Different Types of Doves

Written by derek m. kwait
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Different Types of Doves
Far from pure white, the laughing Dove of Africa is naturally camouflaged. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

The thought of doves commonly conjures images of pure white birds, bastions of peace and beauty. Pure white doves are only one rare type, however. Doves actually come in hundreds of varieties and colours from all over the world. Doves' colours range from dull greyish brown, to vivid tropical rainbows and everything in between.

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European, or Barbary, turtledoves are one of the most famous dove species, recognisable by their slight builds, brownish colour, black and white striped patches on the backs of their necks and most especially their wedge-shaped tails with dark centres and white borders and tips. Turtle doves come in many other varieties and are found all over the world, including the domesticated ringed turtle dove of America, the oriental turtle dove of central and Eastern Asia and the Madagascar turtle dove.


Ground doves, including the pygmy ground dove, blue ground dove, Peruvian ground dove, ruddy ground dove and bare-eyed ground dove, live in South America and the Caribbean. Males are typically blue-grey with red feet and yellowish beaks, except ruddy ground doves, which are a rusty brownish-red. Females and chicks usually look like duller versions of the males. Ground doves are very small and get their name from feeding mainly on seeds and small insects on the ground.


Collared doves, including the species half-collared doves, Indian ringnecks, Eurasian collared doves, ring-necked doves and ringneck doves, are mostly grey, white and black birds. They live all over the world, including Africa, Europe, India and the Americas.

Ringneck doves have been common as pets for at least 2,000 years. Some members of this species carry a mutation rendering them very white; these are the white doves commonly associated with magic acts.

Fruit Doves

Fruit doves, found in the East Indies, and including many species including the pink-headed fruit dove, rose crowned fruit dove, Jambu fruit dove, Wompoo fruit dove and beautiful fruit dove, are beautiful, tiny birds, each adorned in a cornucopia of colours. Male pink-headed fruit doves are found exclusively in less than 4,700 square miles of Indonesian forest, have purple-pink heads, with green beaks and bright orange eyes, with pink necks and throats bordered from below with a green- and black-outlined white band. Their upperparts are green and underparts grey. They have pink feet and yellow undertail covets.

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