*Courtship of the Spotted Dove

“Two Spotted Doves (Streptopelia chinensis), one of which was still in juvenile plumage and appeared to be the male, were seen doing the courtship ritual in a Rose of India tree (Lagerstroemia speciosa).

“They crossed necks, ‘kissed’, bobbed their heads up and down, and pecked at each other’s breast areas. The male also flapped (left) and spread its wings to wrap round the other bird, assumed to be the female in adult plumage, as if trying to cuddle her. However, no cooing sound was heard.

“After a while the female left the scene, followed quickly by the male.

“The video, recorded on 21th Oct 2010 in my condo and edited to inject a bit of humour… above.

Sun Chong Hong
24th January 2011

*It has now been established that the above behaviour involves an adult feeding a juvenile – see comments below, and not courtship.

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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.

3 Responses

  1. Dato Dr Amar-Singh HSS HSS

    Delightful post and very nicely done.

    Watched the video a few times and wonder if it could be that the juvenile is being fed by the parent, because:
    a. the juvenile is still rather young to be courting
    b. it does look (blocked in video) that the beaks touch a lot (could be pigeon’s milk being given)
    c. the flapping & behaviour of the juvenile is very much like what we seen when a juvenile bird is excited with feeding
    d. I have seen many of courting episodes of this bird and often there is more head bobbing, lots of calls, lots of male “chasing” female, some preening

    Kindly consider

    Have been enjoying Sun Chong Hong’s posts.


    • Kwong

      I will have to agree with Dato’s opinion.

      Behaviour seem more likely to be juvenile begging adult for food.

  2. Ragoo Rao

    I saw the video…very interesting. The bird closer to us is an Adult and the one next is a juvenile. This may be ascertained by closely viewing the beak. The beak is slender and longer with the elastic membrane-like end at the gape.This certailnly is a juvenile feature of all birds which have to be fed by parents.
    Further the Wing-flapping is not restricted only food-begging in juvenile Doves. This wing-flapping and kissing and mock-feeding is observed in about to mate birds of the Columbidae family.I have also observed this in Blue Rock Pigeons and also in Domesticated prt Pigeons.
    The video appears to be a paretnt feeding a begging juvenile. My opinions.

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