This species is abundant in scrub and savannah. It builds a stick nest in a tree, often an acacia, and lays two white eggs. Its flight is quick, with the regular beats and an occasional sharp flick of the wings which are characteristic of pigeons in general.
Vinaceous dove is a small, stocky pigeon, typically 25 cm in length. Its back, wings and tail are pale brown. When flying, it shows a blackish underwing. The head and the underparts are pale pinkish-grey, and there is a black hind neck patch edged with white. The legs are red, and there is white in the tail. Sexes are similar, but juveniles are duller than adults. The call is a fast coo-cu-cu-coo.
Vinaceous doves eat grass seeds, grains and other vegetation. They are quite terrestrial, and usually forage on the ground.
Unlike several other species in this genus, they are very gregarious and often feed in large group frequently with other doves.