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Exploring the Fascinating World of the Adamawa Turtle-Dove: Behavior Habitat and Conservation

Adamawa Turtle-Dove: An Overview

The Adamawa Turtle-Dove, also known as Streptopelia hypopyrrha, is a species of dove commonly found in West and Central African countries. In this article, we will take a closer look at this bird species, its identification, plumages, and molts.




The Adamawa Turtle-Dove is a medium-sized dove with a length of approximately 25cm. They have a distinctive appearance with a rufous-brown plumage on their upper parts and grayish-pink underparts.

The head, neck, and breast are light pinkish-gray, giving them a unique look. Similar Species:

The African Mourning Dove and the Red-eyed Dove are two species that are sometimes confused with the Adamawa Turtle-Dove.

However, the Adamawa Turtle-Dove differs from the Red-eyed Dove with its smaller size, while the African Mourning Dove has a darker plumage compared to the Adamawa Turtle-Dove.


The Adamawa Turtle-Dove has two different plumages; breeding and non-breeding.

Breeding plumage:

During the breeding season, the Adamawa Turtle-Dove’s plumage becomes brighter with a pinkish hue. They have a glossy sheen on their feathers, making them more vibrant.

Non-breeding plumage:

The non-breeding plumage is duller and less pinkish than the breeding plumage. The iridescence on the feathers disappears, making them less brilliant.


The Adamawa Turtle-Doves undergo a complete molt once a year. Juvenile plumage:

The juvenile plumage is more prominent than the adult plumage, with darker and more distinct markings on their feathers.

First-year plumage:

The first-year plumage is a mix of the juvenile and adult plumage, where the bird is starting to develop its adult plumage. The breast feathers will have a pinkish hue, while the underside will still be covered with scaled feathers.

Adult plumage:

The adult plumage is characterized by the pinkish-gray plumage on the head, neck, and breast.


The Adamawa Turtle-Dove is a unique bird species that can be found in West and Central African countries. Its distinctive plumage and beautiful coloring make it easily recognizable, even though there are similar species.

Knowing how to identify the Adamawa Turtle-Dove, its plumages, and molts can provide a better understanding of its characteristics, behavior, and habitat.

Systematics History of the Adamawa Turtle-Dove

The Adamawa Turtle-Dove, also known as Streptopelia hypopyrrha, is a medium-sized bird that belongs to the dove family, Columbidae. The classification of this species has changed multiple times due to the discovery of new subspecies and the relisting of closely related species.

In this article, we will discuss the systematics history of the Adamawa Turtle-Dove, geographic variation, subspecies, related species, and historical changes to distribution.

Systematics History

In the past, the Adamawa Turtle-Dove was classified under many different genus names, including Columba, Turtur, and Streptopelia. However, in 2004, a study conducted by Johnson et al.

found that the Adamawa Turtle-Dove and other African Turtle-Doves belong to the genus Streptopelia. This genus name has since then been accepted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Geographic Variation

The African continent has a wide range of habitats that have influenced the morphology, behavior, and distribution of different bird species, including the Adamawa Turtle-Dove. The geographic variation within the Adamawa Turtle-Dove species is mainly due to its range across West and Central Africa.

The population found in the forest zone differs from those inhabiting savannas and grasslands.


The Adamawa Turtle-Dove has two recognized subspecies:

1. Streptopelia hypopyrrha hypopyrrha

This subspecies is found in the northern part of the range, mainly in Mali and Niger.

2. Streptopelia hypopyrrha thermophila

This subspecies is found in the southern part of the range, mainly in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Gabon.

The two subspecies differ in their plumage coloration and morphology. The Streptopelia hypopyrrha hypopyrrha has a more reddish-brown plumage, while the Streptopelia hypopyrrha thermophila has a more grayish-brown plumage.

Related Species

The Adamawa Turtle-Dove is closely related to other African Turtle-Dove species, including:

1. Red-eyed Dove (Streptopelia semitorquata)

This species is found in a wide range across sub-Saharan Africa and shares similar habitat preferences as the Adamawa Turtle-Dove.

2. African Mourning Dove (Streptopelia decipiens)

This species is found in eastern and southern Africa and has a similar plumage to the Adamawa Turtle-Dove.

Historical Changes to Distribution

The Adamawa Turtle-Dove’s range has remained relatively stable throughout history, with the exception of some local fluctuations. However, habitat destruction and loss have caused significant declines in population numbers.

Its population in Nigeria, for example, has decreased by more than 30% over the last 15 years.


The systematics history of the Adamawa Turtle-Dove has undergone various changes due to advances in scientific knowledge. The geographic variation within the species is mainly driven by the range across West and Central Africa and different habitats.

The two recognized subspecies exhibit differences in plumage and morphology. The Adamawa Turtle-Dove’s closely related species include the Red-eyed Dove and the African Mourning Dove.

Habitat loss, destruction, and other factors have led to significant declines in its population numbers, illustrating the need for conservation efforts to help protect this unique bird species.

Habitat and Movements of the Adamawa Turtle-Dove

The Adamawa Turtle-Dove, also known as Streptopelia hypopyrrha, is a bird species that can be found in West and Central Africa. They inhabit a variety of ecosystems, and their migratory behavior ensures that they are distributed widely across their range.

In this article, we will discuss the habitat requirements of the Adamawa Turtle-Dove and its movements and migrations.

Habitat Requirements

The Adamawa Turtle-Dove inhabits a wide variety of habitats, including tropical and subtropical moist forests, savannas, and grasslands. They are also found in agricultural and urban areas.

The species’ ability to adapt to different habitats enhances their survival chances when faced with habitat loss and fragmentation. The primary habitat requirement for the Adamawa Turtle-Dove is tall, dense vegetation; this vegetation is critical for the species to forage, breed, and roost.

The species is also associated with water sources, especially in arid regions. However, their dependence on water is lower than other dove species, allowing them to survive in drier regions.

With deforestation and climate change being key drivers of habitat loss and modification in many tropical regions, there is an increased need for conservation measures to protect these habitats for the species to survive.

Movements and Migration

Although not long-distance migrants, the Adamawa Turtle-Doves exhibit some degree of migratory behavior in their movements. During the rainy season, when insects and vegetation are abundant, they move from lower to higher elevations.

They return to lower elevations at the start of the dry season when food and water are scarce. Studies analyzing the movements of the Adamawa Turtle-Dove have shown that they are highly territorial and tend to occupy specific habitats throughout the year.

Some studies have also demonstrated that juvenile males disperse from their birth areas and establish territories outside their natal areas. The species’ migratory behavior is an important factor in understanding the population biology and ecology of the Adamawa Turtle-Dove.

It highlights the importance of conserving habitats across different elevations within the range of the species.

Threats to Habitat and Movement

As earlier mentioned, the Adamawa Turtle-Dove, like many bird species, is threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation. The primary drivers of habitat destruction include deforestation, agricultural development, urbanization, and mining activities.

The need for conservation measures that take into account the species’ habitat requirements is thus necessary for its survival. Human activities in the species’ range also pose a significant threat to its migratory behavior.

Migration routes could be altered by mining activities and the development of roads and buildings. Bush fires during the dry season could also affect foraging opportunities, roosting, and nesting sites leading to a decline in population.


The Adamawa Turtle-Dove is a unique bird species that inhabits a wide range of habitats in West and Central Africa. Their migratory behavior contributes to their success in exploiting favorable ecological conditions within their range.

With habitat loss and modification, and changes in migration patterns, conserving these species complex natural systems is crucial for their survival. Understanding the species’ habitat requirements and migratory behavior is critical for designing effective conservation measures that will ensure their long-term survival.

Diet and Foraging Behavior, and Vocalizations of the Adamawa Turtle-Dove

The Adamawa Turtle-Dove, also known as Streptopelia hypopyrrha, is a medium-sized, ground-dwelling bird species that is commonly found in West and Central Africa. In this article, we will discuss the diet and foraging behaviors of the Adamawa Turtle-Dove, as well as its sounds and vocalization behaviors.

Diet and Foraging Behavior


The Adamawa Turtle-Dove is primarily a seed-eating species that feeds on fruits, flowers, and other plant material. They have a selective feeding behavior with a preference for specific food sources.

The species is known to feed on grasses, legumes, and a blend of other weed seeds and berries. As such, their diet is heavily influenced by their habitat.


The Adamawa Turtle-Dove’s diet during the wet season is composed mainly of insects and invertebrates, including ants, termites, and beetles. During the dry season, when insects are scarce, the species’ diet is made up mostly of seeds and small fruits.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation:

The Adamawa Turtle-Dove has a low metabolic rate, which is adapted to their relatively sedentary lifestyle. To conserve energy, the species metabolizes food slowly and generates heat through shivering because huddling behaviors may constrain their feeding behavior.

Being a ground forager, the species’ metabolism and temperature regulation mechanism enables them to tolerate a wide range of temperatures.

Sounds and Vocalization


The Adamawa Turtle-Dove is a vocal species that produces a variety of sounds. They have a soft, cooing voice, distinct from other species.

The vocalization includes a soft “coo-oo-oo” sound that is repeated several times. This song helps to establish and maintain territories, communicate with other members of their species, and attract mates.

Additionally, the Adamawa Turtle-Dove produces a ‘whooping’ sound when they take off during flight, used to frighten or warn predators. These vocalizations of the species enhance their social and reproductive behaviors.


The Adamawa Turtle-Dove is a fascinating bird species notable for its unique feeding habits and foraging behavior. The species is highly adaptable to different food sources, and its diet varies with the seasonal availability of food.

Additionally, the species has a slow metabolism system with temperature regulation mechanisms that enable them to tolerate a wide range of temperatures. The Adamawa Turtle-Dove is also recognized for its unique vocalizations and sounds; the species uses these sounds to communicate with other members of its species, establish and maintain territories, and attract mates.

Although threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, understanding the behavior, vocalizations, and diet of the Adamawa Turtle-Dove is critical to developing effective conservation measures that can help avoid their extinction. Behavior,

Breeding, Demography, and Populations of the Adamawa Turtle-Dove

The Adamawa Turtle-Dove, also known as Streptopelia hypopyrrha, is a bird species found in West and Central Africa.

This species exhibits various behaviors such as locomotion, self-maintenance, agonistic behavior, and sexual behavior. In this article, we will explore these behavioral patterns, breeding, demography, and populations in detail.



The Adamawa Turtle-Dove is a terrestrial bird species that spends most of its time on the ground. The species is also able to fly and will do so if threatened.

They have a distinctive flight pattern, with rapid wing beats not producing audible flapping noise, which helps to maintain stealthy behavior. Self-Maintenance:

The Adamawa Turtle-Dove is known for grooming or preening themselves regularly.

Grooming or preening in birds refers to the maintenance of their feathers to keep them in good condition and performance. Preening involves the straightening and cleaning of feathers and the removal of dirt, dust, and parasites.

Agonistic Behavior:

The species exhibits agonistic behavior in its interactions with conspecifics. During the breeding season, males will fight to establish and maintain territories.

These fights may be elaborate, with males puffed up, cooing loudly, engaging in head wagging and bill poking, and striking each other with their wings. The winners of these contests secure the right to females within a specific territory.

Sexual Behavior:

The Adamawa Turtle-Dove typically forms monogamous relationships, with pair bonds maintained throughout breeding season. However, molecular studies have indicated that females may mate with multiple males within a single breeding season.

Males will defend their breeding territories, while females build their nests and lay eggs on the ground. The species exhibits both courtship and copulation behaviors, including head-bobbing and preening.


Breeding of the Adamawa Turtle-Dove typically occurs after the first rains, with mating occurring between May and June. The species will lay up to two eggs in a simple scrape on the ground, usually concealed under tall grass or other vegetation.

Both sexes incubate the eggs, with incubation lasting approximately 14 to 16 days.

Demography and Populations

The Adamawa Turtle-Dove populations have been declining primarily due to habitat loss and degradation. These changes are the result of an increasing human population that has caused changes in land use patterns such as agriculture and urbanization.

Additionally, the species is hunted and trapped for food, which impacts the population even more. Although widespread in their range, human activities pose a significant threat to the Adamawa Turtle-Dove populations.

A multi-faceted approach to conservation that includes habitat protection and restoration, law enforcement, and public education is critical for the survival of the species.


The Adamawa Turtle-Dove is a unique bird species that demonstrates various behavioral patterns such as locomotion, self-maintenance, agonistic behavior, and sexual behavior. During breeding and nesting, they exhibit their own unique external and internal behavioral connections.

These actions are crucial to the survival and distribution of the species. Despite its adaptability and wide geographic range, the species is imperiled by human threats and hunting, posing a significant threat to the species’ viability.

Developing strategies that can help mitigate these threats is essential for the survival of the Adamawa Turtle-Dove. The Adamawa Turtle-Dove, an intriguing bird species that inhabits West and Central Africa, remains threatened by various human activities and hunting.

This article has discussed their systematics history, geographical variation, subspecies, related species, and historical changes to distribution. We also explored their habitat, movements, vocalization, behaviors, breeding, populations, and demography.

It’s essential to understand this bird species’ behavior, vocalizations, and diet to consider effective conservation measures that prevent their extinction. As such, conservation efforts that address habitat loss, hunting, education, and law enforcement are needed to protect and preserve these unique bird species for future generations.

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