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Other Geopelia Species
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The Geopelia Doves

Zebra Dove

A page on the genus Geopelia is included here because it was felt that those who keep diamond doves would be interested in the characteristics of the other species in the genus.   The five doves in this genus are all similar in that they are small or very small, with long tails, and have either barred or spotted plumage.   The five species can be divided into three groups according to their physical appearance.  

First there is the diamond dove which has a spotted plumage while the other four species have  barred plumage.  Then the bar shouldered dove is considerably larger than the other four species having a weight in excess of 110 grams while the other four species have a weight between 20 and 70 grams.  The three remaining species, the zebra dove, the barred dove, and the peaceful dove are very similar. The barred dove is distinct from the Peaceful Dove and the Zebra Dove in that it has yellow colored skin around the eyes.  The Peaceful Dove and the Zebra Dove both have blue skin around the eyes.  It should be noted that in 1992 R.E Johnstone included all three of these doves as races of a widespread species.  Gibbs followed White and Bruce's narrower species definition in their 1986 book.

It is probably worthwhile to understand how the scientific names of the Geopelias have evolved as the old and new scientific and common names can be found throughout the literature especially when searching the internet.  On many Australian internet sites, the peaceful dove is still given the scientific name G. striata and the common name "barred dove" any be applied to G. placida, G. striata, as well as G. maugei. 

In his 1967 edition of Pigeons and Doves of the World, Derek Goodwin included all of these species as sub species of the zebra dove (G striata):

  • G. striata striata - located in the Indo Malayan regions
  • G. striata placida, G. striata tranquilla  G. striata clelandi - located in Australia
  • G. striata maugeus - located in the Lesser Sunda Islands

Goodwin stated that the Australian forms are paler than the Indo Malayan forms and this seems to be born out by the photos included here.  But he did indicate that these forms had barring across the front and sides of the breast. He did not distinguish between the differences of the three Australian forms. He said the Lesser Sunda Islands form is darker than the others and the entire breast is strongly barred.  

The bar shouldered dove was not included in the 1969 edition of Pigeons and Doves of the World but did appear in the 1983 edition.

In the 2001, in the Gibbs, Barnes, and Cox book, Pigeons and Doves, A Guide to the Pigeons and Doves of the World, the authors describe the following five species:

  • G. cuneata - Australia
  • G. striata - Malaya, Indonesia
  • G. maugei - Lesser Sunda Islands
  • G. placida - Australia
  • G. humeralis - Australia

G. striata tranquilla  and G. striata clelandi were named as subspecies under G. placida along with a new subspecies G. placida papua.

  • G. placida placida - Northern Australia
  • G. placida papua - New Guinea
  • G. placida tranquilla - Southern Australia
  • G. placida clelandi - Western Australia

The following three subspecies have been named under G. humeralis:

  •  G. humeralis humeralis - Eastern Australia
  •  G. humeralis gregalis - New Guinea
  •  G. humeralis headlandi -Western Australia

Distinguishing characteristics  for each subspecies are so slight that no attempt will be made to list them here.  In the Gibbs, Barnes, and Cox book they are described as geographic variations.  

All of these species inhabit the relative open and dry savannahs and other semi arid regions.  The zebra dove  and the peaceful dove often inhabit urban areas and other man altered areas.  The larger bar shouldered dove prefers wetter habitats than the other four species.

Photo credits are at the bottom of the page.  Permission to use any of the photographs here must be obtained from the photographer.
Name Range Length & Weight Photograph
Diamond Dove 
Geopelia cuneata


Central , west and north Australia 194 - 213 mm male (2)

193 - 205 mm female

23 - 45 grams 

Zebra Dove
Geopelia striata


SE Asia to Java, Bali, and Lombok.  Also in the Philippines, Sulawesi, Borneo, St. Helena, Seychelles, Hawaii, and Tahiti 205 - 215 mm male (2)

206 - 209 mm female

50 - 62  grams

Barred Dove
Geopelia maugei


Lesser Sundas 232 - 258 mm male (2)

210 - 233 mm female

81 grams estimated

Peaceful Dove
Geopelia placida

G. placida placida
G. placida papua
G. placida tranquila
G. placida celandi

Australia except SW, S New Guinea 208 - 214 mm male (2) 

179 - 191 mm female

 40 - 60 grams

Bar Shouldered Dove
Geopelia humeralis

G. humeralis humeralis
G. humeralis gregalis
G. humeralis headlandi

Australia and New Guinea 293 - 305 mm male (2)

280 - 301 mm female

110 - 160 grams

Photo Credits

G. striata - Helen White
G. cuneata - Helen White
G. striata - Helen White
G. maugei - Neville Kemp, UK/Indonesia
G. placida - Philip Hamilton, Australia
G. humeralis - David Armbrust, Australia - http://www.anhs.com.au


(1) Brown, Danny, "Diamond Dove, Geopelia cuneata", "Peaceful Dove, Geopelia placida", "Bar-Shouldered Dove, Geopelia humeralis",   A Guide to Pigeons, Doves & Quail, Their Management, Care & Breeding, South Tweeds Heads, Australia: Australian Birdkeeper 1995, pp. 114-122

(2) Gibbs, David; Barnes, Eustace; Cox, John "Geopelia", Pigeons and Doves, A Guide to Pigeons and Doves of the World, London: Yale University Press 2001, pp. 311-317

(3) Goodwin, Derek, "The Wonga Pigeon and the Geopelias", Pigeons and Doves of the World, London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History), 1983, pp. 169-174

(4) Vriends, Matthew M., PhD., "Genus:  Geopelia",  Doves, A Complete Pet Owner's Manual. Happauge, NY: Barrons Educational Series, Inc., 1994 , pp. 81-85

©2005 - Helen White

Helen White
P. O. Box 367,
Tallahassee, FL 32302-0367

Last revised on: November 8, 2005