|On Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa|
The speckled pigeon (Columba guinea), or (African) rock pigeon, is a pigeon that is a resident breeding bird in much of Africa south of the Sahara. It is a common and widespread species in open habitats over much of its range, although there are sizable gaps in its distribution. It is sometimes referred to as a Guinea Pigeon due to its similar coloring to some species of guineafowl.
This species builds a large stick nest on protected rocky outcrops and in urban areas often atop covered pergola pillars and on flat roofs under deep eaves and lays two white eggs. Its flight is quick, with regular beats and an occasional sharp flick of the wings that are characteristic of pigeons in general.
This is a large pigeon at 41 cm in length. Its back and wings are rufous, the latter heavily speckled with white spots. The rest of the upperparts and underparts are blue-grey, and the head is grey with red patches around the eye. The neck is brownish, streaked with white, and the legs are red. The call is a loud doo-doo-doo.
Sexes are similar, but immatures are browner than adults and lack the red eye patches.
The speckled pigeon is frequently seen around human habitation and cultivation. Most of its food is vegetable, and it gathers in large numbers where grain or groundnuts are available.
Subspecies and Distribution
There are three recognised subspecies of columba guinea:
- C. g. guinea – Is found from Senegambia to Eritrea and North West Somalia and south through Uganda and western Kenya to southern Tanzania.
- C. g. bradfieldi – Is found from south-west Angola and eastwards to western Zimbabwe and south to north-west South Africa.
- C. g. phaeonota – Is found from eastern Zimbabwe and south to almost the whole of South Africa (except north-west South Africa).
Eggs, Collection Museum Wiesbaden
- (Rock Pigeon = ) Speckled Pigeon - Species text in The Atlas of Southern African Birds.
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