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Cape doves

 
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robert m
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Joined: 10 Mar 2005
Posts: 60
Location: New Orleans La.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:18 pm    Post subject: Cape doves Reply with quote

Ok, so I had to buy several pair of the wild caught cape doves that Penguin International recently imported from Senegal, West Africa. Of course, living in New Orleans, I was immediately told that it is too humid to raise these birds here, even though I had a single male in a gazebo aviary for several years before he eventually passed at what I believe to be 14 years old. Here is my question, or concern. I have read Delacours and Nathers account on these birds, which I will assume was done in the late 50s or early 60s. They both describe these birds as very hardy, even in cold climates, extremely adaptable diverse living conditions as well as being very prolific. I am beginning to wonder if the the actual problem associated with raising this species may be in the fact that the present, captive stock has become very in-bred, which in turn, weakened the species. With all that is being done with, for instance, stone partridge or other recently imported, wild caught species, can the overall condition and hardiness of these projects be more carefully monitored and documented for the sake of justification of future collecting trips that would improve the very fragile, current breeding stock in captivity now.
I look forward to comments on this subject.
Robert
New Orleans
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Mads
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Joined: 09 Jan 2007
Posts: 75
Location: Innisfail, Alberta, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2007 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been wondering the same thing, as I have three pairs of Cape Doves here, and I would not exactly refer to them as very hardy at all. This totally contradicts everything I have ever read about them. They are prolific in the sense that they lay lots of eggs, but they are not the greatest at setting on them.

Let us know how you make out with the wild caught pairs you have, hopefully they will add some genetic diversity to the captive stock currently being kept.

Mads
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Carl
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Joined: 11 Sep 2005
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Location: U K Midlands

PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2007 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cape doves are not hardy and I have never seen any sensible commentator suggest so. At temperatures below 5C they are very unhappy, below freezing they are mostly dead. Sure they are long-lived, but that does not mean hardy.
They are sun-worshippers - they breed only if they bake. In the UK, apart from 2007, when seemingly lots of pairs at least tried, they are almost never bred.
They are rubbish nest-builders, even for a pigeon, and if an egg or nestling gets displaced only half an inch or so, the parents usually fail to find it again. Tiny nest trays/pans of varying depth (which allows the sitting bird to be seen, or not, while sitting) are probably the answer to setting problems - some birds hate to be seen to be seen on the nest - a deep pan (1-2 inches deep) means they can crouch out of sight. Nest pans/trays MUST be flat-bottomed - any chicks need to be able to shuffle forward on a relatively broad, flat platform to be fed - birds using things like cannary nest-pans, which they will do, rarely rear chicks.
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Mads
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Joined: 09 Jan 2007
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Location: Innisfail, Alberta, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2007 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Carl, I have noticed that my pairs just loved it when I had them in the cricket production barn, it's kept at 31 degrees celcius. I had to move them though, due to space requirements. I have found that fostering the eggs out under Diamond Doves seems to work the best. The Capes are not the greatest of parents and don't seem to feed the babies well at all. The Diamonds on the other hand seem happy to just feed whatever is in the nest!

Mads
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robert m
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Joined: 10 Mar 2005
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Location: New Orleans La.

PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 8:17 pm    Post subject: Cape Doves Reply with quote

OK now I am confused. I was under the impression that Jean Delacour, Carl Naether and Michael Gos were informed, experienced and reliable aviculturists. For example, in Delacours wild pigeons and doves, new edition published in 1980, the author states, "The cape or masked dove (Onea capensis) is a graceful little species common in savannas, gardens farms and cattle yards throughout Africa, Madagascar and Arabia. It runs quickly on the ground in search of seeds, flies fast, but often hovers like a butterfly, and is quite tame in disposition.The cape dove has a long, pointed tail. The male is brownish grey above, more ashy on the crown, neck and wing coverts etc. THis little dove is often bred and kept in captivity. The young are easy to rear, if they do not jump out of the nest at too early an age. Cape doves are gentle and harmless to other birds, fairly hardy even in cold countries.
Delacous words, not mine.

Here is what Carl Naethers writes about these birds,

Cape Dove (0nea capensis). Also called masked dove and harlequin dove, this slender, graceful, long tailed bird comes to us from Africa. It measures about nine inches. The cock, largely silvery grey, wears a jet black mask over face and throat. Upper and lower breast are etc. Cape doves breed best in hot climates, in winter they need extra warmth. In captivity they sit still for hours, usually perching high. Their butterfly-like flight is fascinating. Cape doves may be kept with finches and other smaller seedeaters. Easily raised in captivity, they are found in most forien dove collections.

Michael Gos writes:

Cape doves are about the size of a diamond dove and make a good starter bird for those new to wild types. For a dove, the bird is quick in all movementsand posseses a unique ability to hover over a given point. It is easy to tame and is generally a calm, quiet bird. They breed freely. The young are easy to rear, with the only problems occuring if the babies leave the nest too soon. In spite of their North African origan, they are very cold hardy and can be kept year round in unheated aviaries.

Be it not me to contradict anyone on this topic, I simply refer to my original question about why, in the 1940s through the 1970s, were these birds considered easy to rear and moderately adaptable, and now in the 1990s to present you now need to live in the hottest desert to have any success with these birds. I still lean toward mismanagement of the earlier captive stock and a lack of new importations. Also, I raise many birds from this part of Africa, and little mention is made of keeping them in such an extreme enviroment for success. Lastly, southern Louisiana, where I live, borders on tropical, and although humid, proper husbantry has allowed me to be successful with eared pheasants, touracos, tragopans and many others in between.

Last of all, even though New Orleans temps are in the low 40s at night, one pair of capes are now nesting, as well as my Persa turacos, trianglar spotted and African olive pigeons. The wongas, speckled mousebirds and the wood pigeons are also getting in to full swing.
Gee I, after 25 years of raising birds, am still confused!!

Look forward to your responses.
Thanks for the interest
Robert








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Mads
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Location: Innisfail, Alberta, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Robert,

Inbreeding has certainly not helped the species along any at all. I'm sure that healthy outcrossed birds would be much less delicate then ones that have been inbred and babied along for the last number of generations. I have heard from others that Capes, like Diamonds, do love direct sun, it really can't get too hot for them. My diamonds love it outside in the summer when it's nice and warm, but I didn't take them in this fall until late October, the temps here were down to -20 degrees celcius at night, and the Diamonds did quite well. I haven't tried keeping the Capes outdoors yet, as I haven't had them very long, but they will be put outside this coming summer with the other birds. Although they will be brought in long before it reaches the colder temperatures that I kept the Diamonds out in.

Bottom line is, keep an eye on your doves, if they seem happy and content, don't worry about them. Since yours are nesting, they must be happy enough. Once the birds are used to a certain climate they will adapt quite happily. The biggest problem with many species, be it dove, parakeet, quail or whatever, is humidity. If a species is used to a dry climate and you put them in a humid climate, or vice versa, they will not do well in my experience. Temperature fluctuations are much easier for a bird to cope with, unless they are extreme of course.

Mads
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Carl
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Joined: 11 Sep 2005
Posts: 1221
Location: U K Midlands

PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naether says they need warmth in winter and Delacour mentions no temperature and only that they are "fairly hardy". I can 110% assure you that below 5C they are VERY unhappy.
As for captive-breeding, I very strongly suspect that whether the parents are captive-bred or not makes a world of difference. Wild-caught birds, imported into Europe by the many 1000's over the years, almost never breed unless they were housed in very warm aviaries - ideally in something like a well-ventilated glass-house here in much of Europe north of central France.
Problems with rearing are near certainly actually problems with provision of inappropriate nesting material and/or nest-sites. Keep changing and varying these and you should eventually hit on what suits best. Apart from ptilinopus spp., which are notorious builders of little or no nest, I have never known any species not make a good job of parenting once something suitable is provided.
Nesting material in particular needs to be varied - many books just say bits of straw and a few twigs - utter rubbish.
Whatever is provided needs to hold together and many species are fussy about the diameter - some species here will use mountains of coconut fibre (very coarse and rough and binds to itself very well when used for a nest) - many won't touch it. Vary the type and size of twigs and don't supply what look like small knitting needles/pins - they will not hold together without glue - the dry seed heads from many weeds - especially docks (rumex spp.) are excellent too.
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