Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Least Concern

Namaqua Dove (Oena capensis)


French: Tourtelette masquée German: Kaptäubchen Spanish: Tortolita rabilarga
Other common names: Long-tailed Dove

Columba capensis


, 1766,

Cape of Good Hope


Related to members of genus Turtur, with which it shares plumage characters and a vocalization. Races poorly differentiated. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • O. c. capensis (Linnaeus, 1766) – S Israel and SW Jordan; sub-Saharan Africa, Arabia and Socotra; seasonal and nomadic movements through Africa and Middle East.
  • O. c. aliena Bangs, 1918 – Madagascar.
  • Descriptive notes

    28 cm; 28–54 g. Forehead, face, throat and front of breast black with narrow greyish white border; rest of head, sides of neck and breast, and most wing-coverts bluish... read more


    Not very vocal. Advertising call a repeated double mournful cooing note (sometimes rather... read more


    Open areas such as Acacia savanna and thornfield, notably in sandy areas; also grassland... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly small grass and herb seeds, often wind-borne; total of 68 species of seeds identified in diet, including those of 10 grasses and 8... read more


    All year in most areas, but in E Africa peaks in dry season or late rainy season; in Arabia, nest building in Mar, eggs by May and young in... read more


    Some populations sedentary, but there are seasonal and perhaps even nomadic movements in some areas... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread and common to locally abundant throughout much of its extensive range. Populations in Israel and Arabia have been... read more

    Recommended citation

    Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2019). Namaqua Dove (Oena capensis). 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 10 December 2019).