Peaceful Dove in courtship mode

on 16th November 2010

“On a recent trip to Lake Kenyir, Malaysia, I was lucky enough to witness a Peaceful Dove ( Geopelia striata) (presumably a male) seemingly to ‘kowtow’ and approach a presumably female bird.

“There were several Peaceful Doves flying about in the vicinity of a bare tree. As I quietly approached them, I noticed that there was one peacefully sitting at the tip of a branch – it’s the bird on the right of the attached pics. Another bird flew in, cooed most melodiously and slowly approached the first bird (above left). After every 2 or 3 steps closer to the first bird it would go into a very low bow, lifting its tail high up (above right). It did this 3 or 4 times as it edged its way closer and closer to the first bird. All the time it was cooing loudly and melodiously. I held my breath as I waited for the first bird to react and hopefully signal a ‘come hither’. Unfortunately, at the last moment, something stirred or maybe they felt my inquisitive eyes on them invading their privacy. In any case both birds were spooked and they flew off.

“…I was lucky enough to have captured twice the low almost humble approach and the cool aloofness with which ‘milady’ seemed to have regarded the approach.

“Am I right in my interpretation of what happened? Was the male ever so humbly asking for permission to mate with the female?”

Lim Poh Bee
3rd November 2010

Note: According to Gibbs et al. (2001), “In courtship the male follows the female on the ground, intermittently raising and lowering his head and upper body, then bowing low while raising his tail and giving a coo call.”

Gibbs, D., Barnes, E. & Cox, J. (2001). Pigeons and doves: A guide to the pigeons and doves of the world. Sussex: Pica Press. 615 pp.

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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