Animals / Birds

Laughing dove


Palm dove, Senegal dove, Little brown dove (en.)

Малая горлица (ру.)

Palmtaube (de.)

Tórtola senegalesa, tórtola del Senegal, tórtola reidora, paloma de palmera, pequeña paloma marrón


Order — Columbiformes.

Family — Columbidae.

Genus — Spilopelia.

Species — Spilopelia senegalensis.


Laughing Doves are distributed throughout tropical Africa, avoiding the Sahara, Gabon, southern Cameroon and the central areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Some subspecies are also found in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula (situated north-east of Africa), Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan to central and southern Asia (except Nepal and Bhutan) and the Indian sub-continent (not in Sikkim).

They are found in woodland areas, semi-desert habitats, on dry farmland, in scrub, thornbrush, suburban parks, villages, Acacia plantations and gardens- any area with easy access to water (within 6 miles or 10 km). They are typically seen alone or in pairs - rarely in larger groups. In urban areas, they can become quite confiding.

Except for some local movements in response to availability of food and water, these doves are resident (non-migratory) within their range, and regionally common and widespread.

Внешний вид

Length: 25-27 cm

Wingspan: 40-45 cm.

Weight: 70-92 g.

The plumage is mostly blotchy reddish-brown with some blue-grey markings on the wings, and dark grey remiges (large flight feathers).

The outer tail feathers have white tips.

In flight, the rich chestnut colored underwings can be seen.

The head and neck are pinkish / lilac tinged, shading to buff on the lower belly.

Throat with black spotting on it.

Some abnormal leucistic (pale-colored) plumages have also been noted.

The bill is black.

The legs are reddish or purplish.

The tail is graduated (= the tail is moderately pointed and the tail-feathers decrease in length from the center pair outward.)

Their flight is described as "quick and direct with the regular beats and an occasional sharp flick of the wings."

Males and females are identical.


Quiet and non-aggressive towards other birds. Very timid and easily frightened.


The diet of Laughing Doves consists of grass, fallen seeds, grains, other vegetation and small ground insects (such as termites and beetles).

They usually forage on the ground in grasslands and cultivated areas. Even though they are generally seen in pairs or small family groups, in dry areas large flocks of them may assemble in trees near waterholes.


The Laughing Dove was named for its low rolling, hollow croo-doo-doo-doo-doo chuckling call that is reminiscent of the human laughter. The 3rd and 4th syllables are a little higher-pitched.


Doves and pigeons are very hardy birds. Seldom do they get sick if they are well cared for. Many are very cold hardy but they do not handle being in an environment that is wet, cool, and drafty.

Signs of Illness: 
Some of the signs of illness to be aware of are abnormal behavior such as sitting for longer than usual or being abnormally quiet, closed eyes, fluffed feathers, head nodding or head to one side, balance problems, sharply protruding breast bone, dirty vent, and slimy droppings.

Common Illness:
Some of the more common illnesses your dove or pigeon could contract are pigeon pox, internal parasites such as threadworm, roundworm, or tapeworm, external parasites such as mites or ticks, wounds, salmonellosis, and parrot fever also known as psittacosis. An ailing dove or pigeon should be taken to a avian veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.


Laughing Doves are strictly monogamous, forming pair bonds that last a lifetime - although they will replace lost mates. Bonded pairs are often seen preening and feeding each other.

The breeding season varies by location. In Malawi (southeast Africa), they may breed throughout most of the year. In Zimbabwe (Southern Africa), they mainly breed from May to November. In Egypt and Tunisia (North Africa) most breeding activities are observed from February to June.

In Turkey, they breed throughout most of the year; and in Australia mainly from September to November.

In order to solicit copulation with the female, the male performs courtship displays that often entail head bobbing, pecking at his folded wings in something that is commonly referred to as "displacement-preening", launching into the air with wing clapping sounds followed by gliding down in a gentle arc, as well as cooing to the female. He is also observed feeding the female before the act of mating.

Both parents construct the flimsy platform nest out of twigs. The twigs are usually brought to the female by the male and the female incorporates them into the nest. Their nests are typically located in low bushes, in trees and crevices. In urban areas, they may nest on window sills, on top of buildings or under the eaves of houses. Nests are often reused for several seasons.

The average clutch consists of two white eggs, which are incubated for about 13 - 15 days. The task of incubating (brooding) the eggs is mostly performed by the female; however, during the day the male takes over to allow her to feed, drink and bathe herself. Should they feel that their eggs or young are threatened, these doves may feign injury to distract and draw predators away from the nest.

The young fledge when they are about 14 - 16 days old.

Authentication required

You must log in to post a comment.

Log in
There are no comments yet.