Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Least Concern

Blue-headed Wood-dove (Turtur brehmeri)


French: Tourtelette demoiselle German: Blaukopftaube Spanish: Palomita cabeciazul
Other common names: Blue-headed Dove

Chalcopelia Brehmeri


, 1865,



Rather different in plumage from congeners, and formerly was at times placed in monospecific genus Calopelia. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. b. infelix J. L. Peters, 1937 – coastal Sierra Leone and SE Guinea E to coastal Cameroon, extending inland along rivers as much as 130 km.
  • T. b. brehmeri (Hartlaub, 1865) – S Cameroon E through N Congo to Rift Valley in E DRCongo, and S to extreme NW Angola.
  • Descriptive notes

    25 cm; male 131–135 g, female 92–132 g. Dark chestnut brown throughout, the mantle, neck and wing-­coverts strongly tinged reddish purple, purple tinge is... read more


    Advertising call is a plaintive cooing phrase lasting c. 14–18 seconds, starting very faint and... read more


    Lowland primary forest and old second growth up to at least 750 m. Avoids cultivated areas and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on seeds, insects and their larvae, and slugs. Forages among leaves on forest floor. Often perches in understorey, within 3 m of the... read more


    Laying in Jan in Sierra Leone; Aug in Cameroon; Dec–May in Gabon; and Jul–Oct in Zaire. Nest is a cup (15 x 20 cm in diameter)... read more


    Sedentary. Flight fast and direct.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Ranges from common to frequent, uncommon or rare in different parts of its distribution; rather shy and probably frequently overlooked. Common in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Blue-headed Wood-dove (Turtur brehmeri). 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 28 January 2020).