“It is generally believed that pigeons and doves do not bathe in the conventional manner of other birds. That is, they do not dip themselves into water and splash about, as do thrushes, starlings, parrots, white-eyes and many other species. This has been reported in ornithological and avicultural literature. However, it has been said that pigeons and doves wash themselves by rubbing against wet foliage after rain.

“I have never seen a pigeon or a dove bathe, until last week (above). At first, I thought that this Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis) was having a drink.

“But then it continued to sit in the puddle, fluffed out its feathers, and shook itself, just as a mynah or bulbul would do (above).

“It left only after becoming quite well soaked. Has any one else ever seen a dove bathing?

“There are birds which some authorities consider to be in the family of pigeons and doves, (and others do not) which soak themselves. Sand grouse are seed-eating birds that live in arid regions, and are well known for travelling great distances to drink. They transport water back to their nestlings by soaking their absorbent breast feathers, which are supposed to be able to sponge up to half a fluid ounce of liquid at one go.

“But, in Singapore’s relatively wet climate, I cannot imagine that the dove in the pictures would need to soak itself to transport water anywhere.”

Lee Chiu San
30th September 2014

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