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Diamond Dove

Geopelia cuneata
Conservation Status: 
Least Concern
Semi-arid habitats near water

Diamond Doves are a small species of pigeon native to the arid regions of Australia.  They must live near bodies of water to get a daily drink, but they are well-adapted to their dry habitats.

Diamond Doves have adaptations that allow them to remain active in extreme heat in the middle of the day, even as their competitors and predators are forced to rest during the hottest hours.  Diamond Doves produce less body heat than non-desert birds of similar size.  They can also tolerate unusually high body temperatures without showing signs of heat stress.

Their diet consists of grass seeds and bugs.

Diamond Doves are preyed upon by raptors, and when a raptor is seen the Diamond Doves can stay motionless for up to 30 minutes, relying on their excellent camouflage to keep themselves hidden.

Breeding occurs in the Australian spring, typically following rainfall. Constructing flimsy nests from grass and twigs, they lay two eggs, with an incubation period lasting around 13 days. Similar to all pigeons and doves, Diamond Doves produce "crop milk" for their offspring. The parents' crop secretes a solid white substance that serves as food for the young pigeons. The chicks grow rapidly, fledging at approximately 14 days old.

Diamond Doves' population, although unknown, appears to be stable.  They also inhabit arid areas which are not often threatened with habitat destruction.  It seems likely that the Diamond Dove will still be around for many generations to come.