What Do Zebra Doves Eat?

Zebra Doves primarily consume plant matter such as small seeds, fruits, and grains, which serve as their primary food source. Occasionally, they may also eat insects and small invertebrates for added nutrition.

Zebra Doves are ground feeders, preferring to forage on the ground for a variety of food sources. They are adored by many because of their melodious cooing sounds, as well as their gentle and peaceful nature, often making them a popular choice for pets or casual bird feeding.

Zebra Dove Diet Essentials

The Zebra Doves diet mainly consists of various types of seeds and insects. Here is an overview of their dietary preferences:

  • Grass seeds: Zebra Doves enjoy consuming grass seeds, which offer essential nutrients and contribute to their overall health.
  • Weed seeds: They also feed on weed seeds, giving them a diverse range of dietary options.
  • Insects: Zebra Doves occasionally feed on insect larvae for added nutrition.
  • Fruits: These birds have been known to occasionally include fruits, such as the ficus fruit, in their diet.

Feeding Behavior and Preferences

Zebra Doves display distinct feeding behavior and preferences when compared to other dove species. Some of their foraging characteristics include:

  • Forage on bare ground: Unlike some dove species, Zebra Doves prefer to forage on bare ground, searching for seeds and insects to consume.
  • Short grass: They also favor areas with short grass, making it easier for them to access food and maintain their ground feeding habits.
  • Roads: Zebra Doves can occasionally be seen feeding along roadsides, taking advantage of the open space for easier foraging.
  • Alone or in pairs: While some dove species tend to forage in larger flocks, Zebra Doves typically forage alone or in pairs, giving them a more individualized approach to finding food and staying safe.

Caring for Zebra Doves

Caring for Zebra Doves as pets requires understanding their unique needs and behaviors. Here are some key points to consider when getting a Zebra Dove:

  • Baby Zebra Doves: To properly feed young doves, offer a nutritionally complete diet specifically formulated for their growth, such as high-quality, protein-rich formulas, until they can consume solid food.
  • Feeding tips: For adult Zebra Doves, provide a mix of grass seeds, weed seeds, and occasional insects to ensure these birds receive a balanced diet. Also, make sure to offer fresh water daily.
  • Housing: Provide a spacious cage with perches of different sizes, a secure nesting area, and a feeding dish or tray on the floor to mimic their natural environment.
  • Suitable habitat: When creating a habitat for your Zebra Dove, make sure it mimics their natural environment. Include areas with short grass or bare ground to simulate their natural foraging areas and encourage their instinctual behaviors.


Zebra Doves diet consists of a diverse range of seeds, insects, and small invertebrates, providing them with necessary nutrients. As ground foragers, they enjoy searching for food on bare ground and short grass, so it’s important to consider this when keeping them as pets. By creating an environment that replicates their natural habitat and providing a well-balanced diet, you can give Zebra Doves the love and care they deserve.