The tambourine dove (Turtur tympanistria) is a pigeon which is a widespread resident breeding bird in woodlands and other thick vegetation in Africa south of the Sahara Desert. Its range extends from Senegal east to Ethiopia and Kenya and southwards through eastern Africa to south-eastern South Africa, but it is absent from the drier areas of south-western Africa. There is a population on the Comoros Islands.

This is very much a species of thick woodlands, including dense gardens and plantations of castor oil, cocoa and rubber. As such, this shy species is usually seen when flushed whilst feeding on the forest floor, The tambourine dove builds a frail stick nest low in a thicket or vine tangle, and lays two cream-coloured eggs. Both sexes incubate, although this task is performed mainly by the female, and the eggs hatch in 13 days with another 13–14 days to fledging. The chicks are fed regurgitated food.

The tambourine dove is a small plump pigeon, typically 22 cm in length. The male has a white face with a black spot behind the eye, white underparts and a grey crown. Its back, hind neck, wings and tail are pale grey brown, and the folded wings have large dark purple patches. The under tail is brown. The eye ring and feet are purple-red, and the bill is purple.

The female is duller, and is white only on the belly, the face and breast being a pale grey-brown. The crown is grey-brown, without the blue-grey of the male. The juvenile resembles the female but has chestnut fringes to the feathers of the back, breast and flanks. Even in these plumages, this species is paler below than other small African doves.

The tambourine dove’s flight is fast and agile, and it tends to stay quite low when flushed. In flight it shows chestnut primary flight feathers and under wings.

The call of this bird is a persistently repeated du-du-du-du-du.

Tambourine dove is usually solitary, but is sometimes seen in family groups or with lemon doves. It is quite terrestrial, and usually forages on the ground for seeds and small fruits. It has a preference for seeds of the castor oil plant. It will on occasion eat small insects and molluscs.



Tambourine Dove
Date Location Count
2020-11-08 07:34Wulki Farm2
2020-11-14 07:52Ebekawopa (Abrafo)--"stingless bee center" forest patch1
2020-11-05 15:43Shai Hills Resource Reserve1
2020-11-14 08:16Cuckooland Tented Lodge1
2020-11-08 06:44Kibale Guest Cottages1
2020-11-18 07:39Kibale Forest NP1
2020-11-10 08:00Bigodi Swamp1
2020-11-14 06:34Kibale Forest Camp1
2020-11-20 09:47Bigodi Community Walk2
2020-10-28 09:01Budongo Forest Reserve--Royal Mile1
2020-11-14 07:24Platbos Forest2
2020-11-08 06:47Mpanga Central Forestry Reserve4
2020-10-30 14:59Nkima Forest Lodge1
2020-11-01 09:36Entebbe Botanical Garden2
2020-10-30 13:48Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve1
2020-11-18 15:09Angama Lodge (Ol Kurruk)1
2020-11-15 07:29Kichwa Tembo Lodge and Concession1
2020-11-25 10:20Naretoi1
2020-11-25 15:39Ngong Forest Sanctuary1
2020-10-30 12:45Blue Post Hotel, Thika
2020-11-12 09:30Magongo Hills1
2020-11-06 15:07Outward Bound School and surrounds1
2020-11-14 06:44Nelspruit--Mataffin1
2020-11-21 10:10Nelspruit Nature Reserve1
2020-11-17 07:31East Usambara Mountains--Kihuhwi-Sigi Forest Reserve1
2020-11-20 08:13Arabuko-Sokoke Forest
2020-10-29 15:00Arabuko-Sokoke Forest--Braschystegia Forest1
2020-10-29 14:28Arabuko-Sokoke NP--Kenya Forest Service1
2020-11-15 05:24Mount Moreland IBA2
2020-11-22 15:30Umhlanga Lagoon NR
2020-11-03 07:16Mkhuze GR (please be more specific)1
2020-10-30 05:11Phinda GR - Sand Forest
2020-10-31 05:19Bonamanzi GR1