The Speckled Pigeon (Columba guinea) is found in a band across Africa from Senegal east to Ethiopia and northwestern Somalia and south to Uganda, western Kenya, southern Tanzania, and northern Malawi; it also occurs in southern Africa from southwestern Angola east to northeastern Zimbabwe and south to the former "Cape Province" (now Northern Cape, Western Cape, and Eastern Cape) in South Africa.
This pigeon, a close relative of the familiar Rock Dove (C. livia), avoids forests, but is found in a variety of habitat types in open country including savanna, open woodland, and gardens from sea level to 3000 m. Western populations are often associated with baobabs and Borassus palms, whereas eastern and southern populations may be associated with rocky terrain, cliffs, and gorges. Ethiopian populations are abundant in grassland and wooded country. In many areas, this species is becoming increasingly urban, expanding its range into farmland and towns and roosting and nesting at high densities on buildings.
Speckled Pigeons forage on the ground, feeding mainly on seeds. Birds may travel up to 25 km from roosting or breeding sites to feed. Breeding occurs year-round across much of the range.
Speckled Pigeons are very common across much of their distribution, with individual flocks sometimes including as many as 700 birds.
(Baptista et al. 1997 and references therein)
- Baptista, L.F., P.W. Trail, and H.M. Horblit. 1997. Speckled Dove (Columba guinea). P. 114 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.
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The speckled pigeon (Columba guinea), or (African) rock pigeon, is a pigeon that is a resident breeding bird in much of Africa south of the Sahara. It is a common and widespread species in open habitats over much of its range, although there are sizable gaps in its distribution.
This species builds a large stick nest in a tree and lays two white eggs. Its flight is quick, with regular beats and an occasional sharp flick of the wings that are characteristic of pigeons in general.
This is a large pigeon at 41 cm in length. Its back and wings are rufous, the latter heavily speckled with white spots. The rest of the upperparts and underparts are blue-grey, and the head is grey with red patches around the eye. The neck is brownish, streaked with white, and the legs are red. The call is a loud doo-doo-doo.
Sexes are similar, but immatures are browner than adults.
The speckled pigeon is frequently seen around human habitation and cultivation. Most of its food is vegetable, and it gathers in large numbers where grain or groundnuts are available.
- Birds of The Gambia by Barlow, Wacher and Disley, ISBN 1-873403-32-1