Emerald Dove – song

on 29th September 2021

I heard a number of Emerald Doves (Chalcophaps indica indica) calling out from 7.30 to 9.15 am. There were 5 birds in total, spread over an area of 60-70 meters squared (measured using Google maps). I have occasionally heard these sort of calls in the forest, but usually ignored them as they are very low pitch and hard to pinpoint; even the forest insect noise can drown them out. Despite the low frequency of calls they can carry far in the forest but you have to listen intently to make them out. Since I acquired the Rode VideoMic Pro Plus shotgun microphone, recording them has become a bit more possible. I must add that processing the call recordings is tough; especially to produce a viable sonogram as there is lots of noise interference from insects and other birds far away.

Calls are mournful in nature. Each call has two components – an initial ‘click’ or ‘tick’ followed by a longer mournful ‘wooing’ noise. Craig Robson (Field Guide to Birds of SE Asia 2002) describes them best and says this is the birds ‘song’ – “a deep soft tit-whoooo or tik-whooOO; the short clicking introductory note barely audible, repeated at one second intervals up to 25 times”. The full ‘song’ – initial click and wooing noise’ last 1 second with 0.5 second for the wooing section. Spacing between calls is 0.6 seconds. One bird I heard had no initial click calls. Calls were repeated between 8-20 times (recordings: 8, 10, 9, 12, 17, 20, 8 times). The wooing section of the call has a crescendo-decrescendo sonogram and waveform structure.

Edited audio recording scan be found here:

The attachment above shows the sonogram and waveform of 3 calls (lots of noise artefacts despite cleaning). Three of the birds were together in the same immediate area and the calls of two birds overlapped but were not responsive (calling at the same time). Hence I wondered if these were courtship calls?


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

28th February 2019


Location: Ulu Kinta Forest Reserve, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Previously logged forest with secondary growth and some residual primary forest

Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD, handheld with Rode VideoMic Pro Plus Shotgun Microphone


If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

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.

Other posts by YC Wee

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Overall visits (since 2005)

Live visitors
Visitors Today

Clustrmaps (since 2016)