The Diamond Dove
(Geopelia cuneata)

This article was printed in the IDS newsletter in the1980ís & was sent in by Piel Voets who was Chairman of AVIORNIS INTERNATIONAL (Holland) which is an association for Dove, Pheasant & Waterfowl Breeders.


The first import of the Diamond Dove was in 1869 by the London Zoo. This zoo also had the first breeding result. On the Continent the first breeding was by Von Hagenbeck & Russ in Germany. Both of these gentlemen were breeding the Diamond Dove in 1875. Because of the increase in numbers imported & their steady breeding you can find these doves in most aviaries & I snow quite domesticated like the Zebra Finch. There are now many mutations of this dove like Fawn, White-tailed, White-rumped, Yellow-wing, Red, etc. The Red & Yellow-wing coming from breeders in South Africa. And it is possible that the range of color will go on increasing.


ADULT MALE: The head, neck & breast are light blue-grey; the upper & back are brown-grey; the abdomen is creamy-white; the tail & central feathers are brown-grey; the next outer pair of tail feathers is tipped with white, the others whole distal half is white; the wing coverts & scapulars are brown-grey, spotted with small irregular white spots with black edges; the primaries, leading edge & tin are brown-grey, the remainder is chestnut; on the underside of the wing, the chestnut primaries have brown-grey tips; the secondaries are blue-grey. The bill is dark grey; the iris is orange with bright orbital skin; this skin color intensifies in the breeding season; the legs & feet are pink.

ADULT FEMALE: The female is similar to the male but has more brown suffusion on all grey parts; the orbital skin is less bright.


The bowing display is similar to those of the other members of this genus but is delivered more vigorously. The display is usually preformed on the ground but is also given in trees or perches. In the bowing display the male bird stands with body raised & neck erect, wings & tail closed. The breast is lowered suddenly so that it comes close to, but does not touch, the ground. The body & tail swing up to a vertical position. As movement proceeds, the wings are raised & partly opened & the tail is fully fanned so that the feathers stand out separately. Then the bird returns to the position of rest.


The Diamond Dove covers the whole of Australia with most in the center & north. They live in arid savannahs where the temperatures reach 50 degrees Celsius.


The Diamond Dove is at the moment one of the most common numerous doves that appear in aviaries. The reason is that this Dove is very docile & it is easy to breed them. It is even possible to breed these dove sin individual cages. It is always better to keep pairs separate or they tend to squabble when there are several pairs, resulting in disturbed incubation & broken eggs. The Diamond Dove can be kept outdoors but I prefer to ensure that during the winter that they have frost free accommodations. The nest of the Diamond Dove is very flimsy, the best way is to provide small baskets (like Canary baskets). Nesting material can take the form of coconut fibers or coarse grasses. The female lays two white eggs. The cock sits during the day & the hen sits the evening & night times. Incubation period is 13 to 14 days & the young leave the nest after about another 14 days. This dove makes excellent parents & breed quite regularly. When young leave the nest they have stripes across the breast but these disappear during the first molt. When the young are self supporting it is advisable to remove the young or the cock bird can become aggressive. All the young ones form different pairs may be housed together without any problem. The Diamond Dove will provide three or four nests a year.

Addendum: J. Pire: The "iris" color of the male & female Diamond Dove is red not orange as stated in Pielís info. The eye cere can be from light orange to coral red in color. The environment the birds are kept in captivity does affect the size & coloration of the eye ceres.

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