Spotted Doves are the most common dove seen in open areas. They are not
shy of humans
and when approached, often keep pecking on the ground and fly off only
at the last moment. Their Malay name sounds very much like their call.
Spotted Doves eat grass seeds, grains and bits of vegetation. They
forage on the ground, on open land (both wild grasslands and cultivated
land). Rather terrestrial, they are nevertheless also often seen
perching on wires or low trees and palms.
Unlike other doves, they forage alone, or in pairs. When several are
attracted to a food rich site, they mingle peacefully. They roost on
trees and palms.
Although they may be found at forest edges, they do not venture deep
into the forest.
Pigeons and doves do not have well-developed oil glands, which in other
birds are used to waterproof their feathers. Instead, they have special
plumes scattered throughout their body which disintegrate to produce a
powder which cleans and lubricates the feathers.
Breeding: Spotted Doves appear to breed year round. To advertise his
nesting site, a male performs a flight display of a steep climb
accompanied by loud wing claps followed by a downward swoop in a
The Spotted Dove's platform nest is less flimsy than that of other
doves, but still flimsy compared to other birds' nests. Made out of
twigs, grasses and roots, these are 11-15cm in diameter and shallow,
2-3cm deep. Nests are made in low trees or tall bushes, usually near
The most fascinating feature of pigeons and doves is their ability to
produce crop milk. During breeding season, special glands in the crops
of both males and females enlarge and secrete a thick milky substance.
The chicks drink this milk by poking their bills into the parent's
Thus, pigeons and doves can feed their young without having to
incessantly hunt or forage for food. Instead of laying many eggs, they
lay one or at most two eggs. Their abundance is proof that this feature
gives them the advantage.
Nests are usually about 3m off the ground, but heights range from 1 to
14m. Both parents build the nest. 1-2 white eggs are laid. Both parents
share incubation duties.
Migration: Spotted Doves don't
migrate but they disperse readily to colonise new areas suitable for
them such as newly cleared and agricultural land. In Singapore, they are
found mainly in open places including gardens, parks, cultivated areas;
mangroves, and found even in built-up urban places.
Status and threats: Spotted Doves adapt well to cultivated areas and
quickly spread to such places. But they are affected by use of
pesticides and herbicides. Popular in bird-singing contests, wild
Spotted Doves are often heavily trapped for sale as cage birds.
Nevertheless, they are still common and not considered at risk.