Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Least Concern

Black-billed Wood-dove (Turtur abyssinicus)


French: Tourtelette d’Abyssinie German: Erzflecktaube Spanish: Palomita saheliana
Other common names: Abyssinian Wood-dove

Chalcopelia abyssinica


, 1902,

Kokai, Eritrea


Closely related to T. chalcospilos, with which has been considered conspecific. Birds from drier parts of tropics proposed as race delicatulus, but doubtfully distinct#R#R. Monotypic.


S Mauritania and Senegambia E to Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria, and E through N Cameroon and N Central African Republic to Eritrea, W Ethiopia, N Uganda and extreme NW Kenya.

Descriptive notes

20 cm; 51–78 g. Similar in size and colour to T. chalcospilos, but a little lighter and greyer in overall coloration; wing-spots are dark blue and somewhat... read more


Advertising call is a plaintive cooing phrase lasting c. 17 seconds with a distinct cadence,... read more


Occurs from sea-level to 1800 m, in arid habitats such as savanna woodland with Acacia and... read more

Food and feeding

Eats mostly seeds of grasses and herbs, each weighing 0·2–0·5 mg; occasionally takes much larger items, e.g. grains of... read more


Season Aug–Apr in W Africa; Sept–Oct and Jan in Sudan. Nest consists of a platform of thin sticks concealed in vegetation e.g... read more


Resident in most of range, but possibly a partial migrant in some areas; apparent non-breeding... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common to abundant throughout much of range, e.g. Togo, Nigeria. Density of c. 5 birds/ha recorded in riparian woodland in Senegambia. Habitat not... read more

Recommended citation

Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Black-billed Wood-dove (Turtur abyssinicus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 February 2020).