Spotted Dove nesting

on 3rd November 2009

Joseph Chai a.k.a. rooster posted his experience with a pair of Spotted Doves (Streptopelia chinensis) nesting outside his highrise apartment in September 2009. Through the courtesy of Wilson Wong, we got in contact with Joseph who gave us permission to post his images.

Because of the abundant greenery around the apartment building, there was an abundance of bird life. And the pair of Spotted Doves was comfortable enough to build their nest on one of the steel shelves placed outside (above left).

The nest is a simple collection of twigs and dried pliable stems of climbers and grasses, with a slight depression to hold the two white eggs so that they do not roll off the edge (above right). The eggs hatched and the two chicks grew rapidly, brooded by the protective parents (left). As with doves and pigeons, it can be assumed that the male brooded during the day and the female at night.

By October the chicks were about to fledge (below left). Unfortunately Joseph had to be overseas and by the time he returned later in the month they had fledge (below right). However, he saw the pair of adults recently adjusting the nest.

Will they return to lay more eggs? We have to wait and see.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

18 Responses

  1. They will probably lay more eggs again. I had the Spotted Dove nest at my balcony around May 2009 till Nvember 2009, during which they laid eggs 5 times almost every 2 months.(incubation time is about 14 days and and then after the eggs(normally 2) hatched, the parents birds looked after the young bird for about a month till they are fully grown up and flied off. In the morning the mother and father change the duty.(quite precise timing around 9:30am +/- 5 mins at my place and they made alot of Coo coo sound before changing the duty.) I am not sure which is mother or father but the one who took morning duty normally take duty about only 4-5 hours after that the one who took the night duty came back again. After the young bird flied off, the parents dove repaired their nest(bring more some twings) about 3 days then laid egg again, most of the time what I noticed was the mother didn’t lay 2 eggs at the same time, it was always about 1 day apart.

    I am not bird expert and no zoology back ground but I am nature lover and did volunteer work at the singapore zoo often. I just become aciidental bird watcher because of this 2 lovely spotted dove. I put my webcam near the nest and recorded many hours of video clips. I am creating my blog and I will post all these clips when my blog is ready.

    I hope they will come back again this May 2010. I think Dec to April may be not the season to lay egg for the Spotted Dove. I didn’t hear any Coo-coo sound around my area for about 2 months now. I heard alot of Coo-coo sounds around my area during the time between may and november. So there must be others nest too around my place. I stay near the nature park in Singapore.

  2. Hi Anian Buddy
    Thanks for the informative note. Your observations are very valuable and should be shared, possibly also the videos, where much more detailed information can be obtained. If you do not have the time, maybe someone can help view the videos and obtain the relevant details? Hope you let us have the link once your blog is set up.

  3. Hello

    I had a pair of spotted dove nesting on my balcony overhang. They built their nest while I was out of town and when I came back I saw 2 eggs. Just like Avian Buddy said, I am not a bird expert but having them in my balcony turned me into a bird watcher and more so a bird lover. I have been in love with the spotted dove pair and their babies… I saw them grow up and fledge. I too have recorded many videos on my phone. After the babies fledged, they did not return for quite sometime and the nest they had was all soiled by their droppings. I learned somewhere that if they use the same dirty nest again, there are high chances of the babies getting infected by bacteria. So I cleared the nest away. Now the pair has come back after almost 2 months. They are trying to build a nest again. But I am not sure what is happening this time. They seem to be working on the nest for only about 2-3 hours during the day and are gone for the rest of the time. Is that how they build nests? How long does it take to build the nests? Or is it because I cleared the last one away, they are considering another place? The nest is not even partially done yet and they have been working on it for last 2 days (abt 2 hrs each day). I tried to help them by putting some twigs and sticks near their nest while they were away. Should I continue doing that?

  4. Hello everyone. I have enjoyed reading the information on the Spotted Dove, as I too, have a pair nesting in my native shrub opposite my kitchen window where I get an excellent view of them. I thought that they had gone during time I was away, but to my delight, they are back, using the same nest. Now that I know it is a 14 day incubation, I will watch them closely. I do love having them, and thank you for your information.

  5. I have a pair nesting on a bearer of my verandah outside my back door at the moment. The egg, or eggs but I think there is only one, seems to have hatched yesterday. The male and female change over at about 4 in the afternoon. They do a little series of bows to each other and then change over.

    The birds were billing and cooing for weeks in my garden beforehand and then the male built the nest and brought her to have a look. Since it’s under a corrugated iron roof I thought she’d decline, but she sat there even on very hot days.

  6. We are fortunate to have a pair of spotted doves built a nest at our corridor plants shelving, and laid 2 eggs. We were so excited. But on one day, when we came back from work, we checked that there’s only 1 egg left, and spotted an egg dropped and smashed on the floor. This day, the doves were gone for one whole night, then one returned in the morning, continue to incubate the one only egg. However, the next day, they were gone again , this time, for the whole day and whole night, leaving the only egg unattended. Is this normal?

  7. We have no answer on whether this is normal or not. However, we can make your experience known and see whether others have encountered the same. Could you provide photos and a detailed report so that we can post it on this blog? Images and report can be sent to [email protected]

  8. Thank you for your post, it is a delight to see these birds nest so close for us to see. I am glad that this post is still active. I too have a pair of spotted dove nest at our front door in our fern, I get a clear view from them. It is not up high but quite hidden. They have 2 eggs and have been incubating them for 8 days. This morning when I woke up to watch them, they were gone and the nest was ruffled one of the egg is out of the nest resting on the fern and feathers around on the floor, it got attacked. Is there any hope they will return or if the eggs can be incubated artificially? I am so sad. It is quite cold here 2-3 weeks till spring, nights are 9 degrees. Any advice? How can I make the nest safe?

  9. We have also had the pleasure of ” bird watching Spotted doves” where a scantily made nest was on the side of a Barbecue shelf. The Barbecue stands back to wall and sides from our window to the balcony railing with plants in front. The nest was very protected and but wedged between our window on the side ,the wall the b’cue was backed on to, the side of the 50cm high Lid of the B’cue and Pot plants in front.We are on 3rd floor of an apt. building. Given the fact that there are a lot of birds passing and crows on top of a 3 storey house next door, we thought the spot to be safe and ingeneous. 2 eggs were laid a day apart and all the info of behaviour which have been described on the posts, have been the same here. However the day when one of the chicks managed to fly straight up to the top of the barbecue (quite a feat given the small space) the watch changed. The chick flew off and has not been back but the parents are on roof opposite at different times of day but have not returned to the nest. The remaining chick was always the smaller one and was last to get fed. Now since the first chick left the second one has been abandoned for 48 hours. It has made an attempt to flap wings but cannot fly straight up. By now it must be getting weaker so although we did not want to get close to the nest we feel we must interfere. We will shift pot plants in front so it can fly to the floor and have some Water, porridge and perhaps bread crumbs to see if she will get stronger. Any suggestions? I have photos on phone but don’t know how to post them.

  10. No idea what happened. Newly hatched pigeons/doves are fed with a special mixture regurgitated by the adult. The chick has to probe its bill into the mouth of the adult to receive the feed. If the adult abandoned the chick, not sure what we can do. Will check with the experts… If you could find a way to email me the photo it would make a good post.

  11. If you say that the first chick fledged and flew off, and the second cannot make it over the obstacles, then I assume that they were both ready to leave the nest. Fledglings at this stage are very bad bets for hand raising. They are old enough to have learned to fear humans and yet too young to properly take care of themselves.
    I don’t believe that hand feeding will be easy at this stage because the chick will probably fight you like mad. You will have to force feed with a syringe, and the bird will end up exhausted and traumatised.
    Perhaps the best option is to grab hold of the chick and release it when the parents are around, and hope for the best. The other alternative is to offer water and birdseed. Stuff for feeding doves (including the Spotted Dove) is available at any bird shop for about $3 per packet.

  12. We have had a pair of spotted doves nesting in our orange tree for the past four years.

    They have nested in the same spot for all of this time until a couple of weeks ago.

    They built a new nest higher in the tree. I love watching them each day. We are happy to have watched them raise about 10 babies

    Our only problem is, each time the tree fruits, it’s impossible to cut it back or actually pick the oranges without disturbing them, or risking the eggs falling. out.

    They are not in the least afraid of our family.During the nest building process, taking to sitting on the clothes line watching us hang out the wash.
    Beautiful gentle birds

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