For a dove species, the diamond dove is surprisingly small, but eye catching nevertheless, especially with its prominent red eye ring. Many find its soft cooing a pleasant alternative to a boisterous parrot.
- The diamond dove is so named because of the many white spots dotting its upper wings
- Diamond doves are one of the smallest dove species in Australia
The diamond dove is a tiny, delicate-looking bird whose body is about the size of a lovebird, but with a long, slender tail. The nominate bird, or the color of the bird most often found in nature, is a darkish-gray with white specks on the wings, though there are now mutations, including white and silver. The diamond dove is dimorphic, meaning that there is a visible difference between the sexes: both sexes have a red eye-ring, though the male’s ring is larger. This makes pairing easy, which is a plus for the beginning hobbyist.
Native Region / Natural Habitat
The diamond dove is native to Australia, where they are found in the dry deserts in the north and central parts of Australia.
Care & Feeding
Doves have different housing needs than parrots. Doves are unable to climb up the cage bars like parrots can; instead they move about by flying back and forth, which makes a wide cage an important feature. Diamond doves spend a good part of their day on the ground so they should have plenty of room to walk about. Offer a variety of perch styles and of varying diameters, which will help promote good foot health in your dove. Doves also need opportunities for bathing.
Doves, unlike parrots, do not crush their seed with their beak, and will need some grit in their diet. Feed a good seed mixture, and offer plenty of greens and soft fruits. A well-cooked hardboiled egg and egg food will be appreciated during breeding time. These birds will breed well in an open nest, a bit larger than a canary’s nest, with a liner and nesting material added. Make sure to rest your birds for a few months every two clutches, or risk exhausting your birds, lessening their lifespan. Keep your doves in as large a cage as you can afford; because your doves may never leave the cage, it’s important that you provide for as much exercise as possible. A hen that can’t exercise may become egg bound and die. These birds are reported to live for up to 10 years when cared-for properly.
Personality & Behavior
Diamond doves will not necessarily want to interact with you, unless you purchase a hand-fed bird, or you hand-feed your pair’s babies yourself. These birds are content to be together and breed. They are gentle, and will not bite you when handled. Diamond doves are not ideal pets for children, who may want a bird that they can hold and pet. These birds do well in a garden aviary setting where they can fly and interact with nature and one another. Beware of adding larger or more aggressive birds, however, because your doves do not have the ability to defend themselves against them. These birds are social and if they are not bonded to people, they will need a dove companion.
Speech & Sound
Doves are not generally loud bids, though you will hear some cooing from your pair. If you are used to a louder, parrot-type bird, you will be pleased at the relative lack of noise from your doves. These birds are great for an older person or an apartment dweller that wants to own birds, but may not want the noise that accompanies them. Remember, as with all birds, the more you have, the louder they will be — this is especially important to remember with doves, as they will breed you out of house and home if you let them!
Health & Common Conditions
Doves are susceptible to red mites, which hide during the day and come out at night to feed on the bird’s blood, and doves housed outdoors are susceptible to roundworms, tapeworms and other worm species. Canker, a respiratory disease that shows as a swelling in the dove’s throat and a cheesy looking growth around the mouth, can be fatal if not treated. Those who keep pigeons should wash their hands after handling, feeding or cleaning the dove’s housing because doves can transfer Chlamydia and Salmonella (bacterial infections) to people. Overall, doves are generally healthy birds.
Get a Diamond Dove
The diamond dove is a favorite of novices and fanciers alike because of its tiny stature, beautiful appearance, and the fact that it is relatively easy to keep. Originally from Australia, diamond doves can be easily found in pet shops and breed fairly readily, making them a great choice for the bird hobbyist as well. They are best kept in pairs, as they will not appreciate human interaction, but much prefer the company of another bird.