Ringneck Doves: A Handbook of Care and Breeding by Wade Oliver
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EXOTIC (WILD) DOVES - Cape Dove (Onea capensis)


Adult male: Forehead, face below the eye, throat and breast are black, giving the bird a mask-like appearance. The top of the head, nape, face behind the eye and the back of the neck are pale bluish-grey. Iris is blackish-brown. The orbital skin forms a narrow greyish eye-ring. The bill is reddish at the base and on the cere, however the tip is orange-yellow. Mantle, scapulars, tertials and inner secondaries, three innermost greater wing feathers and lesser wing feathers are pale sandy-brown. The back and rump are a duller greyish-brown grading to a blackish brown on the tips of the uppertail feathers, forming a narrow bar across the top of the tail. There are two narrow blackish-brown bands on the mid-back separated by narrow pale greyish band. The outer greater and median wing feathers are pale bluish-grey. If the wing is folded, the primary wing feathers are not visible. Primaries are dark brown with the top edged white. Extended, primary wing feathers show an extensive chestnut panel edged dull brown. The top of the outermost primary feathers are dull brown. The basal portion of the innerweb is bright rufous. Outerwebs of sixth to ninth primaries are edged brownish. The innerwebs are tipped dull brown but are steadily less so. The rest of the innerwebs are bright rufous. Five innermost primaries feahers are rufous with narrow brown tips. The three outermost secondaries are rufous with narrowly edged dull brown on the tips. The rest of the secondaries are increasingly pale, sandy-brown. Primary feathers are bright rufous with blackish subterminal spots, mainly on tops. The tail sharply graduates; inner feathers are greyish-brown, next pair have bluish-grey bases with black tips, and the following two pairs have bluish-grey bases with broad black. The outermost tail feathers with entire outerweb white, innerweb bluish-grey basally with subterminal black bands and terminal bluish grey-spot. The lower breast and belly, flanks and vent are clear snowy-white. Undertail feathers, undertail and wing linings are black. The feet and tarsi are purplish-red.

Adult female: Females lack the black mask of the male and therefore are similar in appearance to Turtur chalcospilos, T. abyssinicus and T. afer. The head is dull greyish-brown with whitish forehead, face and throat, obscure blackish postcular spot and dull brown line from gape to eye. The bill is uniformly purplish-brown. Otherwise the female is like the male but rather duller greyish-brown overall. The outer greater and median wing feathers are more greyish-brown.

Juvenile: Juveniles are generally pale greyish-brown. The head is greyish with pale edgings on the top. The face has the postocular blackish spot. The bill is dull grey on the base and cere with black at the tip.Some feathering above bands on back and uppertail coverts are buff tipped with black subterminal bands. Below, the juvenile is like the adult female. Wings are similar but duller than in adults. Innermost secondaries, tertials and scapulars are broadly tipped buff-brown with black subterminal bands on secondaries and tertials. Scapulars have only a black subterminal spot. The greater and median wing feathers are greyish brown, broadly tipped whitish with blackish subterminal black bands followed by buff bands. Inner wing feathers are a mix of white-edged grey feathers and black feathers broadly tipped buff.

Other Names:

Masked Dove, Namaqua Dove, Long-tailed Dove

Subspecies: O. c. capensis, O. c. aliena

Natural Habitat:

Arid and semi-arid habitats, moving to more humid regions when not breeding.

Status in Wild: Common to abundant


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Notes: Coo Audio File (male)

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