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The male African Olive Pigeon is a large pigeon with maroon back and wings and heavily speckled shoulders with white spots.
The underparts are maroon with heavy white spotting, and the head is grey with yellow patches around the eye and a yellow bill. The neck plumage, used in display, is streaked maroon and white, the underwing and undertail are dark grey, and the feet are yellow.
Females are very similar but somewhat duller.
Juvenile birds have the maroon and grey replaced with dark brown, the bare parts are a dull greenish-yellow, and the wing feathers have pale fringes.
In flight, this pigeon looks very dark. Its flight is quick, with the regular beats and an occasional sharp flick of the wings which are characteristic of pigeons in general.
The call is a deep, fast and quivering du-du-du-du and krooo notes.
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