Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Spotted Dove (Streptopelia Chinensis)

(30 cm.) Pinkish-brown; long tail, black spotted patch on side of neck, white on the tip of the tail; large

The Spotted Dove, named for the speckled patch on its neck, is a pigeon, often generically referred to in Chinese as “ge zi.” It should be noted that there is more than one type of pigeon, and that the Spotted Dove is an entirely wild variety of pigeon and should not be confused with domestic pigeons which are raised by man. As its scientific name, “Streptopelia chinesis,” suggests, it is also known as the “Chinese Dove.”

Although it is closely related to domestic pigeons, one who encounters it in the field will quickly notice a difference in its temperament. Unlike the domestic pigeons that inhabit the cities in eastern China, this species is not approachable. In keeping with its completely wild status, this bird will not allow humans to venture too close. Even in city parks where people are common, the Spotted Dove has not lost its in-born fear of humans.

The Spotted Dove is a member of the order, “Columbiformes,” which contains all species of doves. The Spotted Dove, admired for its beauty and demure personality has been successfully introduced to many locations outside Asia including Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, and even Southern California.

The Spotted Dove, in keeping with its gentle nature is entirely a herbivore, feeding on vegetation, seeds and grain which it finds during its foraging sessions on the ground. It is a bird of open woodland, farms, and parks, making it well suited to life in and outside the city. It is not a social species, and will usually be found alone or with its mate.

The Spotted Dove, like other members of its order, mates for life, and shows true devotion to its mate. As a non-migratory species, this species breeds early in the spring with the female dove depositing two shiny white eggs in a nest. Both male and female parents attend to the feeding of the chicks and both parents can produce “pigeon milk” in their crops to help sustain the growing chicks.

The dove is the international symbol of peace, and the beautiful Spotted Dove conducts its business in a manner befitting this image.

Spotted Dove (Photo by Brian Westland)

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