Black-billed Wood Dove
Turtur abyssinicus

AKA: Black-billed Blue-spotted Wood Dove; Abyssinian Wood Dove


©Angel Teruel

Distribution: Inhabits arid, semi-arid & open savanna woodlands & scub close to wells, ponds and marshes in southern Mauritania & Senegambia east to Ghana, Togo, Benis & Nigeria. Also found in northern Cameroon, northern Central African Republic to Ethiopia, Eritrea, northern Uganda & north-east Kenya.

Description: (Sharpe 1902) Length 20 cm. Whitish forehead shading to bluish grey crown & nape. Hindneck, mantle, scapulars wing shields & upper back a pale greyish brown.  Wing shields have dark metallic blue  patches. The back, mantle is separated from the paler colored rump & uppertail coverts by two blackish bands enclosing a pale whitish fawn area. Breast, chest, belly & flanks greyish pink. The longest undertail coverts black, others are white. Eyes dark brown. Black stripe from front of eye to bill.  Juvenile has barred buff/rust plumage. Adults can be visually sexed by chin & throat coloration.  Sexes similar (see Sexing Tip article for differences).  

Voice: Of the species closely related it has the longest call with up to 30 continuous soft coos; lasting as long as 20 seconds. Call begins with two soft & faint drawn out coos & then delivers the many short coos with decreasing volume. The call is repeated several times per minute for extended period without outside distractions.

Nesting: 2 dark cream buff to brownish cream colored eggs. Incubation is 13-15 days; young fledge in 15 to 17 days after hatching. 

Note: Two breeding pair in captivity & documented in the 1980's, hatched each clutch in 14 days. Both sexes utter the same call, with the female having a less number of coos. J. Pire