The native range of the Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata) extends from southern Burma through Malaysia to Sumatra and Java. It has been widely introduced elsewhere, however, and in some regions it is uncertain whether it is native or introduced (e.g., in Borneo, the Philippines, Bali, and Lombok). Apparently feral populations are well established in Thailand, Borneo, Sulawesi, the Moluccas, Tahiti, the Hawaiian Islands, St. Helena, Madagascar, and the Seychelles.
These slender, long-tailed doves are found in a range of open habitats with some bushes or trees, including dry woodland, scrubland, agricultural areas, gardens, and cities. Zebra Doves are generally restricted to lowlands, but occur up to 900 m on Sumatra. Their diet consists mainly of small seeds, with a small quantity of insects taken. They feed on the ground in pairs or small groups.
Zebra Doves are common throughout much of their range (very common on Sumatra). Most information on their biology and ecology has been gathered from introduced populations. They have sometimes been treated as conspecific (i.e., members of the same species) as the Peaceful Dove (G. placida) and the Barred Dove (G. maugei), but these three taxa (each of which has a distinct song), are now generally recognized as three distinct species.
Zebra Doves are popular cage and aviary birds, although they are not kept as widely as the related Diamond Dove.
(Baptista et al. 1997 and references therein)
- Baptista, L.F., P.W. Trail, and H.M. Horblit. 1997. Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata). P. 157 in: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., and Sargatal, J., eds. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 4. Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
Global Range: RESIDENT from Malay Peninsula and Phillipines south to East Indies. Introduced (1922, Oahu) and established in Hawaii; now on all main islands.
occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
Length: 20 cm
Habitat and Ecology
Comments: Open country with trees and shrubby growth, parks, gardens, and cultivated areas, especially near human habitation (AOU 1983). Ground-dweller of drier lowland habitats (Pratt et al. 1987). Pineapple and cane plantations, cut forest. Nests in trees, on buildings, etc.
Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.
Density of up to 300 per sq km has been recorded in some areas of Hawaii (Oahu, Molokai) (Berger 1981).
Life History and Behavior
Hawaii: breeds throughout year; clutch size is 2; young stay in nest 14-16 days, attended by parent for about 1 week after fledging (Berger 1981).
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Geopelia striata
Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Geopelia striata
Public Records: 6
Specimens with Barcodes: 11
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure
The zebra dove (Geopelia striata) also known as barred ground dove, is a bird of the dove family Columbidae, native to South-east Asia. They are small birds with a long tail. They are predominantly brownish-grey in color with black-and-white barring. They are known for their pleasant soft, staccato cooing calls.
The zebra dove is closely related to the peaceful dove of Australia and New Guinea and the barred dove of eastern Indonesia. These two were classified as subspecies of the zebra dove until recently and the names peaceful dove and barred dove were often applied to the whole species.
Habitat and range
The native range of the species extends from Southern Thailand, Tenasserim, Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore to the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Java. It may also be native to Borneo, Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, and the Philippine islands.
The zebra dove is popular in captivity and many populations have appeared outside its native range due to birds escaping or being deliberately released. It can now be found in central Thailand, Laos, Borneo, Sulawesi, Hawaii (introduced in 1922), Tahiti (1950), New Caledonia, the Seychelles, the Chagos Archipelago (1960), Mauritius (before 1768), Réunion and Saint Helena.
It inhabits scrub, farmland and open country in lowland areas and is commonly seen in parks and gardens. Trapping for the cagebird industry has led to them becoming rare in parts of Indonesia but in most parts of its range it is common. Zebra doves are among the most abundant birds in some places such as Hawaii and the Seychelles.
The birds are small and slender with a long, narrow tail. The upperparts are brownish-grey with black-and-white barring. The underparts are pinkish with black bars on the sides of the neck, breast and belly. The face is blue-grey with bare blue skin around the eyes. There are white tips to the tail feathers. Juveniles are duller and paler than the adults. Zebra doves are 20-23 centimetres in length with a wingspan of 24–26 cm.
Their call is a series of soft, staccato cooing notes. In Thailand and Indonesia, the birds are popular as pets because of their calls and cooing competitions are held to find the bird with the best voice. In Indonesia this bird is called perkutut. In the Philippines they are known as batobatong katigbe ("pebbled katigbe") and kurokutok, onomatopoeic to their calls. They are also known as tukmo in Filipino, a name also given to the spotted dove (Streptopelia chinensis) and other wild doves.
The zebra dove feeds on small grass and weed seeds. They will also eat insects and other small invertebrates. They prefer to forage on bare ground, short grass or on roads, scurrying about with rodent-like movement. Unlike other doves, they forage alone, or in pairs. Their coloration camouflages them wonderfully against the ground. In Hawaii and the Seychelles they come to hotels, restaurants, and even people's houses to feed on crumbs and pieces of bread around outdoor tables.
In its native range the breeding season is from September to June. The males perform a courtship display where they bow and coo while raising and spreading the tail. The nest is a simple platform of leaves and grass blades. It is built in a bush or tree or sometimes on the ground. One or two white eggs are laid and are incubated by both parents for 13 to 18 days. The young leave the nest within two weeks and can fly well after three weeks.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Geopelia striata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Robert Kennedy (2000). A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines. Oxford University Press. pp. 149–150. ISBN 9780198546689.
- H. Douglas Pratt, Philip L. Bruner & Delwyn. Berrett (1987), A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific, Princeton University Press
- Craig Robson (2002), A Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia, New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd.
- Adrian Skerrett, Ian Bullock & Tony Disley (2001), Birds of Seychelles, Christopher Helm
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Names and Taxonomy
Comments: Australian G. placida and Wallacean G. maugeus may be conspecific with G. striata (Sibley and Monroe, 1990).