Adult Zebra Dove returned to the garden to feed the juvenile

The adult Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata) flew off from my garden leaving the recently fledged juvenile that spent a night caged for its safety LINK. The next day the juvenile reunited with an adult and was fed. The juvenile remained in the garden and an adult flew in regularly to feed it. On the third day the juvenile perched on a branch of a tree and the adult flew in to feed it (see video below).

I was able to document the feeding at close range as both were used to my presence.

As with doves and pigeons, chicks are fed with pure crop milk LINK. This is a highly nutritious semi-solid substance rich in fat and protein produced in the crop LINK. Once the chick is fledged, it is slowly fed solid mixed with crop milk. Such solids are softened in the crop and with time more and more are introduced until the juvenile is fed entirely on softened adult food.

The feeding process involves the juvenile pecking the base of the adult’s bill to force the latter to open its mandibles. The juvenile will then push its bill inside the throat of the adult to receive the crop milk (above).

YC Wee
19th March 2018

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