Profile of the Ring-Necked Dove as a Species

Cape Turtle Dove

Any of the more than 300 species of birds in the Columbidae suborder are referred to as doves. The most prevalent one, the ring-necked dove, may be maintained both indoors and outdoors and is a sociable, low-maintenance companion.

Breed Overview

Common Name: Ring-necked dove, white dove

Scientific Name: Columbidae spp. or Streptopelia risoria

Adult Size: 8 and 12 inches

Life Expectancy: 10 to 25 years

Origin and History

While ring-neck doves are native to Africa, there are other dove species that are found there as well. For instance, whereas mourning doves are one of the most common and well-known wild bird species in North America, fruit doves are indigenous to Australia. Some species of the Columbidae suborder are only absent from the coldest, arctic regions and the driest parts of the Sahara.

Different dove species prefer different habitats, and while overall this is not a group that is endangered, roughly 59 of the more than 300 species are threatened with extinction. 

The Streptopelia risoria type, which is indigenous to Africa, is very reliant on the availability of water in the wild. It predominantly consumes seeds, with the addition of fruits and berries. It can live in almost any habitat, from meadows to deep woods, as long as there are sufficient amounts of water and food sources. The preferred breeding stock for domestic doves is S. risoria because of its hardiness and adaptability.


Tame, hand-fed, domesticated doves are renowned for their kind and gentle personalities. Doves and other rarely attempt to bite or cause harm with their beaks, in contrast to parrots. Some doves may be a little more apprehensive around people than others, but this can frequently be soothed by employing effective and socialization strategies. Doves make ideal pets for older kids who know how to be patient and kind around animals because of their generally placid disposition.

Dove Colors and Markings

The majority of a ring-necked dove's body is covered in drab shades of grey and brown in the wild, with a darker collar around the nape of the neck. Pure white, tangerine, pied, and orange are just a few of the many hues and color combinations that pet doves may come in thanks to careful breeding. White, gray, or a mix of the two, with varied species-specific markings, are the most well-known pet dove colors. The feet are dark purple, the beak is black, and the eyes are black. Although males are significantly bigger, men and females have similar appearances.

Caring for the Dove

Doves are lovely, endearing, and simple to take care of, making them wonderful pets for individuals who want to keep a pet bird but aren't quite ready to take on a more demanding bird, like a parrot. Doves are incredibly popular pets, therefore it's important to check with rescue groups and places that place animals for adoption. Orphaned birds are regularly accessible since these birds procreate so easily in captivity. Doves are very simple to find from breeders and at specialized aviary pet stores.

Doves are wonderful pets for both young and old bird enthusiasts due to their kind natures and soft, calming vocalizations. A dove needs plenty of attention and socialization, just like any other pet bird, but unlike some other bird species, it is more naturally adapted to associating with people. As a result, inexperienced bird owners typically find it simple to teach and form a relationship with a dove. Doves have endearing personalities and, with the right care, may provide their owners with many years of amusement, affection, and friendship. Unlike the hookbill species, though, doves don't frequently exhibit the amusing antics of that species.

You may keep doves inside or outside. Even though bigger is usually preferable, a single bird needs an indoor cage that is at least 24 inches square and 30 inches tall. An indoor flying cage that is 62 inches high and around 32 inches square is appropriate for rearing a pair of doves. Doves spend a lot of time on the ground, thus the optimum cage has a bottom that isn't made of wire. Provide a few perches in the cage to promote flying between them.

A bespoke aviary must be strong enough to keep off predators if it is maintained outside, and it must provide protection to shield the birds from the weather. It is advised that the aviary has four square feet of floor space for each bird if you are maintaining more than two.

Doves require company, therefore if they are kept indoors alone, their cage should have lots of free time for them to engage with their human caregivers. The cage should have swings and mirrors even if this bird doesn't need many toys.

Doves require a lot of exposure to the UV light that comes from direct sunshine, which glass-filtered sunlight cannot supply. UV lamps will likely be required as additional lighting for birds kept indoors in order to prevent vitamin D insufficiency.

Feeding the Dove

The majority of dove species eat mostly fruits, berries, and seeds to survive in the wild. The majority of dove species thrive on a vegetarian diet, while certain species have been known to sometimes consume an insect. The optimum food for pet doves in captivity appears to be a high-quality seed mixture (typically advertised as a diet safe for doves, pigeons, or parakeets) supplemented with millet, commercial pellets designed for softbills, and a range of fresh, bird-friendly fruits and vegetables.


Doves don't chew their toys, therefore they don't need many of them. However, they do need a lot of free flying time for fitness. Make sure the aviary is big enough to allow for flight if it's kept outside. If maintained inside, your bird should have access to a safe area for many hours of cage-free flying time each day (be sure they can't escape).

Common Health Issues

The parasite Trichomonas gallinae, sometimes known as canker, is capable of infecting doves. Discoloration or ulcers around the mouth are symptoms, as sometimes occasionally diarrhea. Anti-parasite drugs can be used to treat it, while excellent cleanliness and routine cage cleaning can prevent it.

Doves that do not receive enough direct sunlight are prone to vitamin D deficiency. Birds kept indoors should be supplemented with UV lighting. 

More Pet Bird Species and Further Research

There are many additional odd pet bird species to learn about, like the Victoria crowned pigeon, which is another kind of dove/pigeon to take into consideration.