African Collared Dove
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African Collared Doves make interesting bird pets, which easily adjust to the human environment within a period of six months to one year. In most cases when you acquire avian pets they are not tamed but they slowly adapt to the environment and develop trust in you. The African collared dove is one of the most widely tamed dove. This is a calm, timid and relatively quiet avian pet that has over the years been adopted and tamed to live amicably with humans. There are innumerable success stories of dove pets in around the world and in particular this type of dove. These doves make loyal pets and always coo when they are in the company of the owners due to excitement.
Origin of African Collared Dove
The African Collared Dove origin can be traced to Africa and some parts of the Arab countries. In the taxonomy it is referred with the scientific name Streptopelia roseogrisea, which identifies its genus and species respectively. The precise origin is the dry Africa regions located south of Sahara Desert. It has also been thought to originate from some parts of Saudi Arabia. This dove is known for its semi collared neck that is comparable to that of Eurasian Collared dove.
In the breeding societies round the world, the Barbary dove is believed to be a progeny of either African collared dove or Eurasian Collared dove, but the wild ancestral reference is more to the former than the latter. Due to the ability of this dove to adapt to varying environments it has been introduced in many countries. Some of the most successful introduction has occurred in Australia, New Zealand and United States of America.
Differentiating the Two Species
The African collared dove is an averagely sized and is easily identified by its conspicuous neck collar. Unlike the Eurasian collared dove that is scientifically referred with the name Streptopelia decaocto, the collar on Streptopelia roseogrisea is bigger and darker in colour.
The second differentiating feature is the color of the vent in the two species. One of the other most conspicuous physical features of the former is the gray vent with some noticeable under tail coverts. The Grey vent clearly distinguishes the two species since the Eurasian dove has a white vent with similar under tail coverts.
Before you acquire a dove pet there are a number of important things that you need to put into consideration. Whether you are a dove watching enthusiast, a newbie dove breeder or an ordinary dove keeper, you should easily identify this dove with the following characteristics:
· The size measures approximately 25 -27centimeters or 10.24-10.63 inches in length. This is a relatively small dove that is mostly seen in places that have water pools.
· The mass is approximately 0.15 -0.16 Kg or 5.28-5.63 oz, with a wing length of approximately 16 cm in males that is slightly less in the females.
· The tail length is about 9.6-12.4 cm and the tarsal length is on average 2-3 cm
· The most noticeable characteristic is the dark or black semi collar that spans from the nape towards the front side of the neck. This is the characteristic that termed as ‘Collared’
· You will also notice that the torso is pale grayish to brown in color, while the wing has a bluish shade. The flight feathers are dark in color and a keen look reveals almost a black shade of the flight feathers. Under the wings you will see white coloration while the center of the grayish- brown with white strips.
· You will also observe that the dove’s head and neck are pinkish in color. The breast also bares a pink colour that diminishes to wards the chin and the belly.
· The male is slightly larger than the female a phenomenon commonly referred as sexual dimorphism across species.
· When identifying the doves using their color the young doves may not have the conspicuous features outline here and they may be easily confused with the other species
· Their communication is perfected in two clear utterances that start with ‘coo’ followed by a lengthy utterance that diminishes in strength ‘corrrrrrrrrrrrrrooooooo’
Important Physical Characteristic: Black crescent shaped ring on the neck
Places to Spot the Dove in the Wild
A good number of bird watching enthusiasts and breeders are well aware of the best places to spot doves. In brief, it may be a common occurrence to spot the African collared dove in the following places:
· Water pools
· Farming areas or Land
· Savannah and Scrub regions
African collared Dove Food
If you are going to keep these dives as pets it is important that you know what kind of food that they eat. In the natural environment the dove’s food comprises a wide range of seeds the favorite seeds being grass seeds and Castor seeds. They also feed on insects, berries, small plants and cultivated grains. Fundamentally they are herbivores that feed on grains, seeds, nuts and berries.
Dove pets will require you to have expansive knowledge on the right feeding regime to avoid any malnutrition conditions. Most commercial food or easily available food at home includes millet, wheat canary seed, black oil sunflower seed and grains. It is recommended that you supplement the diet with green leafy vegetable or fruits to make a balanced diet. Since birds require calcium it is important that you supplement calcium too.
One advantage of the dove pet over all other kinds of pets is its ability to eat a wide range of human table food. This makes him to be more like a member of the family. There are commercially available pellets that you can feed the dove on, though caution must be exercised during feeding to avoid making bird obese.
One of the most easily forgotten dietary requirements is the grit that is a fundamental for every bird to ease on the digestion process. The dove pet may not interact with the outside environment and provision of the grit will therefore be paramount.
Interesting Feeding Fact: They have the ability to drink water without tilting their heads like other birds. So they put their beaks in the water and drink like the humans.
It has been observed that this dove has the ability to reproduce with the Barbary doves resulting in diverse collared doves. The incidences of interbreeding though rare are likely to occur when the doves live within the same vicinity.
The breeding season of the is not on specific times of the year but it tends to vary depending with a number of factors, like all other species the prevalent climatic conditions and the availability of food are the major factors that influence the breeding patterns. Ordinarily the breeding is throughout the year. On average the dove produces two eggs every season that take fifteen days to hatch.
Some of the most interesting breeding observations include:
· The Stunning male behaviorthat is exhibited during courtship.
· This courtship behavior involves deep bowing towards the ground and ruffed feathers around the dove’s head, clapping of the wings during flight and rapid ascent.
· Two eggs are laid per season in an interval of about 24 -40 hours
· Both male and female share the responsibility of incubation in turns.
· Young ones are fledged for fifteen days before they are left on their own.
· Basically the parents are not so much involved in parentage like in other animals.
· The parents is shuns responsibility immediately after fifteen days of fledging.
· They migrate like other birds to look for food and water in other places.
Interesting Breeding Fact:It is commonly thought that these doves are Monogamous
The minimum recommended cage size is 18 inch cube structure possibly made of wire mesh or solid material with ample communication to the environment outside. This is the best cages size for an adult dove since it gives room for stretching wings. If you have a pair it is recommended that you opt for a larger cage than the minimum size.
The floor should be well covered with soft material and it should be easy to remove the litter frequently. Other additional feature to the housing may include the perches, food, water and grit containers. In breeding pair a nest box in the cage may be necessary.
In conclusion, the dove may take reasonably long time before they get used to you but they will soon get affectionate and slowly become your companion. This friendship can be nurture the more time you spend with them and feed them. Once they are fully tamed rarely will they stay away from their owner. They will perch on hands and shoulders of all the family members but will be very affectionate with one member of the family that they identify with.
Ultimately you will realize that a companion bird is much worth than other kind of pest since it is not only inexpensive to keep the bird but also requires little attention and care like dogs and cats. It’s time you gave the African collared dove the chance to be your perfect bird companion.
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