Courtship feeding by regurgitation in Zebra Doves

posted in: Courtship-Mating, Pigeon-Dove | 0

Mary Yeo was rushing home when she came across this pair of Zebra Doves (Geopelia striata) along a path towards the car park at Satay by the Bay. She grabbed her photographic gear and fired a few shots before the doves flew off. The entire encounter lasted a few minutes.

Courtship feeding by regurgitation.

Those viewing Mary’s images will be wondering whether it was a feeding or a courtship episode.

Courtship feeding by regurgitation – enlarged.

Well, it turned out to be both feeding and courtship. Actually, it was a courtship feeding by regurgitation (above) followed by mating (below) – see HERE for more details on mating ending in the cloacal kiss. The images of courtship feeding above show the smaller female dove on the left, with her bill probing into the gape of the larger male to receive crop milk – as is usually seen in the adult feeding chicks and fledglings LINK. Conventional courtship feeding is more obvious where the male offers an insect or a fruit to the female LINK, not so in this case where crop milk is involved – see LINK.


Following mating, the pair of Zebra Doves had a brief bonding moment before flying off (below). Note that the bigger male (left) is distinguished from the smaller female by the wider central portion of the breast that is unbarred – the female having a distinctly narrower unbarred breast – see HERE. This can also be seen in all the images shown above.

Zebra Dove pair bonding immediately after mating.

Mary Yeo, YC Wee & Jeremiah Loei
1st July 2019

This post is a cooperative effort between Birds, Insects N Creatures Of Asia and BESG to bring the study of birds and their behaviour through photography and videography to a wider audience.

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