Feeding Spotted Dove: 6. Affection

on 27th July 2010

The Spotted Doves (Streptopelia chinensis) regularly came to my garden to feed as a pair. Their arrival would sometimes come after cooing. And in between feeding bouts one or the other would indulge in comfort behaviour. Only on 10th July 2010 did I notice affection between the pair. There was cooing before the pair flew down to the ground, with one bird continuing cooing with head bobbing. After some minutes picking up birdseeds, the pair suddenly faced each other and made bill contact. The act happened suddenly and lasted less than a second. The bill tips touched, pulled back and touched again. They then resumed feeding. A more prolonged act of affection happened later when the pair also indulged in allopreening. The presumed female preened the presumed male, both with eyes closed.

Sometimes the pair flew to the nearby tree and perched on separate branches after feeding, to subsequently come together on the same branch. There, they would touch bills, preen and preen each other.

On the afternoon of 22nd July, there was cooing with the pair perching on my neighbour’s house. The moment I entered the garden, both flew down and started touching bills. There were mutual rapid probing of bills, each session lasting a few seconds when the bill of one dove probed into the open bill of the other (above). Note that in the image below, the eyes are closed. Only after the ritual ended did the doves start feeding.

Can the above be courtship feeding?

Earlier parts can be accessed here: 1. Introduction, 2. Feeding behaviour; 3. Comfort behaviour; 4. Eyelids and 5. Family visit.

YC Wee
July 2010

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.

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