Zebra dove

Zebra dove

Barred ground dove, Barred dove

Geopelia striata

The zebra dove (Geopelia striata ), also known as the barred ground dove, or barred dove, is a species of bird of the dove family, Columbidae, native to Southeast Asia. They are small birds with a long tail, predominantly brownish-grey in colour with black-and-white barring. The species is known for its pleasant, soft, staccato cooing calls.


The birds are small and slender with a long, narrow tail. The upperparts are brownish-grey with black-and-white barring. The underparts are pinkish with black bars on the sides of the neck, breast and belly. The face is blue-grey with bare blue skin around the eyes. There are white tips to the tail feathers. Juveniles are duller and paler than the adults. They can also have brown feathers. Zebra doves are 20–23 centimetres in length with a wingspan of 24–26 cm.

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Their call is a series of soft, staccato cooing notes. In Thailand and Indonesia, the birds are popular as pets because of their calls and cooing competitions are held to find the bird with the best voice. In Indonesia this bird is called perkutut. In the Philippines they are known as batobatong katigbe ("pebbled katigbe") and kurokutok ; in Malaysia this bird is called merbuk, onomatopoeic to their calls. They are also known as tukmo in Filipino, a name also given to the spotted dove (Spilopelia chinensis ) and other wild doves.

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The native range of the species extends from Southern Thailand, Tenasserim, Peninsular Malaysia, and Singapore to the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Java. It may also be native to Borneo, Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, and the Philippine islands.

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The zebra dove is popular in captivity and many populations have appeared outside its native range due to birds escaping or being deliberately released. It can now be found in central Thailand, Laos, Borneo, Sulawesi, Hawaii (introduced in 1922), Tahiti (1950), New Caledonia, the Seychelles, the Chagos Archipelago (1960), Mauritius (before 1768), Réunion, and Saint Helena.

It inhabits scrub, farmland, and open country in lowland areas and is commonly seen in parks and gardens. Trapping for the cagebird industry has led to them becoming rare in parts of Indonesia but in most parts of its range it is common. Zebra doves are among the most abundant birds in some places such as Hawaii and the Seychelles.

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Habits and Lifestyle

Seasonal behavior
Bird's call

Diet and Nutrition

The zebra dove feeds on small grass and weed seeds. They will also eat insects and other small invertebrates. They prefer to forage on bare ground, short grass or on roads, scurrying about with rodent-like movement. Unlike other doves, they forage alone, or in pairs. Their colouration camouflages them wonderfully when on the ground.

Mating Habits

In its native range the breeding season is from September to June. The males perform a courtship display where they bow and coo while raising and spreading the tail. Upon selection of a nesting site, the female will place herself there and will make guttural sounds to attract males to help build the nest. The nest is a simple platform of leaves and grass blades. It is built in a bush or tree or sometimes on the ground and sometimes on window ledges. One or two white eggs are laid and are incubated by both parents for 13 to 18 days. The young leave the nest within two weeks and can fly well after three weeks.



1. Zebra dove Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zebra_dove
2. Zebra dove on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22690708/93284564
3. Xeno-canto bird call - https://xeno-canto.org/618483

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