dove (Ptilinopus mercierii) *extinct
- Henderson fruit dove (Ptilinopus insularis)
- Coroneted fruit dove (Ptilinopus coronulatus)
- Beautiful fruit dove (Ptilinopus pulchellus)
- Blue-capped fruit dove (Ptilinopus monacha)
- White-bibbed fruit dove (Ptilinopus rivoli)
- Yellow-bibbed fruit dove (Ptilinopus solomonensis)
- Claret-breasted fruit dove (Ptilinopus viridis)
- White-headed fruit dove (Ptilinopus eugeniae)
- Lompobattang fruit-dove (Ptilinopus meridionalis)
- Orange-bellied fruit dove (Ptilinopus iozonus)
- Knob-billed fruit dove (Ptilinopus insolitus)
- Grey-headed fruit dove (Ptilinopus hyogaster)
- Carunculated fruit dove (Ptilinopus granulifrons)
- Black-naped fruit dove (Ptilinopus melanospilus)
- Dwarf fruit dove (Ptilinopus nainus)
- Negros fruit dove (Ptilinopus arcanus) *possibly extinct
- Golden fruit dove (Ptilinopus luteovirens)
- Whistling fruit dove (Ptilinopus layardi)
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Interesting Facts about Doves
There aren’t many families of birds similar in shape and size as that of the doves and pigeons. There are hundreds of species of dove, but they aren’t vastly different. They even share the same diet for the most part.
Most doves eat a variety of berries, grains and seeds. It is less common, but they will sometimes eat insects and snails as well.
2|Mourning doves are one of the few migratory species.
There are dove species spread throughout almost every part of the world. For the most part, doves have an affinity for warm tropical areas. Since the mourning dove lives throughout the U.S. During the winter, they are one of the few doves that migrate to stay safe and warm.
3|Flocks of doves live by a dominance hierarchy.
There are a few species of doves that are solitary creatures. Some only live with their mate. There are many more that exist within large flocks. As we know, there is safety in numbers!
The doves that live in flocks, sometimes up into the thousands, live by a hierarchy. There are dominance hierarchies throughout almost every animal group and even people. It is easiest to spot the hierarchical positions when they roost together at night.
|Geopelia cuneata (Latham, 1801)|
Dove Colors and Markings
The most commonly recognized pet dove colors are white, gray, or a combination of the two, with various species-specific markings. The eyes are black, the bill is black, and the feet are dark purple. Males and females look alike, although males are slightly larger.
Barbary doves (Streptopelia risoria), also known as ringneck doves, carry a mutation that makes them completely white. These white Barbary doves are most commonly used in stage magic acts. White Barbary doves are sometimes released in large public ceremonies as a peace symbol, and at weddings and funerals.
The largest range of any species is that of the rock dove. This species had a large natural distribution from Britain and Ireland to northern Africa, across Europe, Arabia, Central Asia, India, the Himalayas and up into China and Mongolia.
How to Identify Birds: The Mourning Dove - YouTube