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Diamond Dove

Nicole Cosgrove

The diamond dove is a small, quiet bird that is often suggested as a good beginner bird for people new to owning birds. The most common coloring of this bird is gray with white spots, which earned them the name diamond dove because of this distinctive coloring. They also have a distinctive red or orange ring around the eye. They are social birds, but they prefer other bird companions to people as they are not a bird that likes to be handled. Diamond doves are considered a good beginner bird for budding hobbyists because they are low-maintenance and generally healthy. Read on to learn more about the delicate diamond dove.

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Species Overview

Common Names: Diamond Dove
Scientific Name: Geopelia cuneata
Adult Size: 7.5 inches
Life Expectancy: 10 years

Origin and History

The diamond dove is native to Australia and is found in semi-arid areas, generally Western, Central, and Northern Australia. In the wild, they are often seen running with a waddling gait but are also fly to get from place to place. They feed in pairs or small groups and eat ants or seeds from the local grasses.

diamond dove
Image Credit: Wilhelm_Grantler, Pixabay

Temperament

Diamond doves are generally gentle birds and likely will not bite you. They are, however, fragile birds and do not like to be handled by humans unless they are hand-fed by humans. They are social birds and will do well with another diamond dove or other similar-sized birds as companions. Diamond dives will likely be okay with human companionship within the room, but they aren’t a bird that will cuddle with you. They aren’t a bird that does well with children as they do not like to be held and pet.

The diamond dove does well in garden aviaries where they can interact with the nature around them and their companion birds. They can be kept in mixed aviaries with other small birds, such as finches and canaries, because of their overall friendly demeanors.

Pros
  • Friendly
  • Calm
  • Small

Cons

  • Can’t be kept with larger birds
  • Do not talk or mimic
  • Don’t like to be handled

Speech & Vocalizations

The diamond dove is not a bird known for speech or vocalizations. They are cooing birds that are soothing and are quiet in their demeanor and sounds. They are a good bird for apartments because of their quiet nature. The more birds you add to your aviary, the louder the cacophony will be so that is something to keep in mind if you like a quiet home life.

Diamond Dove Colors and Markings

The native diamond dove is dark gray with white dots and black edges on its wings. The abdomen of the bird is a cream color while the back and the long, slender tail are a brown-gray color. They have a red to orange colored eye-ring that is more vivid in the males of the species.

There are a variety of other colors due to captive breeding:

  • Silver: a pale gray color bird
  • Brilliant: an almost white bird
  • Cinnamon: a bird that is light gray with brown and red wings
  • Yellow: beige-colored bird

There are also whitetail varieties, and they can be bred as silver whitetail, blue whitetail, yellow whitetail, etc.

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Caring for the Diamond Dove

Diamond doves may be fragile birds, but they are relatively healthy and easy to care for, which is why they are the perfect bird for beginners. They are sociable birds and usually need to at least have one other bird with them. One of the first things you will need for your bird is a cage. A wider cage with a long horizontal surface across the bottom is the best option for these waddling ground dwellers. These birds will likely spend much of their time at the bottom of the cage and grates will hurt their feet. If you can find a cage that offers a smooth surface for the bottom, that will help your birds with walking around the bottom of the cages.

Once you purchase your cage, you can line it with paper towels or some other soft material to help protect your bird’s feet. Place your cage where your bird can receive sunlight for a few hours every day. Make sure there is a spot in the cage where they can get shade if they get overheated. You can also get a daylight light bulb as s substitute if you can’t provide them with a sunny spot.

Nest boxes for breeding are also important for these birds during mating season. You can use an appropriate-sized wicker basket and tie it to eh bars of the cage. You can also make a nesting bed out of any round cardboard container. Providing appropriate nesting material, such as straw, to help the birds make their preferred nest.

Common Health Problems

Diamond doves are generally healthy birds, but they can develop some health issues if they are not kept in a clean environment. They are prone to red mites, which come out at night to feed on the blood of the bird. If you’re housing your bird outside, you’ll need to be careful of tapeworms, roundworms, and other worm species that will make your bird sick. They can also catch common bird ailments including salmonellosis, parrot fever, and pigeon pox. If the bird is sick, you’ll notice fluffed feathers, balance issues, slippery droppings, and an unusual quietness. Keeping their environment clean and free of drafts will help keep your bird in general good health.

Diet and Nutrition

Diamond doves generally eat seeds and ants in the wild and their diet can be replicated in captivity fairly well. Feed them a good quality seed mix as their basic daily food. Supplement the birdseed with soft fruits and fresh greens to help your bird get its mineral requirements. You can also give them a sprouting see to help them get their greens. You can also feed them a high-calcium grit and cuttlebone to make sure they are having their calcium needs met. During the breeding season, an occasional hard-boiled egg, or egg food, will be appreciated to assist with the additional protein needed during breeding.

Exercise

Diamond doves are typically ground birds so they will need a wide cage with a size to walk around on the floor of the cage. They like to walk around and flap their wings so it’s important to keep the floor of the cage free from toys and other accessories. You can also let your bird out to roam the room as a form of exercise. They should be allowed to fly a few hours per week. Make sure your windows and all doors are closed before releasing your bird. Cover all windows and mirrors and remove all other pets from the room for the bird’s safety.

two diamond doves
Image Credit: Angeleses, Pixabay

Where to Adopt or Buy a Diamond Dove

Diamond doves are usually found at small and large pet stores. They can also be found at bird-specific stores in your local area. Breeders are also a popular choice for obtaining a diamond dove and may offer more color mutations than your local pet store. The average cost of a diamond dove is $55-$150 depending on the coloring of your bird and the location of purchase, i.e. pet store versus breeder. You may also be able to adopt a diamond dove from a local or national bird adoption website. The diamond dove is a common breed, and you should not have a problem locating a source to help you adopt or buy a bird.

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Conclusion

Diamond doves are good beginner birds because they are quiet and relatively low-maintenance. They need a long horizontal cage to let them walk around their cage daily and they need to be let out to fly a few hours per week. Feed them a good mix of seeds, grits, soft fruits, and fresh greens to help ensure proper nutrition. They have few health problems if their environment is kept clean and free of drafts. Diamon doves aren’t fond of being handled by humans and won’t be a bird that cuddles with you, but they are gentle and quiet, which makes them a good pick for a bird hobbyist in an apartment.


Featured Image Credit: Wang LiQiang, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.