Cover image by Gregg Darling – BirdPix 46904
This is a large pigeon at 41 cm in length. Its back and wings are reddish-brown, the latter heavily speckled with white spots. The rest of the upperparts and underparts are blue-grey, and the head is grey with prominent red patches around the eye. The neck is brownish, streaked with white, and the legs are red. Sexes are similar, but juveniles are browner than adults and lack the red eye patches. The call is a loud doo-doo-doo.
The Speckled Pigeon is common throughout most of South Africa, except for the lowveld (eastern and northern South Africa) and the coast of KwaZulu-Natal Province.
The Speckled Pigeon is common across southern Africa, especially in South Africa. It usually prefers rocky, mountainous areas with cliffs and gorges, but it can also be found near buildings and in gardens.
It feeds mostly on seeds, rarely eating small fruits and flowers. It typically forages on the ground, usually on farmland, lawns or roads. They can gather in large numbers, especially agricultural fields, where grain or groundnuts are available.
The Speckled Pigeon builds its own nest, with the male collecting material and giving it to the female, who then puts it into the nest. This consists of a collection of twigs, grass, herbs and sometimes wire and nails. The nest is usually built on cliff ledges, in caves, gullies, or often in buildings.
Breeding takes place year round. The female lays 1-3 eggs which both parents incubate in shifts for about 15 days. The chicks are brooded for the first six days of their lives, after which brooding ceases. The nestling period is highly variable depending on the environment, ranging from 21-37 days.
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: Kransduif (Afrikaans); Ivukuthu (Xhosa); iVukuthu (Zulu); Gespikkelde Duif (Dutch); Guineataube (German).
Recommended citation format: Loftie-Eaton M and Daniel KA 2022. Speckled Pigeon Columba guinea. Bird Feeder Project. Biodiversity and Development Institute. Available Online at http://thebdi.org/2022/11/07/speckled-pigeon-columba-guinea/