Peaceful Doves

Peaceful Dove, Cleland Wildlife Park

Peaceful Dove, Cleland Wildlife Park

One of the most beautiful birds found in Australia would have to be the Peaceful Dove. At first glance it appears to be a dull grey colour all over. On closer inspection, however, the delicate markings make this bird stand out from many others.

The Peaceful Dove is found throughout eastern, central and northern Australia and the northern parts of Western Australia. Here in Murray Bridge, South Australia, they are widespread but not particularly common anywhere. The one exception is an area several kilometres west of our home. On my walks through the nearby hills I have often heard their soft, musical doodle-doo calls echoing through the mallee scrub. It is a peaceful, soothing call, one that I love hearing.

From time to time we hear or see them in the mallee scrub at the back of our house garden. Yesterday, while having lunch, we were delighted to hear one calling just a few metres from the front door. By the time I raced outside with the camera, it had gone. Trying to get a good photo of this species in the wild has been a long, frustrating journey over the last twelve months. I haven’t succeeded – yet.

The photo above is of a captive bird. It was taken in the walk through aviary at Cleland Wildlife Park a few days ago.

Related article:

Updated November 2013.

Updated August 2015.


24 Responses to “Peaceful Doves”

  1. Kate says:

    Hi there my name is Kate im in north QLD and i have in my possesion one injured peaceful dove finally identified thanks to your photo when he is healed if you like i will get a decent photo of him for you if you likeemail me if you are interested and i will let you know as soon as he/she? is healed.

  2. Trevor says:

    Thanks Kate, I would like to see a photo when it recovers. Thanks for visiting my site.

  3. Bev Manning says:

    Hi Trevor, I have a dove visiting my yard in Koondrook ( On the Murray, near Kerang) It appears to be the shape and size of a peaceful dove, and has the doodle-doo call, but is almost white in colour, with just some fawn mottling on the wings. The iris of the eye is red. It’s very tame and allows me to get within arms length but then hops to a branch a bit further away. I was wondering if it might be an escapee from an aviary-do people keep them in captivity.thanks, Bev

  4. Trevor says:

    Hi there Bev. The call of the Peaceful Dove is diagnostic so it could be a colour variation of that species. They are kept extensively in captivity and its behaviour indicates that it is an aviary escapee. Many colour variations of our doves and pigeons exist in avicultural circles.

    One thing puzzles me – the red iris. Peaceful Doves are grey. I’m currently in Sydney visiting family so I don’t have access to my reference library to check. It could well be a foreign species of dove with a call similar to the Peaceful Dove.

  5. Dan says:

    Unfortuneatly I have one in my care at the moment. It was struck by a car travelling in the opposite direction. Its injuries seem very bad. One eye is sunken with damage to the eye socket and seems out of place and the other is dark red and bleeding a little, i fear it may be severe trauma which the bird may not recover from but I will attempt to keep it warm and comfortable with water and grass seed available for it. Its legs and wings seem fine as it has attempted to fly across the room but it is only responsive to sound and not movement so I fear it may not be able to return to the wild. Time will tell

  6. Trevor says:

    Hi there Dan, thanks for stopping by and leaving some comments.

    Sadly, your description sounds terrible and I fear for its long term survival. There is probably little anyone can do. Thanks for caring and for giving the poor bird some respite.

  7. Tanja says:

    Hi Dan,
    I have what appears to be a peaceful dove nesting in my backyard (Queensland).

    I will also send you a photo of the nesting bird, if you like.

  8. Robyn says:

    Hi there,

    I too love Peaceful Doves, their coo-ing is soo romantic and calming 🙂 So to see more of them, what I did was I bought a large bg of Wild Bird Seed from Woolies and scatter the seeds on my front lawn every few days or so, usually in the afternoons and sometimes early in the morning. Oh and it is so rewarding to see them flying down and poking around eating the seeds. Aahh what bliss 🙂 Why don’t you do the same?

  9. kerry says:


    I wonder if you know what a baby peaceful dove would eat. some neighbourhood children bought me one, it has all its feathers but is so tiny. Its about -1 degree here at night at the moment, so im keeping it warm, but its not eating. ive put seed in near him, and am periodically holding it over a little water bowl. im dipping it beak in the water, but im not sure its taking in much. the poor little thing, i wouldreally appreciate any advice you coul give. ie looked at heaps of web pages, but im getting conflicting information. any advice?

  10. Brian says:

    There seems to be plenty of these birds around where I live in Yorkeys Knob and they regularly nest on the fronds of the Alexander palms we have in the back yard. This is always a race for the bird to complete their breeding before the frond falls and often they fail. However for the first time a pair of doves have built a nest on the top of a brick pillar which supports our back patio. This is undercover and away from snakes and the everpresent danger of kookaburras and drongos looking for a free feed.

  11. Trevor says:

    Thanks for your contribution to the discussion Brian. Your birds seem to have a little more intelligence than most doves and pigeons in choosing a safer nesting spot.

  12. Brian says:

    Hi Trevor,
    Well our Doves have successfully raised their young and now they are rebuilding their nest in the same location. There is a bit of a breeding frenzy around our place at the moment. A pair of Sunbirds are trying to build a nest on a piece of wire near our backdoor and the beautiful Rainbow Bee eater is starting to dig a hole for a nest in our front lawn. But my award goes to a Willie Wagtail who has a nest on a joint in the power line on the road in front of our house, it is totally exposed and the bird sits for hours on end in the 30 Deg temperatures we have each day, you can only imagine the amount of heat she must be absorbing.

  13. Trevor says:

    Hi Brian,


    Many birds are very clever about hiding their nests, so much so that you can walk every day within a metre of one hidden in a bush and not be aware of it.

    Then there are others… like that Willie Wagtail. The eggs would possibly hatch without sitting on them! Actually – the eggs can overheat, so sometimes birds will stand on the nest with wings outspread to keep them cool from the sun.

    It will be interesting to see if they are successful parents.

  14. says:

    I have two beautiful grey doves just like your first picture nestiing in my holly tree. Thanks for the great photo!

  15. […] I miss not having the Diamond Dove around here, my disappointment is partly compensated by having Peaceful Doves occasionally in our […]

  16. Trevor says:

    Thank you for visiting, Kathleen, and for leaving a comment.

  17. kylie says:

    Found female peaceful dove, picked it up brought it home and she laid an egg. Will she bring chick up alone, what special needs will she need. Many thanks.

  18. […] have a cuppa in the garden when we heard the soft and soothing “doodle-doo” call of a Peaceful Dove nearby. House Sparrows frequently visited the fish pond near where we sat, but the Diamond Firetail […]

  19. David Zuccaro says:

    Two of these doves visit my backyard every day here in Elwood, Melbourne. They are indeed beautiful creatures with a delightful warbling song. They seem to be eating very small insects that they continually peck off blades of grass.

  20. Tim P says:

    Hi there,

    I have a photo of two in a nest that they made on a ladder on the side of my house here in the western suburbs of Sydney

  21. BJ says:

    We have a baby bird which the dog found the morning after a recent storm. We believe it is a peaceful dove. Not yet fully feathered. Are you aware of any websites where we could get an idea on its age?

  22. Clive says:

    I think that you have solved the mystery.
    I have made two month-long visits to Townsville over the past two years and what I christened the “Invisible Doodle-Doo Bird” has driven me clean around the bend! I could always hear them but could never see them! I once spent ten minutes pacing around the base of a tree where the sound was coming from but didn’t get so much as a glimps.
    Many thanks. 😉

    • Trevor says:

      Hi Clive, Thanks for your comments. The Peaceful dove can be an incredibly frustrating bird at times. We often hear it calling in our garden but rarely get to see it. On the rare occasions when we do get a clear view of one we marvel at the beautiful colours and markings.

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