Streptopelia risoriaringed turtle-dove(Also: Barbary dove; ringneck dove)

Geographic Range

Streptopelia risoria is a domesticated dove. Its distribution is a result of escapees from aviaries that adapt to their new wild surroundings. They originate from the savannas and dry woodlands of Africa. In the past, ringed turtle-doves were found on the Pescadores Islands (Goodwin 1983). Ringed turtle-doves have been bred in captivity in the Caribbean islands. From captive breeding in the Caribbean, accidentally released birds made their way to the United States where they have established sporadic populations (Geisler 1998). These doves may be found in colonies near Los Angeles, California (Goodwin 1983, Geiser 1998) and southern Florida (Geisler 1998). Other colonies have appeared in various parts of Illinois (Geisler 1998). (Geiser, 1998; Goodwin, 1983; Honolulu Zoo, 2002)


The wild doves from which these were domesticated live in scrub and grasslands (Honolulu Zoo 2002). The domesticated Streptopelia risoria can be reared in captivity in an enclosure that is a minimum of a cubic meter. They are especially adaptable to mixed aviaries with enough space so that they may exercise their wings (Honolulu Zoo 2002). (Honolulu Zoo, 2002)

Physical Description

Ringed turtle-doves are slightly larger than African collared doves (Goodwin 1983). Their length is approximately 305 mm (Honolulu Zoo 2002). Their tail is shorter than that for the African collared dove (Goodwin 1983).

Overall, Streptopelia risoria is a warm creamy buff color. There is a black semi-collar on the hind neck. On the chin, belly, and under the tail coverts, the coloration is whitish. The primaries and proximal wing coverts are a light grey with lighter grey on the wing edge. Under the tail, the feathers are somewhat black and white patterned. The eye is a ruby red, the bill is a dark purplish-black with silvery edging, and the feet are purplish-red. Juveniles are paler than the adults and similar to juvenile Streptopelia roseogrisea (Goodwin 1983).

A number of varieties of this dove have been bred. Back-crossing Streptopelia risoria with wild S. roseogrisea has resulted in a domesticated bird with the coloration of the wild bird. Aviculturalists have bred a white variety for many years. In more recent years, peach and rosy varieties have been bred (Goodwin 1983). (Goodwin, 1983; Honolulu Zoo, 2002)

  • Average length
    305 mm
    12.01 in


Ringed turtle-doves make a nest of sticks arranged in a somewhat haphazard pattern. Both the male and female will incubate the clutch of two white eggs. In captivity, female doves kept together will share incubation duties of a clutch of eggs. However, one female will adopt the hatchlings and feed them regurgitated "dove milk." Ringed turtle-doves will also care for other species of doves. Females have been used to rear mourning dove, Zenaida macroura, chicks (Pappas, personal observation).

Both the male and female will incubate the clutch. In captivity, female doves kept together will share incubation duties of a clutch of eggs. However, one female will adopt the hatchlings and feed them regurgitated "dove milk."

  • Parental Investment
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • protecting
  • pre-weaning/fledging
    • provisioning
    • protecting


Both males and females of this species use several different call types, which are associated with various activities such as nesting. They also use visual displays such as wing-clapping and wing-twitching.

Despite being domesticated, ringed turtle-doves will freeze in place if a large shadow overhead appears to be hawk-like (Goodwin 1983).

Ringed turtle-doves are fond of water bathing and will lay on one side in a shallow pool of water with the wing on the other side of the body extended upward (Pappas, personal observation). (Goodwin, 1983; Honolulu Zoo, 2002)

Communication and Perception

This dove has a number of calls. Both males and females call, but the female's calls are usually softer with a more trill or rolling "rr" uttered in the calls. The advertising call is uttered as "koo, krroo" or "koo, kooroo-wa." There is also a nest call and display coo which are similar to each other. The excitement call is described as a high-pitched jeering laugh. This call is uttered as the male greets the female or another Streptopelia risoria. He may also utter the display coo before his bowing display (Goodwin 1983).

Streptopelia risoria engages in bowing behavior much like S. roseogrisea (Goodwin 1983, Honolulu Zoo 2002). The display flight of quick ascent with loud wing clapping, then gliding downwards stiffly with spreadout wings and tail is performed by this dove. Ringed turtle-doves will also display using wing-twitching such as that exhibited by Columba species. This display is performed in relation to nesting activities (Goodwin 1983). (Goodwin, 1983; Honolulu Zoo, 2002)

Food Habits

This dove consumes a variety of grains such as cracked corn, red and white millet, wheat, safflower seed, hemp seed, and niger seed (Honolulu Zoo). They will feed on the ground as well as peck at low growing plants (Gos 1989). Ringed turtle-doves do not husk the seeds upon which they feed (Honolulu Zoo 2002). (Gos, 1989; Honolulu Zoo, 2002)

  • Plant Foods
  • seeds, grains, and nuts

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

This dove may be found in aviaries and has been bred in captivity for many years (Harper 1986). In fact, this dove is considered to be exceptionally tame (Goodwin 1983). They are also commonly used in scientific research. (Goodwin, 1983)

  • Positive Impacts
  • pet trade
  • research and education

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

This dove is especially tame and well-liked by aviculturalists. This dove does not adversely affect humans.

Conservation Status

This dove is a domesticated form of Streptopelia roseogrisea found in aviaries. Therefore, conservation status is not applicable.

  • IUCN Red List [Link]
    Not Evaluated

Other Comments

This species of Streptopelia is closely related to S. roseogrisea, as a domesticated version of the wild stock. Domestication occurred 2000 to 3000 years ago (Pire 2000). In 1758, Linnaeus recognized S.risoria worthy of species status. The Integrated Taxonomic Information System states that S. risoria is a valid taxonomic name. However, many ornithologists do not subscribe to species status for this dove (e.g., Goodwin 1983).

These doves are also known as barbary doves, Java doves, or Eurasian collard-doves to some, although these, like the name "ringed turtle-dove" are misnomers (Goodwin 1983). Some aviculturalists simply refer to these doves as ring-necked doves (Honolulu Zoo 2002). (Goodwin, 1983; Pire, 2000)


Matthew Wund (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Janice Pappas (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.

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living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

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living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.

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uses sound to communicate

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.


an animal that mainly eats seeds


An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.


referring to animal species that have been transported to and established populations in regions outside of their natural range, usually through human action.


offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

oceanic islands

islands that are not part of continental shelf areas, they are not, and have never been, connected to a continental land mass, most typically these are volcanic islands.


reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.

pet trade

the business of buying and selling animals for people to keep in their homes as pets.


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


living in residential areas on the outskirts of large cities or towns.


uses touch to communicate


Living on the ground.

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.


A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.


uses sight to communicate


Geiser, U. 1998. "Streptopelia Doves in the Chicago Area" (On-line). Accessed July 30, 2002 at

Goodwin, D. 1983. Pigeons and Doves of the World, 3rd edition. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Gos, M. 1989. Doves. Neptune City, NJ: T.F.H. Publications, Inc..

Harper, D. 1986. Pet Birds for Home and Garden. London: Salamander Books Ltd..

Honolulu Zoo, 2002. "Ring-Necked or Barbary Dove" (On-line). Accessed July 30, 2002 at

ITIS, 2004. "Streptopelia risoria" (On-line). Accessed 10/05/04 at

Pire, J. 2000. "The Dove Page" (On-line). Accessed July 30, 2002 at