Cover photo – BirdPix 112207 by Anthony Archer.
The Red-eyed dove is common in many areas of southern Africa, and has adapted well to living with humans.
It is a largish, stocky bird, with adults typically 30 cm in length. Its back, wings and tail are greyish to pale brown in colour. In flight one can observe a dark band with a pale edge on the tail feathers. The head and underparts are greyish pink, shading to pale grey on the face. They have a black collar on the back their neck. The legs and a patch of bare skin around the eye are red. Their call is a loud doo-doo-du-du, which can sound like they are singing “I am the red-eyed dove”.
Sexes are similar, but juveniles are duller than adults, and have scalloping on the body feathers.
It has adapted very well to the activities of humans, generally preferring woodland habitats, and especially alien tree plantations, with pine trees Pinus sp., Eucalyptus, Rooikrans Acacia cyclops or Port Jackson Acacia saligna.
The Red-eyed Dove occurs across most of sub-Saharan Africa. In southern Africa, it is common in northern Namibia, northern and south-eastern Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, eSwatini, Lesotho and South Africa. The SABAP2 distribution map below confirms its widespread range across all sorts of habitats within South Africa. It is largely absent from the Northern Cape Province due to the aridness of the area.
Red-eyed Doves usually forage on the ground under trees. They eat a wide variety of seeds, as well as flowers, nuts, fruit and the occasional insect. They readily visit gardens.
When breeding time comes around, the female usually makes the nest using material collected by the male. The nest consists of a 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 to January. Red-eyed Doves lay 1-2 eggs which are incubated by both parents for 14-17 days.
Its flight is quick, with regular wing beats and an occasional sharp flick of the wings, which are characteristic of pigeons and doves in general.
Species text from the first Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP1), 1997.
Virtual Museum (BirdPix > Search VM > By Scientific or Common Name).
More common names: Grootringduif (Afrikaans); Indlasidudu (Xhosa); iHophe (Zulu); Tourterelle à collier (French); Halbmondtaube (German).
Recommended citation format: Daniel KA and Loftie-Eaton M 2022. Red-eyed Dove Streptopelia semitorquata. Bird Feeder Project. Biodiversity and Development Institute. Available Online at http://thebdi.org/2022/08/18/red-eyed-dove-streptopelia-semitorquata/