Lemon Dove
Columba larvata

AKA: Cinnamon Dove, Forest Dove

ŠPaul Boulden

Distribution: found mainly in the mountain forests, planted forests of exotic trees, tree gardens, cultivated areas & cocoa plantations of western & southern Africa.

Races: a varied species usually treated as two taxa: the Cinnamon Dove - composed of the East African races: bronzina, larvata, jacksoni & samiliyae; the Lemon Dove - composed of the races: hypoleuca, principalis & simplex. 
C. l. bronzina (Ruppell 1837); Ethiopia & Boma Hills in Sudan; similar to nominate but smaller.
C. l. larvata (Temminck 1810); south-east Sudan to South Africa.
C. l. jacksoni (Sharpe 1904); eastern Zaire, Uganda & western Tanzania; slightly larger then nominate; male darker upperparts then nominate, with grey or greyish brown underparts to undertail coverts. Irides often mauve or purplish grey eye cere grey. Female pale greyish on forehead & face; less reddish on belly & undertail coverts. This race is therefore a "grey" form found within the range of the old Cinnamon Dove.
C. l. samiliyae (C.M.N. White 1948); northwest Zambia & Angola; intermediate between nominate & jacksoni having more blackish than either; male being purplish black & the female very dark brown tinged with purple.
C. l. hypoleuca (Salvadori 1903); Sierra Leone, Liberia, E Nigeria, Cameroon, Fernando Po & Annobon; very different from nominate. Male dark blackish slate grey above & clear ashy grey below; whitish undertail coverts. Female also darker than nominate, olive brown above & more rufous brown below; whitish undertail coverts. Irides grey.
C. l. principalis (Hartlaub 1866); Principe Island; male similar to nominate of eastern races, being a duller brown rather than cinnamon; white undertail coverts; female very similar but having a buff belly & undertail coverts.
C. l. simplex (Hartlaub 1849); Sao Tome; male typically similar to grey forms hypoleuca & jacksoni. Belly whitish & breast pinkish brown, giving a less uniform appearance. Both sexes tend to have very pronounced bronze green iridescence on hind crown & mantle. Vocalizations differ from principalis & mainland races. 

Description: Nominate race. Length: 25-29 cm. Has a large head with a sloping forehead, large eyes, long legs. Forehead, face white to greyish white shading to a pale cinnamon on crown; chin & throat pinkish rufous on neck & breast. Nape, hindneck darker cinnamon with light amethyst suffusion;  upper mantle & to a lesser extent, sides of neck & breast a rich iridescence according to the light appearing mauve pink, bronzy pink or bronze green. Rest of underparts rufous shading to darker brown on flanks & underwings, deep chestnut on undertail coverts. Upperparts, including central tail feathers blackish with very broad pale grey terminal band. Irides crimson, dark brownish red, brown or pinkish, sometimes females only have silver-white inner ring, eye rims dark red or purplish red; eye cere dark red or greyish with dark red carunculations. bill blackish; legs & feet red or purplish red. Female generally duller with much less iridescence. Juvenile more chestnut with barred rust brown & black or black subterminal bar with broad rufous tips giving a barred appearance. 

Nesting: two creamy white or white eggs; incubation 10-12 days, fledges within 21 days but stays near the parents for another two months.