Feeding Spotted Dove: 15. Courtship

In late November 2010, the pair of Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis) was displaying courtship rituals on two days. No copulation resulted from such displays.

The male approached the female with a crouching position, wings downward spreading and tail feathers depressed (above right). He ran towards the female with the wings slightly twitching. A number of times she evaded him by moving off or taking a short flight. He would pursue her, running after her or even flapping his wings to fly after her (below right). When she accepted his approach, he would attempt at covering her body with one of his wings (below left), his bill pecking at her head, allopreening. All these times both doves were silent.

An earlier post on the courtship of the Peaceful Dove (Geopelia striata) can be seen HERE. Courtship of the Spotted dove is shown HERE.

YC Wee
Singapore
December 2010

Reference:
Baptista, L. F., P. W. Trail & H. M. Horblit, 1997. Family Columbidae (pigeons and doves). In: del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & J. Sargatal (eds.), Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 4. Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Lynx Editions, Barcelona. Pp. 60-245.

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4 Responses

  1. Hi!

    This sequence doesn’t seem to be the courtship ritual for spotted doves. The supposed male should be a fledged juvenile begging for food from its parent.

    The juvenile can be ID by the comparatively smaller size, distinct lack of spotted feathers on the neck, and the generally “shabby” condition of plumage.

    Cheers 🙂

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    • The sequence may well give the impression of a fledged juvenile begging for food. But consider the following: 1. The active bird has a distinct patch of spots, although not in focus in the images. 2. The “chase” was totally silent, unlike feed begging where the juvenile makes its characteristic cries. 3. Earlier, the pair was feeding on birdseeds side by side when one of them suddenly indulged in similar behaviour a number of times.

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  2. From what i understand on Spotted dove mating rituals, the male will sing to her in the form of a “coo,coo” with his head bowing repeatedly infront of her. The female, usually ignores this. He will stay close to her for sometime while repeating the behaviour. He is also sexually dimorphic, being bigger than her and having a deeper reddish colour on his feet. The picture above doesn’t show the deep red coloration on his feet.(maybe poor lighting during photograping?)

    In my opinion,this sequence of pictures shows a fledging begging for food. Unlike mynahs that beg vocally, doves, from my observations, or the lack of it, tend to be rather silent but more physical by show of drooping flight feathers and tailing the parent. Although it may feed on its own side by side, begging still occurs for most fledging. The parents usually ignores this as they encourage the fledging to forage on its own and eventually weaned off parental care.

    *Earlier, the pair was feeding on birdseeds side by side when one of them suddenly indulged in similar behaviour a number of times* YC, was this the same bird that was begging or the other individual?

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    • The pair undergoing the ritual was the same pair feeding earlier. I will not close the book on the possibility of a juvenile begging for food. Will continue observations as and when the opportunity arises.

      Thanks for the note on the deeper redness of his feet. I have always consider the pair as a male and a female. They have been around since I started feeding them and are relatively tame, one being more so than the other, probably because it has been around more often than the other. There have been a few other individuals coming on and off but these will immediately fly off when I approach. The ritual pair was relatively tame, so possibly must be the original pair.

      Other comments most welcome.

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