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Speckled pigeon

Scientific Name: Columba guinea

Speckled pigeons are members of the dove and pigeon family. Both male and female speckled pigeons have a distinctive red bare patch around their eyes, a throat of silvery pink-green tipped feathers and dark red outer wing feathers. The rest of their plumage is pearl grey. Juveniles are duller than the adults, but are otherwise the same in appearance.

Speckled pigeons can nest at any time of year. These nests are built in a variety of places including earth scrapes on cliffs, the tops of palm and gum trees and even human buildings. The movement into urban areas, where speckled pigeons have been seen roosting in high densities, is likely to ensure that the population of this species remains high.

Speckled pigeons lay, on average, two eggs per clutch. The incubation time for this species varies, depending on locality. It can be as short as 14 days in South Africa, whereas it can be as much as 18 days in Ethiopia. Chicks fledge from the nest between 20 and 25 days after hatching.

These birds eat a diet mainly made up of seeds, from both native and cultivated grasses. The main crops consumed are maize, wheat and sorghum. In addition to seeds, land molluscs like snails are also eaten.

The speckled pigeon is classed as Least Concern by the IUCN as there are no current threats and they are described as both common throughout their range, and increasing in numbers. Flocks of up to 700 birds have been observed in some areas.

Key Facts:

  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Distribution: Sub Sahara Africa
  • Habitat: Grassland, Savannah, Scrublands, Urban Areas
  • Diet: Invertebrates, Seeds
  • Weight: 219 – 390 g
  • No. of young: 2