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Spotted Dove (Spilopelia chinensis)

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

During my visit to my grandparents' house, on their balcony, I saw a spotted dove sitting still on its nest, incubating its eggs. This made me inquired the nesting habit of spotted doves and found out that they normally remain completely still, with scarcely any movement before their eggs hatch.

Spotted doves usually live in small flocks or pairs. They forage on the ground but perch in trees or other infrastructures. Being monogamous and breed throughout the year, the adults build the nest together in a bush or tree near an open area. In urban settings, they prefer intricate locations high up in the air, which provides them sense of secureness. The nest is a platform of loosely combined twigs, grasses, and roots, where 1 or 2 slightly glossy white eggs are laid. Incubation is for around 14 to 16 days by both parents. The adults have to sit on the eggs constantly with limited movements for the eggs to hatch successfully. The altricial chicks are covered sparsely with pale down. For the first week, their parents look after them continuously. Young fledge when they are about two weeks old, and their parents immediately begin a new clutch.

The spotted dove is a small and long-tailed dove that belongs to the Columbidae family. Spotted doves are widely distributed. Its native area is Southern Asia, but it has been introduced to the United States, Australia, Indonesia, and New Zealand. It is often found near human residences and live in mountains, open woodlands, scrub, farmland, gardens, and urban areas. This species does not migrate, often choosing to share our human abodes. In terms of their diet, spotted doves are primarily herbivores. They feed on seeds and grains, as well as insects.

Measuring in at a modest 28 to 32 centimeters (11 to 12.5 inches) in length, the spotted dove boasts a medium-sized frame. Its plumage takes on a gentle palette of pale brown or buff, but it's the dainty black spots peppered across its wings, back, and sides that really catch the eye, earning it the name "spotted." The lower part of its body tends to be even lighter, adorned with soft whites or pale grays. One of its standout features is its round head, gracefully connected to a slender, gracefully curved neck. The eyes are framed by a subtle ring, and the bill, though small, is distinctively black.

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