Found throughout most of Africa, the Namaqua dove is the smallest dove in the region and the only one with a long tail. The sexes are similar in size, with a length of about 27 cm, but are dimorphic in plumage colouration. The males have black faces, throats and chests; the rest of the underparts are white and the head, nape and upperparts are grey-brown. Eyes are brown, and legs and feet are purple. The female differs in that it has a buffy-grey face, and the chin, throat and breast are light brown.
The Namaqua dove prefers dry woodland, such as arid shrub and acacia savanna, and is also found on farms and in quiet gardens. They are usually solitary birds and are most commonly found singly or in pairs, although they may gather in quite large numbers at water sources.
Namaqua doves feed mainly on grass seeds, and other small seeds, foraging on the ground, often along the edges of gravel roads. The call is a rather mournful “kuh-whooo”.
Namaqua doves are monogamous and their nest is a frail platform of twigs and small roots lined with fine grass, usually located low down in a convenient shrub or bush. The female lays a clutch of one or two eggs that hatch after an incubation period of approximately 15 days.
The scientific binomial for the Namaqua dove is Oena capensis; Oena from the Greek for a “wild pigeon” and capensis from the Latin for “from the Cape (of Good Hope)”. Thus a wild pigeon (or dove, I suppose) from the Cape of Good Hope. Which is accuate enough, although it could apply equally to several other species of pigeons (or doves).