World’s Smallest Dove?

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?

Namaqua Dove A
The description of the Namaqua Dove in The Birds of Europe comparing it to a Budgerigar and a House Sparrow!

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.

Mourning Dove

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.

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Now the COMMON WOOD-PIGEON I saw in London is much larger.

Common Wood-Pigeon: length = 16″ Wingspan = 28″ weight = 17 oz.

Common Wood-Pigeon

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.

Common Ground-Dove

Which makes it even smaller than the NAMAQUA DOVE.

Namaqua Dove: length = 8.5″ Wingspan = 12″ weight = 1.4 oz.

By Charlesjsharp (Own work, from Sharp Photography, sharpphotography) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Namaqua Dove By Charlesjsharp (Own work, from Sharp Photography, sharpphotography) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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.

By Leoadec (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons - world's smallest dove
Plain-breasted Ground Dove By Leoadec (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons
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.

3 Replies to “World’s Smallest Dove?”

    1. Hi Jim, according to my 2012 Pizzey and Knight The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia is 19-22 cm or 7.5-8.5 inches, which puts it about the same size as Namaqua Dove. I also noticed the Peaceful Dove is also about that same size. Thanks for asking.

      1. Thank you for the reply, I guess I was thinking more of their weight they’re pretty light maybe a little longer than some of the stockier birds but they don’t weigh very much I think also there young leave the nest sooner than most other birds in the world usually around 12 to 14 days they become a brancher. I think they do that to avoid Predators namely snakes who smell the nest. Anyway thanks again , Jim Stevens

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