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A photo of a Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata)
Zebra Dove

Zebra Dove

Geopelia striata

The Zebra Dove, Geopelia striata, also known as the barred ground dove, is a small and slender bird with a long, narrow tail. Its plumage is a subtle blend of brownish-grey with distinctive black-and-white barring, providing it with its namesake zebra-like pattern. The underparts exhibit a gentle pinkish hue, adorned with black bars on the sides of the neck, breast, and belly. A blue-grey face with bare blue skin around the eyes and white-tipped tail feathers complete its delicate appearance.

Identification Tips

Adult Zebra Doves measure 20–23 centimetres in length with a wingspan of 24–26 cm. Juveniles may appear duller and paler, with the possibility of brown feathers interspersed among the barring. When identifying this species, look for the characteristic barring, the long tail, and the blue-grey face with blue periophthalmic skin.

Habitat

These doves favor scrublands, farmlands, and open country in lowland areas. They are also quite at home in urban settings, often seen gracing parks and gardens with their presence.

Distribution

Native to Southeast Asia, the Zebra Dove's range includes Southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Java, and potentially the Philippine islands. Through escape or deliberate release, they have established populations in various locations outside their native range, such as central Thailand, Laos, Borneo, Sulawesi, and several islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Behaviour

Zebra Doves are known for their solitary or paired foraging habits, preferring to scurry on bare ground or short grass with rodent-like movements. Their plumage provides excellent camouflage against the ground, aiding in their inconspicuousness.

Song & Calls

The species is celebrated for its pleasant, soft, staccato cooing calls. These vocalizations have made them popular pets in regions like Thailand and Indonesia, where cooing competitions are held to celebrate the birds with the most enchanting voices.

Breeding

During the breeding season, which spans from September to June in their native range, males engage in a courtship display involving bowing and cooing while fanning their tails. Nests are simple platforms of leaves and grass, placed in bushes, trees, or occasionally on the ground or window ledges. Both parents share the duty of incubating the one or two white eggs laid, which hatch after 13 to 18 days. Fledglings are ready to leave the nest within two weeks and achieve strong flight after three weeks.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Zebra Dove consists primarily of small grass and weed seeds. They will also consume insects and other small invertebrates as part of their diet.

Conservation status

The Zebra Dove is currently listed as Least Concern by the IUCN, indicating a stable population across its range. However, trapping for the cagebird industry has led to declines in certain areas, but overall, they remain among the most abundant birds in places like Hawaii and the Seychelles.

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