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.
Spotted-necked Dove, Malayan Spotted
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.
and wetland wildlife at
Sungei Buloh Nature Park
features: Medium (30cm), a black patch with white
spots on the back of the neck;
parts brown, broadly streaked with black; head and breast
pinkish grey to white on belly; bill black; feet red.
Call: Described as a low
coo-croo-coo; soft te-croo-croo; three note
coo-coo-croo with emphasis on last note.
In flight: Pale brown wing
coverts contrast with dark flight feathers and whitish
bend of wing. As it flies, it spreads its long tail displaying
the white tips.
Similar birds: Zebra
Dove (Geopelia striata): The Zebra is smaller;
lacks the neck patch with white spots; and is more "zebra-stripped".
Status in Singapore: Very common resident throughout
the island and North and South offshore islands.
World distribution: India
through Southeast Asia. Introduced to the US, northern
Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand.
Classification: Family Columbidae.
World 310 species, Singapore 11 species. The one found
in Singapore is of the subspecies S. c. tigrina.
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.
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 circular dive.
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 open
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.
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 in Singapore.
- Morten Strange,
"A Photographic Guide to Birds of Malaysia and Singapore: including
Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Borneo", Periplus, 2000
(p. 142: description, voice, habits, distribution, status, photo).
- Morten Strange,
"Tropical Birds of Malaysia and Singapore", Periplus
Editions, 2000 (p. 24: habits, habitat, photo).
- David R Wells,
"The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula: Vol. 1 (Non-Passarines)",
Academic Press, 1999 (p. 338-340: identification, distribution map,
habits, habitat, migration, conservation).
- Lim Kim Seng and
Dana Gardner, "Birds: An Illustrated Field Guide to the Birds
of Singapore", Sun Tree Publishing Ltd., 1997 (p. 46: identification,
status in Singapore, distribution, diagram, number of species).
- G W H Davison
and Chew Yen Fook, "A Photographic Guide to Birds of Peninsular
Malaysia and Singapore", New Holland Publishers Ltd., 1995
(p. 42: identification, status in Singapore, distribution, photo).
- Clive Briffett,
"A Guide to the Common Birds of Singapore", BP Science
Centre,1992 (p. 66: habit, habitat).
- Christopher Hails,
"Birds of Singapore" illustrated by Frank Jarvis, Times
Editions, 1987 reprinted 1995 (p. 88: habits, description, status in
Singapore, and lovely drawings of the birds).
- Lim Kim Seng,
"Vanishing Birds of Singapore", Nature Society (Singapore),
1992 (p. 8: status in Singapore).
- Lim Kim Seng,
"Pocket Checklist of the Birds of the Republic of Singapore",
Nature Society (Singapore), 1999 (Abundance, status, Chinese and Malay
- M W F Tweedie,
"Common Birds of the Malay Peninsula", Longman,1970
(p. 16: description, distribution, habits, habitat, drawing).
- G C Madoc, "An
Introduction to Malayan Birds", Malayan Nature Society, 1947
(p. 59-60: description, habits, habitat).
- Sir John A S Bucknill
and E N Chasen, " Birds of Singapore and South-East Asia",
Tynron Press, 1927, edition 1990 (p. 59-60: identification, status in
Singapore, distribution, field notes on habits, drawings).
- Prof. Dr. Yong
Hoi Sen (ed.), "The Encyclopedia of Malaysia: Animals";
Pigeons and Doves by Siti Hawa bt Yatim, Editions Didier Millet, 1998
(p. 52-53: habits and habitats)
- Dr. Harold G Cogger
(et. al), "Encyclopedia of Animals"; Pigeons and Sandgrouse
by Francis H J Crome, Weldon Owen, 1993 (p. 334-336: general habits