Species: Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis
Other common names: Tigrine Dove, Spotted-necked Dove, Malay Spotted Dove.
Taxonomy: Streptopelia chinensis (Scopoli) 1786, China.
Sub-species & Distribution: Three races are currently recognised. Found in Pakistan, Nepal and India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, China, Taiwan, Myanmar, and SE Asia to the Greater and Lesser Sundas, and the Philippines, introduced to California, Hawaii and Australia. Only one race is found in this region:
Size: 10 to 11" (26 to 28 cm). Sexes alike.
Description: Head and face vinous-pink, greyer around eyes, crown, on lores, forehead and base of lower bill. A very broad collar across the neck and nape extends to both sides of throat, its black feathers broadly tipped white to produce a chequer-board pattern. Upper back, scapulars, lesser and median coverts greyish-brown with dark shaft streaks. Primaries and primary coverts brownish-black, secondaries browner, tertials and inner greater coverts ashy-brown with black shaft streaks. Lesser, median and outer greater coverts edged white on outer webs forming a white wing patch. Lower back and rump ashy-brown with black markings, uppertail coverts darker. The central pair of tail feathers ashy-brown, the next pair blackish-brown with indistinct paler tips, the rest with broad white tips that are most noticeable when the bird takes flight or when it lands. Chin white tinged pinkish. Throat, breast and flanks vinous-pink, grading to creamy buff on lower belly, and paler on the vent and undertail coverts. Underwing coverts dark sooty grey, bluish-grey on leading edge of the wing.
Immature birds: Duller and browner above, the spots around neck much less distinct or almost absent, the wing coverts edged buffy-rufous.
Soft parts: Iris pinkish-buff, orbital ring red. Bill dark, blackish horn. Tarsi and feet purplish-pink, soles dirty buff.
Similar species: The only similar species, the Peaceful Dove Geopelia striata, is easily distinguished by its much smaller size, and its more terrestrial habits.
Status, Habitat & Behaviour: Resident, common and widespread throughout Singapore, large numbers having been imported to support the cage bird industry (Wang & Hails 2007).
Usually seen singly or in pairs, occasionally in small family parties, walking along roads and paths, searching for food. it has been known to congregate into much larger flocks in peninsular Malaysia (Bucknill & Chasen 1927).
It is found in open country around human settlements, wherever there are patches of short grass and bushes, cultivated areas or rice fields, but not in the jungle or in mangroves. In Sarawak, it has been recorded to 1600 m. They are very tame and are easily approachable, often being seen on lawns and grassy areas in gardens, villages and towns, mostly on the ground, walking along roads and paths, searching for food. When disturbed, they usually take off vertically upwards with an explosive clap of its wings, usually flying up into the nearest tree or, often, settling on the ground just a short distance away. Its flight is strong and direct. When landing, its wings are outstretched in a braking movement, it tail is fanned wide, clearly revealing the white tips to its feathers.
Food: Its diet consists largely of grain, grass and other seeds, also some insects..
Voice and Calls: Its call is a soft musical cooing note, cuck-cuck-crooo-cruck, generally repeated three or four times.
Breeding: They appear to breed all year round. Several courtship and pair-bonding rituals have been noted, such as allopreening (Wee 2007), and the ruffling up of feathers at the back of the nape, and bowing the head low into the chest with each call. The display flight consists of a flight straight up into the air, then a glide downwards with wings and tail stiffly spread (Bucknill & Chasen 1927). Nests have been found as low as 3 feet above ground level but, more usually, are placed 10 to 20 feet up a small shrub or bamboo clump, also in the forks of roadside trees, sometimes quite close to open ground. In Singapore (Mok 2008), as in India, they often nest in the eaves and ledges of town houses. Its nest, like that of most pigeons, is quite flimsy. Using a few twigs for a foundation (Amar-Singh 2010), some finer twigs, small roots, coarse grasses as well as weed stems, are interwoven to form a fragile and almost transparent platform just 2 or 3 cm. deep and about 15 cm. across. The normal clutch consists of two white glossy oval-shaped eggs, 28 x 21 mm in size. Both parents share duties in nest building, incubation and care of young. Incubation takes 13 to 15 days. The nestlings, covered with yellowish hair-like down, are fed by regurgitated crop milk, a secretion produced by the parents (Chan 2007).
Moult: Birds in wing moult were taken on 19 February - moulting P1), and 23 April - moulting P3 and P4 (Medway & Wells 1976). A breeding bird in wing moult was trapped at Sungei Buloh on 23 July.