Speckled Pigeon

  • SCIENTIFIC NAME: Columba guinea

  • SWAHILI NAME: Kunda madoa

As soon as speckled pigeon chicks hatch, “bird milk” begins to roil in both parents. The substance is produced when the crop, a thin-walled sac in the throat, sloughs off cells containing a liquid. Parents regurgitate it, giving their chicks a food richer in calories and fat than human or cow milk.

Speckled Pigeon

Speckled Pigeon



Daily Rhythm




Conservation Status

Lower risk


11 to 14 oz (312 to 397 g)


13 to 16 in (33.0 to 40.6 cm) long

Speckled Pigeon

Listen to the sounds of the Speckled Pigeon

Trivia Question

What do speckled pigeons feed their chicks?


Both parents form a substance called “bird milk” in an organ in their throat. They regurgitate this substance, which is richer in calories or fat than human or cow milk, for their chicks.

Social Structure

Speckled pigeons gather to feed in flocks that may number in the hundreds. They breed in every month and sometimes nest in colonies.


The speckled pigeon utters a loud, cooing doo doo doo or whu whu whu whu-WHU, sometimes sounding like whooo are youuu.


They are usually seen in pairs, walking or running, but they may form into large, noisy flocks, especially when feeding.


Speckled pigeons feed mainly on grains and groundnuts but will sometimes add winged termites and other insects. These birds eat throughout the day.


A pair of speckled pigeons builds a nest on the side of a cliff, in a tall tree, or on a building. The female usually lays two eggs, which hatch in about two weeks.

Population in Kenya

Speckled pigeons inhabit western Kenya, preferring open country with cliffs. Populations also flourish in some towns and cities.

Range & Habitat

Speckled pigeons are found throughout sub-Saharan Africa in grasslands, farmlands, and cities.

Did you know?

Speckled pigeons—like all pigeons—keep their heads down while drinking and use their beaks like a straw to suck in water. Most other birds take in a mouthful and then toss their heads back to swallow.