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
A Necessity Item for Any Bird
Cuttlebones help keep your bird's beak in shape. Most also love chewing on the bones because they provide a natural foraging activity. Cuttlebones are also an ideal way to supplement your bird's diet with crucial minerals such as calcium to encourage healthy bones, nails, feathers, and beak. The cuttlebone usually comes with a small attachment so you can quickly snap it to the bars of the bird's cage. Your bird will chip away at it on a daily basis. Once the cuttlebone is gone, your bird will probably anxiously be waiting for the next one. .
From KimberlySharpe 102 days ago
It may Help the Bird Stop Plucking
Clomicalm (clomipramine) treats stress and agitation. Many animal behaviorists believe that some birds pluck their feathers due to stress. The plucking becomes a nervous habit that is difficult to break. The prescription medication may relax the bird enough that the habit ceases. Unfortunately, when the drug is discontinued, many birds again start plucking.
Always discuss the possible side effects of the medication with your veterinarian before administering it to your pet bird. .
From KimberlySharpe 110 days ago