The Many Varieties of Ringneck Doves

Domestic doves (Ringneck, Barbary, Laughing, etc.) all belong to the same species. The wild ancestral type lives in the Red Sea area of Arabia, and is also called Streptopelia Roseogrisea, the rosy-grey turtle dove. Other species of turtle doves live in other parts of Africa, Europe, Asia and the East Indies, and differ in size, voice, wildness, etc., but are capable of crossing with domestics in captivity.

Domestication probably dates back to Biblical times. Through the centuries since then, only two types were kept and preferred by the majority of breeders: the Fawn and White. However, in the last 25 years, nearly giant steps have been made in the disclosure of mutant genes and with this, a great degree of interest has been generated, and popularity of the Ringneck Dove has magnified tremendously. In an effort to clarify the various mutants, the American Dove Association has adopted the following terms to be used to simplify the matter of different names in order that ADA members and other dove breeders refer to a common standard.

As most experienced dove breeders are aware, domestic doves are less hardy than pigeons, and perhaps for this reason so few mutants are known. Quite possibly, this might well be why only Fawn and White were available until the past 25 years.

Naturally, the most popular mutant is Fawn (Blonde or Buff). The name is self-explanatory, although, depending on a given individual’s background, the color is subject to variation. Genetically, it is the same as the dilute mutation of domestic pigeons; it is sex-linked and recessive to wild type. The squabs hatch with long down.

The next most popular mutant is White (also known as ‘Sacred’ or ‘Java’). Although appearing pure white at first glance, some slight color can be noted on the underside of the tail and occasionally spread over the body slightly. The beak is flesh, eyes reddish. Some Whites may have a coffee-colored ring, but normally a noticeable feather change can be noted in the texture where the ring normally appears. Having short down upon hatching, it is a sex-linked extreme dilute (recessive) and genetically alternate to Fawn.

In about 1955, a new unknown mutant cropped up in the Southern California-Arizona area. Popularly known as Pied (also referred to as Mottle or Splashed), individuals possess both colored and white feathers with a wide degree of variation. For obvious reasons, the ADA would prefer the name Fawn Pied. This recessive mutant has bull eyes and a stained beak. Upon hatching, the squabs are long-downed.

At about the same time, a breeder in the Cleveland, Ohio area produced Peach (also known as Cream, Salmon or Pink). A light peach color, this recessive mutant is also subject to variation. The squabs are short-downed upon hatching.

Dr. Wilmer Miller of Iowa State University bred Wild x Peach, and again crossed back. The result: Rosy – one of the most beautiful mutant colors. A dark yellow, nearly orange with amethyst neck and head. The lighter background further accentuates the head and neck. This recessive gene is short-downed upon hatching.

Further comments in regards to Peach and Rosy: The combination called Peach was originally discovered in Fawn stock, thus give giving the two mutants together. Actually, Peach must be considered the dilute form of the new Rosy mutant. To obtain the non-dilute form, Wilmer Miller crossed Peach to Wild Type, and later extracted the mutant which is called Rosy. Rosy by itself is seen to be more beautiful because the amethyst color of the head and neck is retained.

(American Pigeon Journal)

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