This difficult-to-find (in South Africa) species is very similar to the emerald spotted wood-dove except for its blue wing spots and yellow-tipped red bill.
I had tried to locate this shy bird on 3 separate occasions at Muirhead Dams in the Soutpansberg, but had no luck on all 3 occasions. Thus, in December 2012, when Samson Maludzi mentioned that he had found a more reliable spot for the wood dove; the Thoyondou Botanical Gardens, I was excited to give this new location a try.
After successfully seeing an african broadbill at Roodewal Forest early in the morning, we set off on the 45 minute drive to Thoyondou arriving at the gardens just after 9am. Expectations were high, but after 45 minutes of searching all of Samson’s best spots, we were starting to lose hope until a sudden movement high in the canopy revealed my first ever blue-spotted wood dove. Not one, but two doves, which gave good views as they called above us.