A Quick Guide to Ringneck Doves
All it takes is a quick glance to figure out where the ringneck doves got their name. The black ring around their neck is a dead giveaway, and makes them really easy to identify. They are known by a couple of other names, though: collared dove, Barbary dove and domestic ringed dove.
Ringneck doves are domesticated birds, thought to be a descendant of the African Ring Dove, and they live only in captivity. In fact, they are the most common of all doves that are held in captivity in the United States.
Other than the distinctive black ring draping their neck, the appearance and features of ringneck doves resemble other species of dove. They are small to medium sized birds, measuring around 12 inches from head to tail. Their feathers are mostly gray in color but with light brown mixed in, especially on their backs and wings. The feathers along the top of their head and on their breast are a soft shade of rose. And around their neck, of course is the dark black ring.
As the most commonly raised domestic dove, ringnecks spend most of their lives in cages. In general, they do fine and breed well in cages approximately 2 feet square. They can live peacefully together, but there are times when 2 males sharing a cage will fight. Many dove keepers choose to house their birds in breeding pairs and separate any particularly difficult males.
Ringnecks are happy with a diet that includes a variety of grains and seeds like black sunflower, canary grass, cracked corn, millet, milo, safflower and wheat. A store bought bird seed mix for wild birds will work just fine, as will commercial bird seed mixes that are made specifically for doves. Specialty dove feeds can usually be found at a local feed store. Expert dove keepers recommend adding a good quality grit with a high calcium content. This is also found at most feed stores.
The ringneck dove is a fairly hardy bird species, and they can even survive short spans of freezing weather. This is not recommended, however, unless they have been slowly acclimated to deal with cold temperatures and kept safe from the elements most of the time.
There are no species of the ringneck dove found in the wild, but they are quite common and popular with dove keepers all over the world. Even though they are the most widely raised species of dove, there are no exact population numbers available. Some keepers agree that if they had to estimate the numbers of this type of dove it would be high in the hundreds of thousands.