Peaceful dove (Geopelia placida)
|Size||Male length: 20.8 - 21.4 cm (2)|
Female length: 17.9 - 19.1 cm (2)
|Weight||36 - 60 g (2)|
- The peaceful dove belongs to the Geopelia genus, with Geo meaning ‘ground’, and pelia meaning ‘dove’.
- The peaceful dove is native to Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
- The male peaceful dove displays to the female during courtship by bowing to the ground and splaying its tail.
- The peaceful dove has adapted to habitat changes brought about by increased human development.
The peaceful dove is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).
The aptly named peaceful dove (Geopelia placida) is native to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Australia (1). There are three subspecies (Geopelia placida placida, Geopelia placida papua and Geopelia placida clelandi) (3), all of which vary slightly in geographical location and physical appearance (2). Although these taxonomic sub-divisions are currently accepted (3), their validity is questioned by some, and a number of scientists believe that the peaceful dove is conspecific to Geopelia striata, the zebra dove (2).
The adult peaceful dove has a grey forehead. However, the rest of its head gradually becomes more greenish-brown towards the nape, which also has indistinct blackish barring. The sides of its neck are pale yellowish-brown, and each feather has three black, horizontal bars at the tip. The throat of the peaceful dove is pinkish-grey, as is the breast which also has bar-like markings. Its belly and flanks are reddish-pink in colour (2).
The peaceful dove’s wings have square-edged feathers that are greyish-brown and tipped with black, giving its plumage a distinctive barred pattern. Its outer tail feathers are black with white tips, compared to the central feathers which are greyish-brown, and those underneath the tail which are whitish (2).
The pale blue eyes of the peaceful dove are the same colour as the surrounding skin. Its grey bill becomes increasingly more bluish towards the base, and has a blue cere. This species has pinkish-red feet (2).
The juvenile peaceful dove is similar to the adult except for some reddish-brown on the wing feathers, which are also partially tipped white. Its underparts are light brownish-orange and the barring on its breast is more apparent (2).
The peaceful dove is native to Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea (1) (4).
Within Australia, the peaceful dove is present throughout most of the mainland, and is also found on Barrow Island, just off the west coast. However, this species avoids areas of extreme aridity in Northern Territory, as well as closed canopy forest in Queensland, and is considered uncommon in Western Australia (2).
An adaptable species (2), the peaceful dove is present in agricultural and suburban land (2) (5), as well as open sclerophyll forest, woodland and savannah. This species also occurs in tall shrubland where Eucalyptus, Acacia and Casuarina species are common, and where water is present (2).
Ground doves of the Geopelia genus, such as the peaceful dove, are noted for their quiet and peaceable behaviour (6). During courtship, the male ground dove displays to the female on the ground, or occasionally on a fence or the branch of a tree. Although some variation may occur depending on the species of ground dove, the bowing displays of all species in the Geopelia genus are similar. The male lowers its breast to the ground and splays its raised tail, also partly opening its wings. Believed to possibly only occur in Australian individuals of the peaceful dove species, and not those of New Guinea, the male sometimes displays in flight, flying sharply upwards and then gliding back to its perch with its tail spread wide (2).
The peaceful dove often raises more than one brood per season. Each clutch generally consists of two white eggs that are laid in a nest built 0.5 to 12 metres from the ground. The nest is built from twigs and is typically placed in a tree or shrub. Eggs are incubated by the male and female for 13 to 14 days, and young birds fledge 16 to 17 days after the eggs hatch (2).
It is believed by some that the peaceful dove belongs to the same species as the zebra dove (Geopelia striata), so it is possible that these species’ behaviour may be comparable. More often seen in pairs or small groups, the zebra dove forages on the ground for seeds and leafy plants, occasionally also feeding on small invertebrates (2).
There are no known threats to the peaceful dove at present. This species is considered to be widespread and adaptable, and its population stable (4).
No conservation measures are currently known to be in place for the peaceful dove.
Find out more about the peaceful dove:
BirdLife International - Peaceful dove:
More information on bird species on Barrow Island, Australia:
Moro, D. and MacAulay, I. (2010) A Guide to the Birds of Barrow Island. Chevron Australia, Perth. Available at:
Learn more about bird conservation in Australia:
Find out more about conservation in Australia:
Australian Wildlife Conservancy:
Australian Conservation Foundation:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
- Cere: in birds, an area of skin at the base of the upper mandible of the beak, surrounding the nostrils.
- Conspecific: of the same species.
- Genus: a category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
- Incubation: the act of incubating eggs; that is, keeping them warm so that development is possible.
- Invertebrates: animals with no backbone, such as insects, crustaceans, worms, molluscs, spiders, cnidarians (jellyfish, corals, sea anemones) and echinoderms.
- Nape: the back of the neck.
- Sclerophyll: a type of vegetation with hard, thick-skinned leaves; for example, eucalypts and acacias.
- Subspecies: a population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.
IUCN Red List (April, 2013)
- Gibbs, D. (2010) Pigeons and Doves: A Guide to the Pigeons and Doves of the World. A&C Black Publishers, London.
Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) (April, 2013)
BirdLife Australia (April, 2013)
- Sibley, C. and Monroe, B. (1990) Distribution and Taxonomy of Birds of the World. Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut.
- Gould, J. (1848) An Introduction to the Birds of Australia. R. & J. E. Taylor, London.