Doves are a diverse group of bird species belonging to the family Columbidae, which also includes pigeons. They are found worldwide, inhabiting a wide range of environments, from forests and woodlands to urban areas. Doves come in various sizes, ranging from small to medium-sized birds. They have plump bodies, short legs, and small heads. Doves are known for their gentle appearance, soft feathers, and graceful flight. They typically have a rounded shape and a long, pointed tail. Doves are generally peaceful and calm birds. They often forage on the ground for seeds, grains, fruits, and insects. They are known for their monotonous yet soothing cooing sounds, which serve as a means of communication, courtship, and territorial marking.
Doves hold cultural and symbolic significance in various societies and religions. They are often associated with peace, love, purity, and spirituality. In Christianity, doves are seen as symbols of the Holy Spirit. In ancient Greek and Roman cultures, doves were connected to the goddess of love, Aphrodite or Venus. Their gentle nature and harmonious vocalisations have made them popular subjects throughout history in poetry, art, and literature.
Karnataka is home to six species of doves.
Laughing Dove (Spilopelia senegalensis)
The Laughing Dove, also known as the Senegal Dove or Palm Dove, is a delightful and charismatic bird species that enchants observers with its unique appearance and cheerful vocalisations. Native to sub-Saharan Africa, the Laughing Dove has also expanded its range to other parts of the world, including the Middle East and India. Laughing Doves are small to medium-sized birds, measuring about 23 centimetres (9 inches) in length. They have a plump body with a long, tapering tail. The plumage of Laughing Doves is primarily a soft pinkish-brown, with darker markings on the wings and back. They have a distinctive pale blue-grey patch on their shoulders, which is particularly noticeable during flight. The eyes are surrounded by a small, contrasting patch of bare skin that is often a vibrant shade of blue or red. Laughing Doves are adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats, including open woodlands, savannas, scrublands, and urban areas. They are often seen near water sources and are particularly fond of areas with palm trees, which offer nesting and roosting sites. The Laughing Dove has a wide distribution and is not currently considered a species of conservation concern. Its adaptability to various habitats and its ability to thrive in urban areas have contributed to its stable population numbers.
Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica)
The Emerald Dove is a magnificent bird species that captures the imagination with its stunning plumage and graceful demeanour. Native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Southeast Asia and Australia, this dove is renowned for its vibrant green feathers, which give it a regal and captivating appearance. As a symbol of beauty and tranquillity, the emerald dove has become a beloved figure in the hearts of avian enthusiasts and the diverse ecosystems it calls home. It showcases a rich, vibrant emerald green colour that spans its body, wings, and tail. Male and female Emerald Doves share a similar appearance, with slight variations in size. Their feathers are adorned with intricate patterns and delicate hues, creating a mesmerising display of nature’s artistry. The Emerald Dove is known for its calm and peaceful demeanour, often seen perched on branches and flying like an arrow through the foliage. They are primarily ground-dwelling birds, foraging on fallen fruits, seeds, and small invertebrates. Their flight is characterised by soft, whistling wingbeats, adding a touch of serenity to their surroundings. The Emerald Dove’s gentle cooing calls resonate through the forest. In some cultures, it is associated with love and fidelity. However, like many bird species, the Emerald Dove faces threats due to habitat loss, deforestation, and illegal trade.
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
The Eurasian Collared-Dove is a remarkable bird species that has captivated the attention of bird enthusiasts and scientists alike. Originally native to southeastern Europe and Asia, this dove has undergone a remarkable expansion in its range, colonising new habitats and continents. With its unique characteristics and ability to thrive in diverse environments, the Eurasian Collared-Dove exemplifies adaptability and serves as a fascinating case study in avian success. It is a medium-sized bird with a plump body and long, tapered tail. Its pale greyish-brown plumage is complemented by a distinctive black half-collar on the back of its neck. Eurasian Collared-Doves are known for their distinct cooing call, which echoes through the environments they inhabit. These social birds are typically seen in pairs or small groups, and their ground-feeding behaviour makes them conspicuous as they search for seeds, grains, and fruits. One of the key reasons for the Eurasian Collared-Dove’s success is its remarkable adaptability to various habitats. While it favours urban and suburban areas, it can be found in a range of environments such as farmlands, parks, gardens, and open woodlands. It is less commonly found in dense forests or mountainous regions. This adaptability allows the species to take advantage of human-altered landscapes and exploit available resources, including food and nesting sites.
Oriental Turtle-Dove (Streptopelia orientalis)
The Oriental Turtle-Dove is native to East Asia and has a distinctive appearance and behaviour. It is a medium-sized bird, measuring approximately 28 centimetres (11 inches) in length. It has a plump body with a relatively long, square-ended tail. The plumage of adult birds is primarily grey, with a pinkish hue on the breast and a darker patch on the neck. The tail feathers have a white edge, visible in flight. Juvenile birds have browner plumage with less pronounced markings. The Oriental Turtle-Dove is native to a vast region in East Asia, including countries such as China, Japan, Korea, and parts of Russia. It is a migratory species, and during the breeding season, it is found in forests, woodlands, and scrublands. It migrates to more open habitats in winter, including agricultural fields, grasslands, and coastal areas. It is often seen perched on trees, wires, or open ground. It feeds primarily on seeds, grains, and small fruits. Its flight is direct and swift, with regular wingbeats. The Oriental Turtle-Dove is currently classified as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, its population has experienced declines in some regions due to habitat loss, hunting, and capture for the pet trade.
Spotted Dove (Spilopelia chinensis)
The Spotted Dove is a medium-sized bird, measuring approximately 30 centimetres (12 inches) in length. It has a plump body with a long, tapering tail. The plumage of adult birds is predominantly greyish-brown, with large white spots on the wings and back, giving it its characteristic spotted appearance. The breast is a pale pinkish-grey, and the eyes are surrounded by a patch of bare skin that is typically bluish-grey. Juvenile birds have browner plumage and fewer spots. The Spotted Dove has a wide distribution across Asia and parts of Africa, including countries such as India, Southeast Asia, China, and Australia. It has also been introduced to various other regions, including North America and Europe. Spotted Doves are adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, woodlands, gardens, parks, and urban areas. They are often seen perched on wires, rooftops, or branches. The Spotted Dove is currently classified as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It has a large population and a broad distribution range. While it may face localised threats such as habitat loss and hunting in some regions, overall, it remains relatively abundant and adaptable.
Red Collared-Dove (Streptopelia tranquebarica)
The Red Collared-Dove or the Red Turtle-Dove is a medium-sized bird, measuring approximately 30 centimetres (12 inches) in length. It has a plump body with a long, tapered tail. The plumage of adult birds is predominantly pale grey, with a reddish-pink collar on the nape of the neck, which gives the bird its common name. The breast and underparts are a lighter shade of grey. The eyes are surrounded by a patch of bare skin, which is often bluish-grey. The Red Collared-Dove is native to South and Southeast Asia, including countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, and parts of Southeast Asia. It typically inhabits a range of habitats, including forests, woodlands, scrublands, agricultural fields, gardens, and urban areas. They are adaptable birds and can be found in both rural and urban environments. The Red Collared-Dove is not currently listed as a threatened species. However, like many other bird species, it may face localised threats such as habitat loss, hunting, and capture for the pet trade in some regions.