Lifespan of Dove - Complete Guide

Hammad Tariq

· 12 min read
Lifespan of Dove

The lifespan of doves varies depending on the species and environmental factors. Doves that live in the wild, like mourning doves and Eurasian collared doves, usually only live for one to five years. However, some may live longer, with recorded instances of up to 12 years.

Doves can live a lot longer when they are kept as pets and are safe from threats. They can also get regular food and medical care. Domesticated dove species, such as ring-necked and diamond doves, may live anywhere from 10 to 20 years or even longer with proper care. The length of time these gentle birds live depends on their diet, genetics, living conditions, and access to health care.

How Long Do Doves Live?

There are many kinds of doves, such as Mourning Doves and Rock Doves. In the wild, they usually live between 1 and 15 years, but some live longer in captivity. Factors such as predation, disease, availability of food, and habitat quality can influence their lifespan.

Doves tend to live longer when they have enough food and a safe place to live and are not being chased by other animals. But in the wild, they are in danger from many things, such as birds of prey that eat them, people who hunt them, and ecosystem loss from growing cities and farms.

Providing a safe environment with adequate food sources and shelter can help increase their chances of survival. They can also live longer if they get the proper care from a vet, are safe from predators, and stay away from things that could hurt them, like glass and predators.

The Average Dove Lifespan

The average lifespan of doves, encompassing species like Mourning Doves and Rock Doves, typically ranges from 1 to 15 years in their natural habitat. But this lifespan is affected by many things, such as predators, food supply, habitat quality, and environmental conditions.

Doves may live longer in places with plenty of food, safety from predators, and an excellent place to live. On the other hand, dangers like hunting, habitat loss, predation by birds of prey, and pollution can shorten their lives.

Providing a safe and conducive environment and proper veterinary care can enhance their chances of survival. While some doves may reach ages beyond 15 years in the wild, others may succumb to these challenges at younger ages.

Doves can also live much longer in captivity, safe from many natural threats. They can often live longer than 20 years with the proper care and attention.

General Characteristics of Doves

Size: Doves are generally small to medium-sized birds, with most species measuring between 9 to 13 inches in length.

Coloration: They often exhibit muted colours, including shades of grey, brown, and white, with some species featuring distinct patterns or markings on their wings and bodies.

Body Shape: Doves typically have a plump, rounded body shape with short legs and a small, rounded head.

Beak: Their beaks are short, straight, and conical in shape, adapted for cracking open seeds and grains.

Wings: Doves have broad wings relative to their body size, allowing for agile flight and graceful gliding.

Tail: They possess a distinctive long, tapered tail, which aids in manoeuvring during flight.

Voice: Doves are known for their soft cooing calls, which are often used for communication and courtship displays.

Behaviour: Doves are generally peaceful birds, often found in pairs or small groups. They prefer habitats with access to open spaces and areas with abundant food sources.

Diet: Their diet primarily consists of seeds, grains, and occasionally fruits and insects.

Nesting: Doves build simple nests using twigs, grasses, and other vegetation, often placed in trees, shrubs, or on man-made structures.

Factors Influencing the Lifespan of Doves

Several things can affect how long doves live. One critical factor is their habitat and living conditions. Doves living in cities may be more at risk from predators, pollution, and people than doves living in the country or protected places.

Access to food and water sources also plays a vital role in their survival, as do weather conditions and climate variability. Their life can also be affected by genetics and general health. Doves that are well-fed, don't get sick, and don't have to deal with much stress tend to live longer.

The number of predators and good nesting places can also shorten their lives. Furthermore, human interventions such as providing supplemental food and shelter or protecting their habitats can extend the doves' lifespan.

Genetic, environmental, and human-related factors determine a dove's life span. Understanding and dealing with these issues can help protect and improve the health of dove communities.

Mating Habits of Doves

Doves are known for their monogamous mating habits, typically forming lifelong pair bonds. Males do many things to draw females during courtship, such as cooing, puffing up their feathers, and flying in complicated patterns.

Once a pair bond is formed, both partners build a nest using twigs, grass, and other materials, usually in a tree or on a ledge. The female lays one or two eggs, which both parents take turns incubating for about two weeks. The parents continue to feed and care for the chicks together after hatching until they fledge, usually after two to three weeks.

Doves often raise multiple broods in a single breeding season, especially in areas with abundant food resources. Even though their mating behaviours may seem easy, doves form strong pair bonds and work together, which helps them have babies.

Common Health Issues Affecting Dove Lifespan

Several health issues can impact the lifespan of doves. One common concern is respiratory infections, often caused by exposure to drafts or poor ventilation. These infections can lead to symptoms like wheezing, coughing, and nasal discharge, compromising the bird's health.

Another issue is parasites, such as mites and lice, which can infest a dove's feathers and skin, causing irritation and discomfort. Doves can also get nutritional deficits if they need more vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients in their food. This can weaken their immune systems and cause other health problems.

Traumatic injuries, like hitting a window or an animal that wants to eat it, can also shorten a dove's life if they are not handled. Doves can avoid many health problems by getting regular checkups with their vet and eating a balanced diet. This will help them live longer and better lives.

Giving these gentle birds a clean and safe place to live and teaching them good grooming and cleanliness habits are essential for keeping them healthy. Understanding and caring for everyday health problems can help doves live better in captivity or the wild.

What Are The Best Ways To Protect Doves?

Protecting doves involves several measures to ensure their safety and well-being. One of the best ways is to give them a safe and acceptable place to live, like an aviary or a well-designed outdoor enclosure.

This environment should offer protection from predators like cats, birds of prey, and other animals that may threaten doves. Also, staying out of high heat or cold as much as possible can help keep you from getting stressed out and having health problems.

Regularly monitoring the dove's surroundings is crucial to identify and address potential hazards promptly. This means checking the enclosure for any signs of damage or weakness and removing any items or substances that could hurt the birds. Plenty of food and clean water are essential for their nutrition and hydration, improving their health and making them less likely to get sick.

Putting up predator deterrents like fences, nets, or motion-activated devices can also help keep unwanted guests out of the doves' living area. Lastly, establishing a relationship with a qualified avian veterinarian can ensure access to proper medical care and advice to address any health concerns promptly.

Lifespan of Different Dove Species

Different species of doves can live for different amounts of time based on their environment, what they eat, and how well they are cared for overall. Generally, in the wild, most dove species have a lifespan ranging from 1 to 5 years.

However, some species, like the Mourning Dove, can live up to 10 to 15 years in ideal conditions. Doves tend to live longer when they are kept as pets because they don't have to worry about being eaten or hurt and can always find food and a safe place to stay.

For example, Ring-necked doves, one of the most commonly kept dove species, typically live between 12 to 15 years in captivity. Similarly, Diamond doves have an average lifespan of 7 to 12 years when well cared for in a home environment.

Factors such as genetics, diet, living conditions, and medical care significantly impact the longevity of dove species. Giving pet doves a healthy diet, good housing, regular check-ups with the vet, and a stress-free atmosphere can all help them live longer.

Tips for Promoting Dove Life Expectancy

Proper Nutrition: Provide a balanced diet of seeds, grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Ensure access to clean, fresh water daily.

Safe Environment: Create a safe and secure living space for your doves, free from potential hazards such as predators, toxic plants, and extreme temperatures.

Regular Veterinary Care: Schedule routine check-ups with an avian veterinarian to monitor your doves' health and address potential issues early on.

Cleanliness: Maintain a clean living environment by regularly cleaning their cage or aviary to prevent the buildup of waste and bacteria.

Social Interaction: Doves are social birds and thrive in the company of others. Provide opportunities for social interaction and companionship with other doves.

Enrichment Activities: Stimulate your doves' minds with toys, perches, and opportunities for exercise to prevent boredom and encourage mental and physical stimulation.

Monitor Behaviour: Monitor your doves' behaviour and look for signs of illness or distress. Promptly address any changes in behaviour or health concerns.


Understanding the factors that influence the lifespan of doves and implementing appropriate care strategies is essential for ensuring their well-being.

By providing a nutritious diet, a safe environment, regular veterinary care, social interaction, enrichment activities, and monitoring their behaviour, you can significantly contribute to extending the lifespan of your doves.

Additionally, staying informed about common health issues and taking proactive measures to address them can further support their longevity. By following these guidelines and prioritising the health and happiness of your doves, you can enjoy many years of companionship with these gentle and beautiful birds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do Doves Have a Short Lifespan?

Doves may have a short lifespan due to various factors such as predation, disease, environmental hazards, and stressors. Additionally, inadequate nutrition, lack of proper care, and genetic predispositions can contribute to their shorter lifespan.

For How Long Does a White Dove Live?

Like other dove species, white doves typically live for about 10 to 15 years in the wild. However, they can live up to 20 years or more in captivity with proper care and protection from predators and environmental hazards.

How Long Do Doves Live in Captivity?

Doves can live for about 10 to 15 years in captivity, although they may live up to 20 years or more with proper care and a suitable environment. Providing a stress-free and comfortable environment is crucial for their longevity.

About Hammad Tariq

Hammad Tariq, the passionate founder and author of HappiestBeaks, is a dedicated bird enthusiast, caretaker, and lover. With a deep-seated affection for avian companions, he channels his expertise into crafting insightful and informative blogs on bird care and behavior.