Diamond Dove

Geopelia cuneata

Diamond Dove. Photo: John Spiers

This tiny dove is the smallest dove in the world. The calls are distinctive. One call consists of long coos which may be repeated up to five times. The other call is of two notes, the first of which is often burry and the second clear.

Diamond Doves feed almost entirely on the seeds of grasses and legumes, but eat some leaves and insects. They take very small seeds.

Breeding is strongly influenced by food and rainfall and may occur throughout the year but the peak is usually in spring and early summer. Both sexes build the nest, a flimsy platform of twigs or dried grass, incubate the two white eggs laid by the female, and feed the young.

They are mainly nomadic moving in response to food and water.


These very small, delicate doves have a long, pointed tail. The head, neck and flanks of the male are a pale blue-grey grading to a darker grey-brown on the upper-body and upper-tail. Diagnostic small white spots cover the scapulars and secondary coverts. The upper wing is dark brown with a large chestnut panel in the primaries. The outer retrices are black with broad white tips. When closed the undertail is white, but shows a black strip down the centre when opened. The under-parts are white, the bill dark grey, and the legs and feet are pink. The orbital ring is prominent and varies from dark pink to bright red. The female is like the male but browner. Juveniles are duller and browner and have extensive fine barring on neck, breast and upperparts, few white spots and the orbital ring is light grey to brown, or pale orange.

Where to find it

Diamond Doves may be found throughout inland South Australia, in lightly wooded, arid or semi-arid areas where there is a reliable water supply. They are not found in the wet south-east of the state or very dry deserts. Foraging is done on the ground in flocks of 20-30 birds.