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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 8:45 EDT

Zebra Dove (Barred Ground Dove)

The Zebra Dove (or Barred Ground Dove) Geopelia striata, is a bird found in the Malay Peninsula, Sunda Islands and the Philippines. The Zebra Dove is popular in captivity and many populations have appeared outside its native range due to birds escaping or being deliberately released. It can now be found in central Thailand, Laos, Hawaii (introduced in 1922), Tahiti, New Caledonia, the Seychelles, the Chagos Archipelago, Mauritius, Réunion and Saint Helena.

It inhabits scrub, farmland and open country in lowland areas and is commonly seen in parks and gardens. It is a common bird across most of its range but trapping for the cage bird industry has lead to them becoming rare in parts of Indonesia.

The birds are small and slender with a long, narrow tail. The upper parts are brownish-gray with black-and-white barring. The under parts are pinkish with black bars on the sides of the neck, breast and belly. The face is blue-grey with bare blue skin around the eyes. There are white tips to the tail feathers. Juveniles are duller and paler than the adults. Zebra Doves are 7.9 to 9 inches in length with a wingspan of 9.4 to 10.2 inches. Their call is a series of soft, staccato cooing notes.

The Zebra Dove feeds on small grass and weed seeds. They will also eat insects and other small invertebrates. They prefer to forage on bare ground, short grass or on roads, scurrying about with rodent-like movement. Unlike other doves, they forage alone, or in pairs. Their coloration camouflages them wonderfully against the ground. In Hawaii and the Seychelles they come to hotels and restaurants to feed on crumbs around outdoor tables.

In its native range the breeding season is from September to June. The males perform a courtship display where they bow while raising and spreading the tail. The nest is a simple platform of leaves and grass blades. It is built in a bush or tree or sometimes on the ground. One or two white eggs are laid and are incubated by both parents for 13 to 18 days. The young leave the nest within two weeks and can fly well after three weeks.

Zebra Dove Barred Ground Dove