Common Birds of India

Spotted Dove. ( Streptopelia chinensis )

By - Ragoo Rao

A close cousin of the pigeon but a little smaller in size, these pinkish brown birds with grey upper parts with a typical black and white spotted patch on their nape are very shy and peace-loving birds. The only way to know their presence is by their Kroooo...kruk...krooo..kurooo...sounds. They are very wary of human presence and at the slightest noise flap away with a whirring whistle of their wings. Always found in pairs; both sexes look alike.

Distribution is almost through out the country except for very arid regions. They inhabit open wooded places and are often found very close to cultivated fields. These birds can get very familiar with the farmers if not disturbed and molested. On gaining confidence these birds would even fly down from their perches to pick up grains when thrown at them.

On cloudy days in cultivated fields, specially during mid-day, one could hear their pleasant Kroooo....kruk...kruk...krooooo which could be so soothing to a nature lover.

Nesting is almost through out the year, pronounced when food is abundant. The nesting site is usually in a thorny low tree or a bush. The nest is a clumsily made mass of sticks, lined with fine grass and their own feathers. Sometimes even abandoned buildings are chosen for nesting in niches in their walls close to the roofs. Two white eggs, slightly smaller than the pigeon's are laid and both sexes share all domestic chores. The chicks which are blind and covered by scanty off-white down feathers grow up rapidly and in about three weeks they are ready for flight. These young birds hang around their parents for some more time begging for food in their characteristic pigeon like way, flapping their wings close to their bodies with a begging Chee....cheeee...sounds.

(Photo: Spotted Dove by Ragoo Rao)

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