African Mourning Dove

The African Mourning Dove, Streptopelia decipiens, is a pigeon which is a widespread resident breeding bird in Africa south of the Sahara. Despite its name, it is not a close relative of the American Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura.

The African Mourning Dove is a largish, stocky pigeon, up to 12.2 inches in length. Its back, wings and tail are pale brown. The head is gray and the under parts are pink, shading to pale gray on the belly. There is a black hind neck patch edged with white. The legs and a patch of bare skin around the eye are red. Sexes are similar, but immature birds are duller than adults, and have scalloping on the body feathers.

African Mourning Doves eat grass seeds, grains and other vegetation. They are quite earthly, and usually forage on the ground. Unlike several other species in this genus, they are quite gregarious and often feed in groups. They also mingle peacefully with other doves.

This species is common or abundant near water. It builds a stick nest in a tree, often a mangrove, and lays two white eggs.