Species group: Exotic Doves and Pigeons
Other common names: Ring-Necked Dove; Barbary Dove; Ring Dove; Sacred White Dove; Domestic Ringneck Dove; Laughing Dove (also used for a different species), African Collared-Dove
Scientific name: Streptopelia roseogrisea
The graceful Barbary Dove is a domesticated species that has a long history of being bred in captivity. This gentle, inexpensive, and hardy dove can make a great beginner's pet, while breeding the color mutations can be an involving hobby for the expert seeking a challenge. A cooperative and attractive white mutation has gained fame as the popular magician's dove. It is often called the Ringneck Dove, but be aware that there are other species that also have the half-rings on the neck.
True Barbary Doves have little or no homing instinct. The white doves released in ceremonies should be white Homer Racing Pigeons, so that the birds will know how to safely return to their loft at the conclusion of their flight. It would be irresponsible to release white Ring-necked Doves into the wild, as their likely fate would be to become a predator's meal.
In the past, there has been some debate concerning the science and history of the Ring-necked Dove – even the simple matter of whether or not it represents a legitimate species that deserves its own scientific name, Streptopelia risoria. The current consensus is that the domestic Barbary Dove is descended from the African Collared Dove, Streptopelia roseogrisea.
However, it's worth knowing the older name S. risoria. This bird has been kept in aviculture for centuries if not millennia, so you can still find a lot of good care information under that name.
Alas, the half-collar or “ring neck” is not a identification tool, since several other species possess this field mark, creating endless confusion. However, if it's a domesticated ring-neck pigeon species, this is the bird. The white mutation is the most popular, but there are at least 40 mutations, including pied, pink, peach, blond, tangerine, and many more.
120 - 130 grams (4.2 - 4.6 oz.)
25 centimeters (10 in.)
10 - 15 years
Behavior / temperament:
Barbary Doves are sweet, gentle birds that love attention from their people. As magicians have proved from time out of mind, they are cooperative performers on the stage. With kindness, patience, and treats, you should be able to teach your pet to fly to your hand, although paired birds will naturally turn their attention toward each other.
A single pet or a pair of Barbary Doves can do very well indoors, but they do need space and an easily cleaned environment. They exercise by flying and by hopping on the ground, so allow for a nice wide area – a good minimum size for the flight might be 36” in length, 24” wide, and 24” tall. Single pets are friendly and look forward to being around family members, so do not isolate them. Some birds can be insistent about cooing for attention if they know you're elsewhere in the house.
If you have experience with the fancy pigeon varieties descended from the Rock Dove, you will have to change your expectations if you want to breed Barbary Doves. These lovable birds that are so gentle to humans are territorial toward others of their own kind, and each pair will require its own flight, pen, or cage during the breeding season. Cleanliness is essential. Whether you have a single pet in an indoor cage or an aviary complex with multiple flights for your pairs, construct the cage with eye toward easy cleaning – and don't forget that these birds bathe in water, so they appreciate a shallow bird bath.
The Barbary Dove is easy to feed, although it may resist a varied diet. Choose a high quality dove or budgerigar/parakeet mix. One breeder suggests that wild bird seed mix plus safflower will do as the backbone of the diet. But you also need to provide some variety – chopped fruits and vegetables, greens, pellets (perhaps sprinkled with apple juice), and even access to a few live insects can be a good source of vitamins, minerals, and macro-nutrients. All doves need access to grit and calcium. An indoor dove's body may have trouble using the calcium because vitamin D3 is often formed from sunlight. Talk to your vet or breeder about vitamin D and calcium supplements.
Written by Elaine Radford
affectionate, sweetest, beginner bird ringneck, different colors, beautiful cooing, hardy bird
health problems, draft free area, finicky eaters, surprisingly messy, occasional rebel female, big cage
beautiful tangerine pearl, poor nest builders, dove seed mix, wonderful relaxation therapy
My bird sings a lot
I own a white dove, which is a like a pigeon if you didn't know what a dove looks like. Her name is Dynamite. She likes to coo and make a sound like laughter all day long. If I pet her, her left wing will shake and vibrate, and she will act pleased with me. She likes to be let out of her cage to fly around the house, so I usually have to clean up a lot of droppings. She currently spends much of her day sitting on two unfertilized eggs. I don't know how to stop her from laying eggs. This is the most frustrating part of owning a female because she will sit on the eggs, waiting for them to hatch. She is extremely friendly around all humans and will fly to them for some attention. When I hold her, she nibbles at my fingers with her beak in a very affectionate way. If I perch her on my shoulder, she nibbles at my neck. My daughter places Dynamite on the steering bar of her scooter and rides around the house with her. She loves her rides on the scooter. She sometimes finds pieces of string or jewelry and builds nests in her cage with them. When I pet her and she coos, I know that she is pleased. Overall, this is a very loving pet, but hard to clean up after. She eats vitamin-fortified bird seed and cut up fruits from the refrigerator. I mix grit in her seeds to help with her digestion because this is what birds in the wild eat. The feed is very cheap and can be supplemented with small pieces of fruits or vegetables. I love her very much, but I wish she was toilet trained..
From Germa76 Sep 9 2015 4:01PM
An Ideal Supplement
Many people are adding highly nutritious flaxseed oil to their bird's diet. It is filled with protein, B vitamins, minerals, and omega 3 fatty acids. Many birds, such as large macaws, especially benefit from this oil if they do not receive an adequate supply of nuts in their diet. I am a strong advocate of adding flax seed oil to any birds diet. .
From KimberlySharpe 495 days ago
Dirty little birds
Two doves = a clumsy mess! They constantly laid eggs and constantly jumped onto their eggs, leaving a nice gooey yolk mess. They were also very loud, making a "laughter" giggle noise all the time. Sometimes it was funny because they laughed when people laughed. They're not really loving birds. Most the time they just stare at you with beady, vacant eyes. If we let them fly around the house, they made big huge poop messes and flew into the walls, windows, curtains, you name it. So they weren't really all that FUN. You can't give them to little kids because these birds don't really defend themselves either. If the kid is hurting it, the dove just kind of shakes his head around but doesn't vocalize any discomfort. They were interesting little buggers.
On the upside, it is intriguing to say "I own doves!" I would not own them again though..
From zumbally Sep 23 2013 7:09PM