Doves are a member of the Columbidae family of birds, and are closely related to pigeons. These birds can be found worldwide, but are highest in density in Australasia and South East Asia.
Learn more about doves in the guide below.
Doves: Five Fascinating Facts
1. Doves are fairly hardy birds and can settle in pretty much any climate – in fact, these birds are only absent in the harshest of extremes such as the Sahara Desert and Antarctica. However, the preferred habitat of these elegant birds is tropical forests and woodlands.
2. As with most birds, doves will primarily feed on seeds, nuts and fruits. Interesting, the species can actually be divided in terms of doves that primarily feast on seeds (granivorous) and the other family of dove, the frugivorous species, where fruit is the primary source of nutrition.
3. Sadly, conservationists have a number of concerns about the future of the dove species – in fact, current research suggests 59% of dove and pigeon breeds are at risk of extinction. The primary threats to these birds are introduced predators, habitat loss and hunting. Some doves are now also extinct in the wild, including the Socorro dove.
4. Doves and pigeons differ anatomically to some other bird breeds in the fact they have no gall bladder. Although scientific study is mixed as to the reason behind this anomaly, interesting these birds do produce gall (or bile) – it’s simply secreted directly into the gut.
5. Doves are of great cultural importance countries and religions. For instance, in Christianity, the dove is a common Christian symbol to embody the Holy Spirit. Release doves are also used in ceremonies to commemorate important landmarks and historical events, as well as to offer hope at weddings and other family celebrations.
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