White Dove

Sacred White Dove ~ Java Dove

Family: Columbidae White Dove, Sacred White Dove, or Java DoveStreptopelia risoriaPhoto Courtesy: Lisa Umstead - Parrot Haven
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Hello I need a dove  Kaden

   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
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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.

   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

Kaden - 2015-11-29
Hello I need a dove

Carol Vander Zee Boverhof - 2015-04-14
This winter a white dove came into our barn and has been there ever since, I feed her bird seed and she seems to love being by the water when I fill the horse tank. She will fly in a circle around the barn which is beautiful, and come right back, she sleeps in the rafters. it was extremely cold here in Michigan this winter and she did just fine. she has a pink band on her leg. She is free to fly away but has stuck around. is there anything special I should do?

  • Clarice Brough - 2015-04-16
    Sounds like you're doing a great job. Being free flying, she can vary her diet and habitat as she needs, but seems quite happy with you. Thanks for your story!
  • diane - 2015-09-13
    About 7 weeks ago a white dove landed in my tree. I feed the birds so it was able to eat the seed. I'm very worried now that the weather is getting cold and living in Buffalo we get plenty of snow. The dove just sits in the tree in my yard and toward evening flies across the street to a heavier/leafier tree, i'm assuming for better shelter. In the morning he is back in my tree. I have a bird feeded hanging which he goes into to eat. I've fallen in love with this little dove and am worried with winter just around the corner. Where will he go? He can't just sit in my tree all day. He'll freeze to death. I don't have a garage or any shelter for him. Do you recommend us making something for him and if so what do I make or do? Do you think I should buy a wooden bird house and hope he goes into it before another bird takes it over. Please reply. Thank you.
  • Clarice Brough - 2015-09-24
    You can make an outdoor dove cote, here's some info on types of cotes under Dove and Pigeon Care: Housing.
Zeebo the Poet - 2015-09-03
It IS 'QUITE A BEAUTIFUL'sunny end of summer day here in drought ridden California,but we are happy and thankful. On the very first day of this month my wife and I witnessed 'Scruffy' ,who was born under our front steps 10 years ago eyeing a white dove perched on the tailgate of our next door neighbors pickup.. Again,he was in the front. We worry for his safety, anyway We rounded the corner from walking our 'Pit' to see the dove fly up to the neighbors roof across the street and 'Scruff' dart across the street seeking better advantage. To our 'horror' the dove lost it's footing and fluttered down to the street where upon 'Scruff' in literally 2 seconds had it in his mouth and drug it away flapping and flailing. I was like 'W..T..F' Bad sign Bad omen! That which you love, attacking that which you love! Now...I'm all guy. Bourbon, Cigars, a Father. I know it's the law of nature. I said that to myself the second this happened, but I found myself cussing GOD with blurry vision....End Of Story UHHHHH,HUH?...It is said that The Great God in the last of days shall confound the worldly wise and bring the humble fool to the heights of glory. Fast forward to 6:30am yesterday getting 'Pua' out for her morning walk. Poop bags, wipies',gloves.My back to the garage door but 'Pua' was very still, tail straight facing the street. I pressed the garage door button and immediately stepped on her leash, bent down and began to grab firmly at the leash and as I turned from my stooped position and whirled around I saw right at the spot where the door clears the concrete and elevates, a white dove, no I mean 'THAT' white dove... I cried then.... I'm cryin' now. Yeah sooo It's drinkin' water, eatin' seed , hoppin' around on it's feed bowl.. I guess I'm just awe struck and stupidfied!!! Just Another Guy, Zeebo the Poet.........

Angleina - 2015-06-17
We had saw a white dove today when it was starting to storm we had look up the meaning of the white dove it means peace and forgiving it's also the sign of God!!! After it left there were no more storms no funnel clouds no nothing except for sun and light although the white dove we saw was all white.

Kaden - 2015-11-29
Hello I need a dove

kelly - 2012-12-26
how much is your white dove and is it a female

Christi - 2011-09-11
I recently obtained a white dove from someone that nursed it back to health. He is very friendly and I would like to find him a friend to keep him company. I think maybe a female as I'm not sure if two males can live together peacefully. If anyone has any leads on a white female dove in the St. Louis, Mo. or Southern Western Illinois Please respond.

  • Anonymous - 2011-09-12
    Wll do but check the Classifeids and Craigs List in your area.
Kative - 2011-10-19
I noticed you recommended pet stores and breeders as sources to get doves, but I got mine from my local shelter. There are also lots of bird rescues who try to re-home birds. It would be great to see more of these options promoted. Thanks!

  • Charlie Roche - 2011-10-20
    Thank you for mentioning that. There are perfectly wonderful, gorgeous and tame birds in many shelters throughout the United States. These birds might take a little more attention intitially but are worth every minute of it.