Oena capensis (Namaqua dove) 

Namakwaduifie [Afrikaans]; Ihotyazana [Xhosa]; isiKhombazane-senkangala, uNkombose [Zulu]; Kambowo [Kwangali]; Mokhoroane, Mokhorane [South Sotho]; Kanjivamutondo, Nhondoro [Shona]; Xivhambalana (generic term for dove) [Tsonga]; Mmalommi, Rrankundunyane, Tsêbêru [Tswana]; Maskerduif [Dutch]; Tourtelette masquée [French]; Kaptäubchen [German]; Rola-rabilonga [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora >Aves (birds) > Order: Columbiformes > Family: Columbidae

Oena capensis (Namaqua dove) Oena capensis (Namaqua dove) 
Oena capensis (Namaqua dove) 
Namaqua dove immature male, Kimberley, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©] Namaqua dove male (top) and female (bottom). [photo Gerhard Theron ©]

The Namaqua dove occurs across sub-Saharan Africa, occupying a wide variety of mostly arid habitats, such as Acacia savanna, arid shrubland, farmland and rural gardens. It eats almost exclusively seeds, doing most of its foraging on the ground, especially on gravel or on the edges of roads. The nest is a fragile saucer made mostly of twigs, usually placed about 1 metre above ground in a shrub, tree sapling or dead dead branch. It lays 1-2 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes, for 13-16 days. In one study, the chicks were brooded for the first 4-5 days of their lives, and remained in the nest for 16 days.

Distribution and habitat

Occurs across sub-Saharan Africa, absent only from the lowland forests of West Africa and the DRC. In southern Africa it is widespread and common, occurring across Namibia, Botswana, parts of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa. It generally prefers Acacia savanna, arid shrublands, agricultural areas, farmyards, rural gardens and occasionally alien tree stands.

Distribution of Namaqua dove in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Predators and parasites

Food 

Eats almost exclusively seeds, doing most of its foraging on the ground, especially on gravel or on the edges of roads. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Seeds
    • Amaranthus (pigweed)
    • Aridaria (donkievygies)
    • Chenopodium mucronatum (Misbredie)

Breeding

  • Both sexes build the nest, which is fragile saucer made of rootlets, twigs and petioles, with the inside lined with grass and rootlets. It is typically placed about one metre above ground in an Acacia sapling, shrub, dead branch or occasionally a grass tuft.
Oena capensis (Namaqua dove)   

Namaqua dove female feeding its chick, Sericea farm, South Africa. [photo Warwick Tarboton ©]

 
  • Egg-laying season is year-round, peaking from about July-December.
  • It lays 1-2 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for 13-16 days.
  • In one study, the chicks were brooded for the first 4-5 days of their lives, remaining in the nest for 16 days.

Threats

Not threatened, in fact widespread and common.

References

  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 

 

 

 Contact us if you can contribute information or images to improve this page.

Birds home   Biodiversity Explorer home   Iziko home   Search