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The diamond dove, which is a member of the bird family Columbidae, is native to Australia and parts of Indonesia. It has a gray body with white diamond-shaped markings on its feathers and orange rings around its eyes. One of the smallest doves, it weighs approximately 1 pound (0.4 kg) and is about 7-inches (17 cm) long. The sex of the diamond dove can be determined by its coloring and the thickness of its eye rings. Males have a silvery gray color, and the orange rings around their eyes are much thicker than that of the females, who have more of a brownish hue.
The diamond dove was brought to Europe in the early 1800s. Since then, the birds have become quite popular and are commonly sold in many commercial aviaries. They generally adapt very well to captivity and make excellent pets. They are easy to care for, and many people find their soft cooing to be soothing. In the wild, diamond doves can sometimes live as long as 14 years. They usually live near water, feeding on ants and small seeds.
The male diamond dove is generally responsible for initiating mating. After finding a suitable site to build a nest, he begins calling until a female joins him. The call that signals mating is quite specific, and it doesn't sound anything like other dove calls. Once a female responds, the pair begin the mating ritual by building an intricate nest made of twigs and grasses. An unusual part of the mating procedure involves the male dove feeding the female dove, much in the way a mother dove feeds her babies.
Once mated, the diamond doves are very devoted as pairs. They kiss using a series of short pecks around the head and neck. During the night, they snuggle together while sleeping. If one of them leaves the next, the dove left behind will call until the absent dove returns.
When a female diamond dove lays her eggs, they incubate for about 14 days. The male and female both take partial responsibility for the incubation duties. When infant diamond doves first hatch, they have no feathers and are completely helpless. It usually takes about two weeks for all their feathers to come in. After that, they are generally ready to begin flying. During the first two weeks, the baby birds are fed by their parents, and then they begin foraging for their own food.
A local pet store has these doves, and they always looked very sweet to me. I've never had birds, but these little doves seem like very pleasant companions.
I have cats, so I wouldn't want to subject birds to that kind of scrutiny, but if I ever did decide to get a bird, I think I'd strongly consider the diamond dove.
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