Jambu Fruit Dove

Jambu Fruit Dove

Ptilinopus jambu
Population size
Life Span
4-12 yrs
42 g
23-27 cm
35.6 cm

The world’s most unique dove species, the Jambu fruit dove is mostly found in South East Asia. Its green feathers make it difficult to spot among the foliage, but its soft cooing reveals its presence. Like most doves, the nostrils are high on the upper bill.


The Jambu fruit dove occurs in South East Asia, in southern Thailand, Brunei, Malaysia, and in Kalimantan, Sumatra and Java in Indonesia. It inhabits mangrove swamps, lowland rain forests and second growth woodland.

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

The Jambu fruit dove is an inconspicuous and shy bird, its green feathers acting as perfect camouflage. Most of its time is spent roosting, nesting and feeding. Generally in pairs or solitary, a large flock will gather to feed at a fruiting tree, plucking fruit directly off the tree or eating those knocked onto the ground by hornbills and monkeys. This bird can put its whole bill into water and suck water up, whereas most birds can dip only part of their bill into water, keeping their nostrils out of the water, and then must tip their heads back so the water can trickle down their throats. They make a soft, low coo.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Jambu fruit doves are herbivores (frugivores), they eat fruit from trees or fruit that has fallen on the ground.

Mating Habits

November-February and July
2-3 weeks
8-10 weeks
squab, chick
1 egg

Jambu fruit doves are monogamous breeders. This means that both males and females have only one partner. The breeding season is November–February and July. They have a breeding territory, announced by the male by raising his wings and cooing while his head moves forward and he bobs his body up and down. If this threat display doesn’t work, he will also aggressively defend his territory with a peck. A flimsy-looking nest of sticks, roots and grasses is interwoven into the branches of a tree. The male brings the material while the female builds their nest. Usually 1 egg is laid, sometimes 2, and incubation is for 2-3 weeks by both parents, with the nest never being left alone during incubation. Male and female both help to raise the hatchlings. Within an hour of hatching, the helpless chick will be fed on nutritious dove's milk, made in the adults’ crops. At about the 10th day, the chick’s eyes open, but its wings are already functional. Soon it will leave the nest with the parents, who keep very close. The chick is weaned when it is 8-10 weeks old.


Population threats

Jambu fruit dove numbers are declining at a reasonably rapid rate, due mainly to habitat degradation and loss, as well as pressure from hunting.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources do not provide the Jambu fruit dove total population size, although it’s generally uncommon. Currently this species is classified as Near Threatened (NT) and its numbers today are decreasing.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • The adult male has a crimson face and a black chin, green upperparts, white underparts, and a pink patch on its breast, with a chocolate brown undertail. Females have a dull purple face and a dark chin, green underparts, a white belly and a cinnamon undertail. Young males look much like females, but at 9 months old they have their full coloring.
  • This dove is the most unique of the species and one of the most beautiful birds in the world.
  • Jambu means guava in Malay.
  • Baby doves are known as squabs.
  • Typical of Columbiforms, the feathers of the Jambu fruit dove are very downy and are easily detached, which makes them difficult to catch.


1. Jambu Fruit Dove Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jambu_fruit_dove
2. Jambu Fruit Dove on The IUCN Red List site - http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22691341/0

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