Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Least Concern

Blue-spotted Wood-dove (Turtur afer)


French: Tourtelette améthystine German: Stahlflecktaube Spanish: Palomita aliazul
Other common names: Red-billed Wood-dove

Columba afra


, 1766,



Related to T. abyssinicus, and often occurs sympatrically with either T. chalcospilos or T. abyssinicus. In the past, two or more races have sometimes been recognized, including liberiensis (from Liberia), mearnsi (Ethiopian Highlands) and kilimensis (C parts of range)#R, but these are now generally regarded as undiagnosable#R. Monotypic.


Senegambia E through most of W & C Africa to Ethiopia and Eritrea, and S through DRCongo to S Angola, SC Zambia, E Zimbabwe, S Mozambique and extreme NE South Africa. Said to occur on Bioko (off W Cameroon), but this now considered unlikely.

Descriptive notes

22 cm; 53–74 g. Similar to T. chalcospilos with smaller, amethyst blue wing-spots; base of outer web of outermost rectrix pale grey, not white; bill wine red,... read more


Advertising call is a plaintive cooing phrase lasting c. 10–14 seconds with a distinct cadence,... read more


Moist woodland, secondary forest and forest edge, montane forest clearings, and evergreen thickets... read more

Food and feeding

Grass seeds comprise most of diet, but also seen feeding on castor-oil (Ricinus) seeds, as well as termites and small snails. All... read more


Nesting recorded in all months in E Africa; principally Oct–Mar/Apr, with single records in Jun and Aug, in W Africa; and Mar–... read more


Resident throughout much of range. However, partial migrant in some areas, e.g. Ghana, where the... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Widespread and generally common to locally abundant, but range is particularly fragmented in S Somalia, S Kenya and Tanzania; abundant in Gambia,... read more

Recommended citation

Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Blue-spotted Wood-dove (Turtur afer). 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).