White Dove

Sacred White Dove ~ Java Dove

Family: Columbidae White Dove, Sacred White Dove, or Java DoveStreptopelia risoriaPhoto Courtesy: Lisa Umstead - Parrot Haven
Latest Reader Comment - See More
I noticed 3 days ago, a beautiful white dove perched on my shed. It has been here since. Every morning I go out and feed it. I first gave it a cornmeal and bread... (more)  Jenny Mays

   When you think of the term 'dove' you think of the White Dove. The White Dove has been one of the most universal symbols of love and peace throughout history!

   The White Dove, Sacred White Dove, or Java Dove is the most historically described dove from Noah through today. We often see it used today as an emblem in peace negotiations. We also commonly see it used in weddings to symbolize love.

   Though it is very popular to use White Doves for what are called 'wedding releases', it is actually white homing pigeons that are used. White homing pigeons are very strong flyers, have a well developed homing instinct, and will return to their dovecote. The White Dove is not the same bird as the white homing pigeon. Though they are both white, the White Dove is a smaller bird. It does not fly straight for long distances but rather flutters about, and it does not have a highly developed homing instinct.

   Another area where White Doves are commonly used is in magic acts. They are intelligent birds that can be taught simple tricks, and they are not afraid of being in a cloth handkerchief or a dark hat.

   White Doves are very popular and an excellent bird for a beginner They are actually a white variety of the Ringneck Dove though a bit more expensive, and they have all the good points of the Ringneck Doves.They are very easy to care for and have a very sweet gentle nature. They will do well in either a cage or in an aviary and can be kept as a single bird or as a pair. Once a White Dove is comfortable with its home and its family, It can be handled by adults and children alike.

For more information about the care of Doves and Pigeons see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Doves & Pigeons.


Geographic Distribution
Streptopelia risoria
See All Data at Google Maps
Data provided by GBIF.org
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Columbiformes
  • Family: Columbidae
  • Genus: Streptopelia
  • Species: risoria

Scientific Name: Streptopelia risoria var.

Distribution:    The White Dove, Sacred White Dove, or Java Dove are a white mutation of the Ringneck Dove. Like the other Ringnecks, they are only known to exist as a domesticated bird.
   See Ringnecked Doves for more information on their history.

Description:     White Doves are small birds, about 12" from head to tail. They will live an average of 10 - 15 years, though some may live over 25 years.
   In the 1800's & early 1900's the Ringneck Dove and the White Dove were considered to be two different species/races of dove due to the difference in their coloration. They were labeled the "Blond Ringneck" Steptopelia risoria and the "White Ringneck" Streptopelia alba. Many years elapsed before it was determined that these two birds were the same species, just two different color phases. These two colors were the only known colors in the United States until the 1950's.

Care and feeding:    Suitable housing for a White Dove would be a large cockatiel cage along with some flight time outside the cage. A pair can be kept and bred in a cage as small as 2 feet square. Cages that are longer and wider are more important than tall cages, as these birds flutter around and do not climb. Males tend to be quarrelsome with other males so keep pairs housed alone.
   Like the Ringneck Dove they are quite hardy. If they are kept outdoors and are accustomed to cold weather, they can take below freezing temperatures for a short period of time.
   White Doves are very clean birds and love to bathe. They will enjoy either a bath in a large bowl of water or a shower, a misting with a light spray of clean water.
   A commercial dove and pigeon mix or a regular parakeet seed mix supplemented with greens rich in minerals, vitamins, and calcium is a fine diet. White Doves love treats. They not only enjoy their greens, but will also enjoy spray millet and such things as crumbled cornmeal and bread. Grit is essential as all Ringneck Doves swallow their food whole, and it helps grind up the food. Oyster shell or even cuttlebone can be added for calcium and is important for egg layers.
   See About Doves & Pigeons: Housing and About Doves & Pigeons: Care and Feeding for more information.

Social Behaviors:    They are good-natured social creatures that do well when kept in cages or in aviaries. They can be rather territorial however, and will need plenty of personal space. They can be easily tamed with very little effort. They form permanent pairs and mates do well if kept together.
   See About Doves & Pigeons: Social Behaviors for more information on social behaviors of doves and pigeons.

Activities:
   If kept in a cage, they should be let out daily for some free time to exercise. They are not known to be strong fliers and will be content to just flutter here and there and then will quickly settle down.

Breeding/Reproduction:    White Doves are easy to breed, but are not usually community breeders unless there is a lot of room. They will do best in their own cage and it can be relatively small. They are rather flimsy nest builders so it is best to provide them with an open nesting container.
   They can be bred as early as 6 months of age. They will lay two eggs which hatch after about 14 days. The young will stay in the nest for about 4 weeks or so. The parents can lay a new clutch of eggs every six weeks but this is very unhealthy for the birds. It is recommended that they only produce 3 to 5 clutches a year. You can remove the nesting materials or separate the birds to control this.
   See About Doves & Pigeons: Breeding/Reproduction for more information on breeding.

Potential Problems:   These birds are hardy and healthy if provided with a good environment and a good diet. Avoid an environment that is wet, cool, and drafty.
   See About Doves & Pigeons: Potential Problems for information on health.

Availability: White Doves are readily available. Usually available at pet stores, but can also be found through bird shows, bird clubs or breeders.

Author: Clarice Brough, CAS
Lastest Animal Stories on White Dove

Jenny Mays - 2014-07-19
I noticed 3 days ago, a beautiful white dove perched on my shed. It has been here since. Every morning I go out and feed it. I first gave it a cornmeal and bread mixture, which it seemed to enjoy. My question is: 1. How do I encourage it to build a nest. 2. How do you identify the male from the female? I have only seen the one. I do not have interest in bringing it indoors ... but I do like the idea of it nesting in my yard. Any suggestions??

  • Clarice Brough - 2014-07-22
    What a pleasant surprise. However, with only one bird there won't be any breeding action. If a friend does show up, see the breeding section in the Dove and Pigeon Care guide, the link to it is at the bottom of the intro section above.
Reply
Cat Rebennack - 2008-02-16
When a white dove flies to your arm for food on a New York City roof, it sort of gets your attention!
I'd recently lost my German pointer of 17 years, "Lucy," and was wondering what breed of dog I might have next. One morning last Spring, I noticed this gorgeous white "pigeon" hanging around with a "possi" of 3 grey pigeons and one mourning dove. I fed this crew on my roofdeck every day. She began to wait for me by my window every morning for breakfast until one day, clearly impatient, she flew straight to my arm before I filled the feeder.
Well, this was no ordinary pigeon! (So I thought....) When she didn't even flinch when my dogs came near her, it was time to research this exceptional creature. So, after a thorough educational sojourn via my cellphone camera and the web,(and, after making certain there was no "Mr. Dove" lurking in her shadow,) I knew she would not make it through a NYC winter and "Banshee" joined my entourage of one pug, one chihuahua, and now, one beautiful, smart and excessively affectionate white ringneck dove. What a perfect pet! Who knew????

Reply
Wynn Smith - 2007-02-19
Generally when people use the term "white dove" they are referring to a bird that can be used for ceremonial release. We must educate people on this subject. Too many people are releasing domesticated ringneck doves into the wild where they can't survive and they die. A better alternative is one of white homing pigeons referred to as a "Release Dove" or "Release Duv". These birds are bred for their homing ability and return safely home after a release. A "Release Dove" is typically a white racing pigeon that is as big and muscled as a typical racing pigeon. These are bred to race home as quickly as possible. In contrast, a "Release Duv" is not a racing pigeon, but a smaller white pigeon with homing ability, that has been specifically bred for ceremonial release. They tend to be tamer, smaller, and a bit more onamental. They circle well and they return home from long distances, having been crossed with endurance breeds such as the tippler.

Reply
stephen - 2009-07-19
One day I came home from work and noticed a small white bird struggling to make the flight across a 6 lane hwy in my suburb of Sydney. He missed cars and trucks by sheer inches but managed to make it to the backyard clothesline of my unit block, totally exhausted, but to my joy in one piece. It was indeed a white dove. I picked him off the line and caged him with my pet cockatiel, they got on just fine. She passed 2 years later but 12 years on Georgie, as I named him, is still going strong and is as bright and happy as he ever was. It is a joy to wake up to his distinctive cooing and I can understand the symbolic meaning of dove and peace. I can highly recommend a dove as a pet for kids and adults alike.

  • Tina Stamper - 2010-08-02
    I got my white dove a year ago from a pet store and you know thought it was a male for the past year until a couple of days later she had a egg but I'm confused can female birds lay eggs by their selves and if so is there a baby in there and if not what do I do?
  • geoffrey - 2011-04-27
    Only hens lay eggs, but 2 hens may pair up and sit on the eggs to no avail if there hasn't been a male bird present. I have 2 hens that have paired up and sit on 4 eggs every chance they get. I must say javas have got to be the most graceful of all birds. I have a flock of 5 with 2 babies in the nest. I keep mine in my living room in 3 separate cages but they have free flight every evening and sit with me and my partener while watching tv. Each 1 has their own personality. I would not part with my birds for anything.
Reply
hailey booth - 2008-10-02
One day riding my bike on the golf green I saw a tiny white bird sitting in the green grass. I was instantly drawn to it and realised it was a white dove. I started to pet it and realised it wasn't trying to fly off. Picking it up I realised its feather were wet and it couldn't really fly. I picked him up and put him in my bike basked and we rode home 3 miles. I was impressed with its ability to sit and ride so quietely without fuss. She has since became my most favored pet and I named her Chmpagne Hope. She rides with me everyday now on the edge of the basket looking around and enjoying the freedom of riding versus flying I'm sure, for which she is still weak. I encourage her to fly around, let her sit in the sun everyday, and don't believe in caging her. So she goes all over the apartment, though she does perch herself next to me every night next to my bed. To look after me I'm sure, as I believe she is my spirit guide. What a beautiful and unexpected blessing!

  • kram acoon - 2010-04-12
    Hi. I just wanted to ask you some q since you transpire to have some knowledge in doves. We have these large doves with fluffy neck feathers which i don't know the species or the breed. One problem is that they don't use the perches and are picky on food. Any recommendations? Are they suitable to let free outside for exercise and would still come back? We just acquired them 2 weeks ago. Please help.
Reply
sally - 2006-04-30
This is the story of our first dove that happened in the summer of 2005:

My daughter, packing for her move back into our home, was standing in her kitchen with the kitchen door to her deck open. She looked up just as a white dove landed gently upon the railing of the deck. She was stunned, and just stood there watching it for a whole five minutes, too afraid to move lest she frighten it away. Instead of it being scared off, it just began preening and cooing. So she carefully crept outside, with water and food, and tiptoed over, very slowly. Again instead of being frightened away, it just continued preening and cooing. She stayed frozen in place for another five minutes. Finally, realizing that it was not really frightened of her at all, she crept nearer and just placed her hands over it, gently cupped the sweet bird in her palm, and brought it inside.

My daughter brought it home to me after stopping just long enought to purchase some supplies. My daughters had brought me another bird once, our past favorite, a magpie. That time i had been asking for a baby raven. Magpies are the smallest member of the raven family. Recently i had begun "asking for" (intending) another baby raven, even if it ended up being not exactly a member of the raven family. I knew in my heart that something was on its way, but I had no idea this was what it was--and i am VERY pleased. She is the most tame and sweet-natured bird i have ever had. She insists on attention. She seems to be broody (ready to sit on eggs - i don't know if you're a country girl or not), and loves bits of "people" food, bits of corn, etc., especially when we feed it to her ourselves.

Right after i wrote the above (the day it happened) i went to look again at this beautiful bird. In the space of time that i wrote, she had laid an egg. That was it. I officially named her "Lily". Now, Lily is a free-flying member of our family. I have four more that i purchased from a pet store and have prepared a dovecote for them. I want to encourage the breeding of these birds because of the visual statement they make for love, peace, and beauty.

  • Bonnie Clement - 2014-05-12
    I am 53 and was named White Dove when I was 17. It has been my cab handle since then.I love them and I have a white dove that comes and eats with our chickens, does and other wild birds here. Thank you for your stories.
  • Bonnie Clement - 2014-05-12
    I am 53 and was named White Dove when I was 17. It has been my cab handle since then.I love them and I have a white dove that comes and eats with our chickens, does and other wild birds here. Thank you for your stories.
Reply

Copyright © [Animal-World] 1998-2012. All rights reserved.