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Lemon Dove - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Forest Dove (C. l. simplex), Cinnamon Dove

Photo by peterday
Wondo Genet, Ethiopia, November 2013
Columba larvata


25-29 cm (9¾-11½ in)
Dark brown plumage, black bill, glossed green on sides of neck and cinnamon brown below.
The feet, iris and orbital skin are red.
The female has a dull cinnamon brown plumage.

Similar Species

The male is distinct from other African pigeons such as Ring-necked Dove and African Mourning Dove for its terrestrial habit and for having a white face and forecrown.


Photo by the late Jan Van den Broeck
St-Lucia, South Africa, 2005

Western Africa: Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo
Eastern Africa: Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi
Southern Africa: Zimbabwe, South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, eSwatini,
African Islands: Gulf of Guinea Islands: Bioko (Fernando Po), Sao Tome, Principe

In southern Africa it is confined to the eastern and southern coastal areas.


Sometimes placed in the genus Aplopelia.


Photo by jstanleyg
Nekemte, Ethiopia, June 2016
  • 'C. l. inornata:
  • 'C. l. principalis:
  • 'C. l. bronzina:
  • 'C. l. larvata:


Understory of lowland and afromontane evergreen forests from sea level to above 2 000m as well as in the alien pine and oak plantations of the Western Cape, South Africa.


It forages, solitarily or in pairs, in leaf litter on the forest floor. Its restless scratching and scrabbling in forest litter may alert the astute observer to its presence. It has been recorded as feeding on seeds, berries, insects, molluscs, bulbs and tubers. They are particularly fond of bamboo seeds.


A solitary nester, they construct a flat platform nest out of twigs and rootlets or pine needles. The female usually lays 2 creamy white eggs.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved June 2016)
  4. Maclean (1993) Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa 6th edition. Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund: Cape Town.
  5. BF Member observations

Recommended Citation

External Links