Cape turtle dove, Half-collared dove
The Ring-necked dove (Streptopelia capicola ) is a widespread and often abundant dove species from Africa. Its name is derived from the semi-collar of black feathers on the lower nape, a feature shared with a number of Streptopelia species. Like all doves, they depend on surface water. They congregate in large flocks at waterholes in dry regions to drink and bathe.
The body feathers of these doves are darkest on the upper side, where they are colored in dull tones of grey and brown, with shades of lavender on the nape. Ring-necked doves are paler below, where a tint of pinkish lavender is usually present. The lower belly and crissum (the undertail coverts surrounding the cloaca) are white. As with related species, they have white fringes and conspicuous white tips to the otherwise slate-grey tail feathers. The tail pattern is particularly noticeable during the display flight. Individual plumage variation is high, with some light and others almost sooty. Males and females look alike, although the males are slightly bigger. The eyes of these birds are almost black, the bill is black and the feet are dark purple. Immature birds are duller and lack the semi-collar of an adult. They also have buff edges to all the upper part and wing covert feathers, while the plumage below is broadly edged greyish-white.
Ring-necked doves are found in East and southern Africa. They inhabit semi-desert scrub, savannah, a variety of woodland types, farmlands, open plantations, and alien acacia thickets. In southern Africa, they are most commonly observed in fynbos regions, miombo, and mopane woodlands, besides any grassland types from moist to dry regions. Ring-necked doves are mostly resident but seasonal movements may occur in tropical areas, while nomadic movements occur in arid environments with limited resources.
Ring-necked doves usually spend their time alone or in pairs; however, they do form larger flocks around roosts or sources of food and water, sometimes comprising hundreds of birds. They are quite noisy in these groups, not only for the various calls they make throughout the day, or often into (mainly moonlit) nights, but also due to the loud clatter of their wings when they take flight. Their song is a loud and harsh ‘kuk-COORRRR-uk, ...’ which they may repeat ten to forty times. Less often a repeated ‘wuh-ka-RROOO, ...’ may be given. A raspy, snarling ‘kooorr’, or ‘knarrrrrr’, call is often given when the dove alights on a perch, arrives at an incubating mate, or chases another dove away. Ring-necked doves roost in treetops during the night and forage for food on the ground during the day. Peak foraging times are early morning and late afternoon, and they drink mainly in the morning. When they walk on the ground, their heads bob back and forth with each small step.
Ring-necked doves are herbivores (granivores, frugivores). They feed mainly on seeds of grasses, cereal grains, lupins, milkweeds, alien acacias, and pines, but also on broken fruit and berries of oaks, gums, and currants. They may occasionally take insects, small sedge bulbs, fleshy succulent leaves, aloe nectar, and sugary true bugs’ secretions.
Ring-necked doves are monogamous birds that form pairs. Males attract a female by flapping up a steep gradient before spiraling down with wings and tail spread out. From a perch or on the ground, the male will engage in a bowing display synchronized with a rolling crooning, ‘uk-carrroooo, ...’, while the throat is inflated. A pair will give a double ‘coo’ with a long second syllable when selecting a nest site. Pairs are territorial during the nesting period. The female takes 2-3 days to construct the flimsy platform nest. It is made of twigs and leaf petioles that are carefully selected by the male and delivered to her at the nest site. The nest is placed 2 to 10 meters above the ground on a horizontal branch fork. Quite often, an old nest of another species may be used. The female lays 2-4 pure white eggs and both parents incubate them for about 2 weeks. Chicks are fed regurgitated food by both parents and fledge after about 16 days. Each pair may raise up to five broods in a single season.
Ring-necked doves don’t face any major threats at present.
According to IUCN Red List, the Ring-necked dove is common throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List, and its numbers today are increasing.