Monday, April 9, 2012

Namaqua Dove

Oena capensis (male)
The Namaqua Dove is a small member of the pigeon family that can be found in Sub-Saharan Africa and also on the Arabian Peninsula. Both males and females sport one of those long tails, but only the males have the black face with its red and yellow beak. Females have grey faces and dark bills.

The social structure of the Namaqua Doves is far from uniform. Most live alone or in pairs, but others congregate is huge flocks near bodies of water. Some remain in a single territory year round, while others wander a larger range, or migrate seasonally. It all seems to depend on the location the birds live in, and the amount of rainfall that happens.

The breeding season for these birds is also highly variable. Some populations breed int eh spring, while others do it year round. Male Doves will pursue the females on the ground by doing head bobs and giving out different calls. They will also advertise their availability by singing from tree perches and performing different aerial displays. Once mated the pair remains monogamous, and both parents will incubate and feed their young.  These birds feed on very small seeds, though sometimes they will also forage for insects.

IUCN Status : Near Threatened
Location : Africa and the Middle East
Size : Body length up to 9in (22cm)
Classification :Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Columbiformes
Family : Columbidae -- Genus : Oena -- Species : O. capensis

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