One of the blogs I follow is Jem Babbington’s The Birds of Saudi Arabia. Periodically he has a picture of a Namaqua Dove, one of the world’s smallest doves. I play along at home so I looked up the dove in The Birds of Europe, which covers the Western Palearctic, an area that encompasses Europe and Northern Africa.
The description of the Namaqua Dove had photos comparing it to other species to show its small size. And I was intrigued. Was it the world’s smallest dove?
So if it’s that small, is it the world’s smallest dove?
First some perspective.
The most numerous dove in the Eastern US is the MOURNING DOVE.
Mourning Dove: length = 12″ Wingspan = 18″ weight = 4.2 oz.
The introduced EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE is a little larger than the Mourning Dove and is also seen in the Eastern US.
Eurasian Collared-Dove: length = 13″ Wingspan = 22″ weight = 7 oz.
Now the COMMON WOOD-PIGEON I saw in London is much larger.
Common Wood-Pigeon: length = 16″ Wingspan = 28″ weight = 17 oz.
Now before I researched the smallest dove and after encountering it in Texas and Florida, I knew the COMMON GROUND-DOVE native to North America was pretty small.
Common Ground-Dove: length = 6.5″ Wingspan = 10.5″ weight = 1.1 oz.
Which makes it even smaller than the NAMAQUA DOVE.
Namaqua Dove: length = 8.5″ Wingspan = 12″ weight = 1.4 oz.
So what is the World’s Smallest Dove?
As with most things it all depends. By mass the PLAIN-BREASTED GROUND DOVE native to the New World is the smallest at .9 oz.
Plain-breasted Ground Dove: length = 5.8″ Wingspan = ?” weight = .9 oz.
At 5.5″ the DWARF FRUIT-DOVE native to New Guinea is the smallest by actual length but is a stockier bird.
Dwarf Fruit-dove: length = 5.5″ Wingspan = ?” weight = 1.7 oz.
I couldn’t find a photo that wasn’t copyright protected. Here is a link to a photo on The Internet Bird Collection.
So there you have it. Once again curiosity leads down many paths.