Species group: Exotic Doves and Pigeons
Other common names: Little Turtledove; Little Red-eyed Dove
Scientific name: Geopelia cuneata
The tiny, big-eyed Diamond Dove is one of the most popular species for aviary owners, including beginners setting up their first mixed-species aviary. Like many other popular pet birds of Australian origin, it is a hardy, reliable breeder. Indeed, in the United States, it has been captive-bred for so many generations that some people consider it a domesticated species. It is also a popular choice in its native land.
In the wild, this Australian endemic species prefers the more arid, open regions of that continent. They do gather near water, and they are triggered to breed by rainfall.
The natural wild form of the Diamond Dove is a tiny, grayish bird dotted with white on the wings – the so-called diamonds. The red eyes are surrounded by a fleshy circle of reddish-orange that gives this species a cute, wide-eyed appearance. The female's eye-ring is smaller, and her plumage duller. Breeders have also developed a number of lovely color mutations, including white, yellow, silver, cinnamon, and more.
28 - 40 grams (1 - 1.4 oz.)
18 - 22 centimeters (7 - 8.7 in.)
10 - 15 years
Behavior / temperament:
Because of their gentle nature, Diamond Doves are often added to a mixed species planted aviary. They are unlikely to harass other species, although they might chase each other if they don't have sufficient room and desirable nest spots. The problem is that the other species can harass the Diamond Doves. Keep an eye on the situation, and never allow breeding finches to bully these gentle creatures. Breeders have observed finches trying to take Diamond Dove tail feathers for their own nests.
A single pet enjoys spending a lot of time around you. The social Diamond Dove should never be isolated. Make your bird a part of the family. Some males may persistently coo and bow to court you. If you can't spend much time with your Diamond Dove, then you need to provide it with a playmate. Two males will sometimes fight or feather-pluck, but two females should work out well. If you end up with a pair and do not wish to breed them, remove the eggs and replace them with artificial eggs that never hatch. Otherwise, the female may try to replace the missing eggs by laying more, ultimately exhausting her small body of nutrients.
The adaptable, easy-going Diamond Dove has been successfully kept and bred in cages as well as aviaries. Indeed, cage-breeding will become a necessity if you decide to pursue the challenge of breeding the color mutations. They do like to spend a lot of time on the ground, so design your cage or aviary with ease of cleaning the floor in the forefront of your mind. A single pet who follows you around indoors may often be at your feet or chasing your toes, so know where your bird is at all times to avoid stepping on it by accident. A single pet or pair can be maintained in a cage 3' by 2' by 2' although a more generous flight is always better if you're asking them to share with another species, such as a pair of finches. Tiny doves are considered a tasty prey, so be certain that your outdoor aviary is secure from predators, and have a double door to discourage escapes.
The Diamond Dove is an easy bird to feed for the person who has some experience with finches, perhaps the reason that many finch breeders ultimately consider adding a pair of these doves to their aviary. The backbone of the diet is a good quality finch seed mix, but you should add some small game bird or quail pellets, millet sprays, eggfood, and greens like chickweed and sprouted millet sprays. All doves should have access to clean grit. They may bathe in water, so supply a shallow pan of bathing water as well as drinking water. These sun-loving birds may require vitamin D3 added to the diet if kept indoors, since this vitamin is normally formed in the body in response to sunlight. Ask your breeder or avian vet for a recommendation.
Written by Elaine Radford
mutation colors, avairy setting, Soothing Birds, peaceful doves, easy doves, great beginner bird
constantly clean cages, late night cooing
good breeders, different coos, low flight cage, ground feeders
Davey, the diamond dove.
One of my greates passions in life is astronomy, and to make observing easier, I built a small observatory on my little farm to house my three large telescopes on a permanent basis. This saves on setting-up time, but not only that, the observatory has become home to a diamond dove that I found one cold winter's morning.
Diamond doves are not indigenous to South Africa, and even if one wanted some to keep, they are dificult to find, and very expensive when you do find some for sale. Nevertheless, Davey, as I christened him after a day or so, was seriously injured when I found him. His right wing was clearly fractured, and he had several large open wounds- as if he had been mauled by a cat. I knew it could not have been one of my cats, because they are too well trained for that, but no matter whose cat was at fault, there was nothing for it- the vet had to be called from his breakfast. I have often wondered just why the vet would do things for me that he would never do for others, but the constant source of income he gets from me might have something to do with it, although I have never actually asked him about it.
Long story short, the vet amputated the wing, treated the lecerations, and advised I keep the dove under observation for at least a week to check for infections. As it turned out, Davey made a full recovery but the time I had him under observation I spent in the observatory, so it was perhaps to be expected that he chose to live there after he recovered. He knows he cannot fly anymore, but the first time I carried him to the house after his recovery, he struggled until I lost control of him, which was when he started walking back to the observatory.
Now he lives there full-time in a little cage I built into the half of the dome that does not slide open. But this is not just a cage- for one, it does not have a door, and it is fitted with a long ladder along the wall that reaches to the floor. Of course, the first opportunity he got, he tried to make himself at home inside the largest of the telescopes, which would not have endeared him to me, but since I had him and did not plan on letting him go, I built his cage instead, and within a few days, he learned to use the ladder to get up to it. Problem solved, but to be safe, I have made canvas covers to cover the telescopes when they are not in use.
I have no experience with diamond doves except for that with Davey, but from what I can see, they should make perfect beginner birds for large aviaries. I do not know how much flight space they need since Davey cannot fly, but I do know they are easy to tame, don't eat much, and have calm, affable natures. Based on my experience with this breed, I would certainly keep more of them if I can find the time to spend with them..
From reinier1 May 12 2015 5:50AM
Not particularly peaceful, but certainly beautiful
There aren’t many sounds more pleasant than the soft cooing of doves. Diamond doves are small, adorable birds that bring that beautiful sound into your home without requiring the extensive setup of larger doves.
Most diamond doves are still happiest in an aviary. They’re not the most graceful fliers, but are a delight to watch when they have the room to fly. I’ve kept them in full walk-in flights to flight cages to, in old age, regular cages where they didn’t have to fly to get around.
One of the reasons I’ve kept them in so many different sized enclosures is that the dove’s reputation as symbols of peace may be a bit overstated. Even in a small aviary (mine was 8’) the males of this species can fight incessantly.
They aren’t necessarily violent, but they’re far from peaceful. Mine flew back and forth pecking at each other. Even when they were mostly getting along they had a fondness for tearing out each other’s head feathers, which made the poor things look ridiculous.
It would usually start with cooing battles and display dancing, which were both lovely and adorable and then dissolve into them fighting over which one was the male. Every time, I ended up having to separate the birds for my own peace of mind. They did quite well in aviaries across the room from each other where they could coo back and forth without being able to peck at each other.
Other people talk about them as being peaceful birds so I can only imagine that females and opposite sexed pairs get along fine. The males may also be calmer in larger numbers when they can’t focus on a single bird.
If you’re looking for a sure pair it’s best to purchase older birds with more defined physical features. It’s extremely easy to tell the boys when they’re putting on a mating display, but you won’t necessarily catch them doing that before purchasing.
I attempted to buy all of mine as male and female pairs. Over the years, I purchased three separate ‘pairs’ of young diamond doves from different sources - not a one of which correctly sexed the birds. All of mine ended up being males. Luckily, they’re darn cute and the cooing really is beautiful.
Despite how much chaos they can cause with each other, these birds are well suited for community aviaries. I kept mine with quails and a variety of finches. Despite the large size difference between the diamond doves and smaller waxbills, I never had any trouble between them. As an elderly bird, one of mine even made a lovely human companion.
Diamond doves are predominantly friendly birds that like space, but adapt well to most conditions. With correctly chosen companions, they’re fun and easy doves to keep..
From gardenfairy Sep 4 2014 7:50PM