Speckled Pigeon

Columba guinea

Originally an inhabitant of mountains, gorges, cliffs and rocky outcrops and ridges from which it set out to forage in adjacent flatlands, the Specked Pigeon (or African Rock Pigeon) has now also adapted very well to human habitations and exotic plantations, which aided the species to expand both its range and population. They feed primarily on seeds, and can become a serious pest to grain farmers. These are rather large pigeons, with adults weighing as much as 400g.

Speckled Pigeons breed throughout the year, with a peak in the spring and summer months. Nests are built of sticks and other plant material on inaccessible crags and caves on cliffs or ledges on buildings. Clutches usually consist of 2 (1-3) eggs and are incubated by both parents for 2 weeks. Chicks can stay in the nest for as long as 5 weeks.

Speckled Pigeons occur in two distinct parts of Africa: The first stretches in a wide band from east to west Africa, with the other in southern Africa. They can commonly be found in suitable habitat all over South Africa. It is considered to be of least concern by the IUCN. Unfortunately they do sometimes hybridize with feral populations of the exotic Eurasian Rock Dove (C. livia) in our towns and cities.

15 thoughts on “Speckled Pigeon

  1. Jay Naidu

    I have a pair of of either Rock Doves/Pigeons or Red Eye. They adopted my plant pot to lay their eggs. Needless to say I couldn’t do anything to all the plants on the balcony for the fear of scaring them. They now have two babies that are a week old, and both mum and dad are quite comfortable with me approaching their babies.
    Will they attract bird lice? Will they, and when will they come to lay after their fledgelins have levt their nest?

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      How lucky you are to be able to watch the chicks grow up, Jay! If left undisturbed they are very likely to keep returning to the same nesting site regularly. Unfortunately, like with other pigeons and doves they do carry parasites and diseases.

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  2. Tannie Frannie

    Voor die balkonnetjie van my woonstel in Sunnyside was daar ‘n ou palmboom waarin ‘n hele kolonie kransduiwe gewoon het. Daar het ek hierdie duiwe liefgekry en tot vandag toe het hulle ‘n spesiale hoekie in my hart.

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  3. John

    A very beautiful pigeon! As in most countries we have lots of pigeons, but I do not know a single species of pigeon. Most times when you notice a pigeon is when it differs significantly from the other pigeons. I tried Google how many Swedish species with pigeons there are, but could not get from any information. Here are competitions with homing pigeons a big sport, and its a fast bird that can fly up to 140 km/h. There are no birds of prey that can fly so fast horizontally! As long as the birds of prey do not come from above, the pigeons are out of danger. But the birds of prey know it and lay no energy to chase them.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      That’s very interesting, John, as here in South Africa pigeons and doves feature on the menu of most birds of prey and several mammalian predators – They mostly ambush them when the pigeons arrive to drink at waterholes.

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