The Black-billed Wood Dove, Turtur abyssinicus, is one of several hundred types of pigeons. This particular breed is native to Africa and is generally not found in other parts of the world. It is widespread throughout the continent with a very stable population. Often referred to as the Abyssinian Wood Dove or the Black-billed Dove, this bird is makes its home in arid regions throughout Africa.

This type of bird is commonly seen in the following countries:

Benin
Burkina Faso
Cameroon
Chad
Ethiopia
Guinea
Ivory Coast
Kenya
Liberia
Mali
Mauritania
Niger
Nigeria
Senegambia
Sudan
Togo
Uganda

The Black-billed Wood Dove makes its nest on tree branches, so it typically inhabits savannas or marshes that offer close access to acacias or other trees in which it can make a nest. This breed may also live in areas that are more residential in nature.

The Black-billed Wood Dove is similar in appearance to many other pigeons, which are known for their large, gray and stocky bodies. This particular breed is 20-22 cm in length and weighs an average of 275-350 g. Male and female Black-billed Wood Doves are extremely similar in appearance.

It is grayish brown in colour, particularly on its chest. Its back, tail and wings are a darker shade of gray. Black spots are visible on the lower part of its wings, as are black stripes across the top and bottom of its tail. The top of the head and the area surrounding the eyes is a much lighter shade of gray. It also has dark, beady eyes that are perfectly round. As its name suggests, the long, thin bill of this bird is black, which is how it is distinguished from the otherwise similar Blue-spotted Wood Dove.

This type of pigeon has a diet that consists of small seeds, grass and other vegetation that are typically prevalent in the savanna areas it occupies. It forages on the ground for food, typically alone or in pairs. The Black-billed Wood Dove is not typically found in flocks, though large groups may be found at a local water source.

It is generally non-migratory, though some migratory patterns may exist. When it takes flight, its thick wings are powerful and noisy. This is a very vocal bird, often emitting a lengthy and repetitive “coo.”

Breeding season for this particular bird depends upon the location, though it generally ranges from October to February. When the female Black-billed Wood Dove mates with the male, it lays two brownish, cream-coloured eggs. The eggs are incubated for a two week period before hatching. The baby birds are entirely dependent on their parents until approximately three weeks later when they are old enough to fledge. Young Black-billed Wood Doves have less vibrant colouring than their parents until they are fully grown.