Barbary Dove

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Is the Barbary Dove right for you?

Species group:

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 basics:
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.)

Average size:
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

Helpful Barbary Dove Review

Barbary Dove

From Germa76 Sep 9 2015 4:01PM


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