Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Diamond Dove!
Diamond Doves Geopelia cuneata are one of the most common doves kept as pets. People like them because of their beauty and their easy care requirements. My main exposure to them (other than through the pet store) was with a friend who bred them in her house. She had several doves, both Diamond Doves and Ringneck Doves. Breeding them and having them in her home was truly her passion!
The Ringneck Dove Streptopelia risoria, is larger and is actually the most popular pet dove. However the Diamond Dove comes in a close second! Diamond Doves are very easy to care for and are quite hardy. They are great for first-time bird keepers, for people who just want a low-maintenance bird, and for dove lovers! They are easy to breed as well, for those interested in breeding. They are generally considered a “domestic” bird because they are so widely bred and available in the pet market. But they also live in the wild and have no problems there.
The native home of the Diamond Dove is in Northern and Central Australia. Their natural habitat is in open grasslands and sparsely wooded areas near water. They can also be found near human populated areas such as parks and gardens. They are part of the popular “Turtle Dove” category and are fairly small birds. They are slightly larger than canaries and have very long tails. They live to be around 10 years old, which is a good lifespan for someone not looking for a lifetime commitment but who still wants a companion for a good time. These birds have white spots that look like diamonds on their gray backs and shoulders, hence their name “Diamond” dove. They have reddish eyes with a orbital red ring around them. Males tend to have darker coloring overall than the females. These doves can also come in a variation of colors such as silver, pied, cinnamon, and many others.
Dove care is relatively simple and easy. Most people keep them in a fairly large aviary but they can also be kept in a regular cage. These cages should be at least 18 inches square to give them enough space to move around in. Diamond doves are very hardy. They can be kept outside in cold conditions, but to keep them in optimum health a heat source should be provided. They can be fed a finch or parakeet food mix purchased at a pet store. As a supplement provide them with cuttlebones, grit, and occasional greens and spray millet. Doves are social birds and so you may want to consider keeping more than one together. They also get along well with other bird types, such as canaries and finches!
If you are interested in breeding doves, diamond doves are a good choice. They don’t breed quite as easily as Ringneck Doves, but they aren’t particularly difficult to breed, either. Provide them with a nest (dried twigs, grass, etc.) in a large enclosure or aviary and make sure you have both males and females. You can tell the difference in the sexes at about 6 months of age. Males have a larger orange ring around their eyes compared to females. The females will lay two eggs in the provided nest which will then hatch around 13-14 days later. When you notice they are weaned you will want to remove them from the cage so the parents don’t try to run them off.
To keep these birds healthy and free of problems, make sure to provide them a safe, dry, and clean environment. They are generally hardy birds if their basic needs are met!
Diamond Doves are easy and hardy birds to keep as pets as well as good breeders. For more information, Animal-World’s Diamond Dove page has everything you could want to know!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.