Zebra Doves: Adult feeding fledglings

Zebra Doves (Geopelia striata) have their upper parts, neck and sides of breast boldly barred black. The central portion of the breast is unbarred and has the colour of red wine. Lower down the belly the breast is whitish LINK. The juvenile has it’s the barring right across the breast and extending upwards onto the crown and nape.

A pair of newly fledged chicks – video grab.

Newly fledged chicks similarly have their barring across the breast as seen in the image above. In late April, a pair was seen on the ledge of my roof for the entire morning patiently waiting for an adult to arrive for a feeding session. One feeding session was caught on video – see below.

When an adult finally arrived, the fledglings flew to where the adult landed and struggled to be the first to be fed. As doves and pigeons feed on crop milk that the adult regurgitates, the hungry fledging will be impatient to probe its bill into the gape of the adult. When there are more than one fledging around, a feeding frenzy will invariably develop (see video above).

The afternoon of the next day, the fledglings were seen waiting on the narrow top of the common wall separating my house from that of my neighbour’s. They were less than 2 metres from the sidewalk, exposed to the constant movements of pedestrians and joggers as well as the noisy motor vehicles that travelled along the nearby road. The fledglings were oblivious to the movements and noise as they waited for the arrival of an adult – see video above.

A fledgling stretching its wing (video grab).

While waiting for the adult to arrive, the fledglings spent their time interacting with one another… preening, scratching and pecking on the surface of the ledge – were they picking up food particles, if any, or were they pecking on the bare concrete? At times they were pecking each other’s mandibles and head.

After feeding, which was about 7 pm, the adult flew off. The fledglings failed to follow so the adult returned. This time the fledglings followed the adult to a nearby tree… and most probably to their usual roosting tree for the night.

YC Wee
27th April 2019

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