Dove - Columbidae
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The family group of Columbidae covers birds like Pigeon & Doves, this group has 310 birds world wide of which 30 of them are residents in South east Asia. Then from that figure of the birds resident in South East Asia, I have weed out only the Doves which were reported as sighted in Malaysia before and it is summarized as the list below

Rock Dove Columba livia
Island Collared Dove Streptopelia bitorquata
Red Turtle Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica
Spotted-necked Dove Streptopelia chinensis
Barred Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia unchall
Ruddy Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia emiliana
Little Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia ruficeps
Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica
Zebra Dove Geopelia striata
Jambu Fruit Dove Ptilinopus jambu
Black-naped Fruit Dove Ptilinopus melanospilus

The criteria for these group of birds are plump and well rounded bodies, small heads and short beak plus short legs. They should be gregarious birds and usually frugivorous. But from the later write-up below, I mentioned quite a few a ground scavengers, picking up dropped seeds and ripened fruits


1. Spotted Dove   Streptopelia chinensis

 Size & diagnostic markings:- 30 Cm There are 2 Doves that hang around our gardens in urban area. Both are identical, one larger and another smaller. The Spotted Dove is the larger one. The Spotted Dove is a large bird. The upper part of the bird is grayish brown with faint dark streaks and the under part is pale vinous brown. Significant would be the broad collar, stretching from one side of neck to the other, black in color with prominent white spots.

 Distribution :-  The bird is resident in the Indian sub-continent, China, Taiwan, Sundas and the Philippines. Very commonly seen bird in Malaysia
 Habitats & preferences:- This is a lowland bird that prefers open country, garden and along roads
 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- The bird is still seen in many places in the wilderness and often in open areas with tree branches, electric wires and roof of houses. Now the bird is equally common in urban areas as well.
 My personal jottings :-

So this is the large Dove that visit our garden.. To those keeping birds and in Cantonese, the colloquial name is "Tai Pok" The bird prefers open areas, such as fields and public parks. It is also a common resident in urban backyards. Though the bird originates from the Indian Sub-continent and a narrow belt east to south China. By now it is also a very common resident and familiar sights.

Due to varying condition of lighting the vinous as we see on the under part appears in many shades. The actual hue is one that is rather pale and not strong as shown in the main picture.

This first and second Doves on this page need no further introduction as everyone is so familiar with them. Their appearance on this page is merely to fill up and complete the page.


Record of bird's call :-    and Video

Spotted Dove  # 1

Spotted Dove  # 2

Spotted Dove  # 3

Spotted Dove  # 4

Spotted Dove  # 5

Spotted Dove  # 6

Spotted Dove  # 7

Spotted Dove  # 8

Spotted Dove  # 9

Spotted Dove  # 10

Spotted Dove  # 11

Spotted Dove  # 12


Spotted Dove  # 16

Spotted Dove  # 17

Spotted Dove  # 18

Spotted Dove  # 19

Spotted Dove  # 20

Spotted Dove  # 21

Spotted Dove  # 22

Spotted Dove  # 23

Spotted Dove  # 24

Spotted Dove  # 25

Spotted Dove  # 26

Spotted Dove  # 27

2. Zebra Dove Geopelia striata

 Size & diagnostic markings:- 21 Cm. This is the smaller Dove. The Peaceful or Zebra Dove shares the same profiles and body shape of the Spotted Dove but in smaller dimension. Look like a smaller version of the Spotted Dove. The upper part is more grayish and the neck to the breast have prominent barring. The vinous on the under part less prominent and also without barring.

 Distribution :-  The bird is resident in Sumatra, Java, Bali and up to Lombok. This is caged bird and also very common in gardens, parks and open country
 Habitats & preferences:- This is a lowland forest edge bird, preferring scrubs in open country. With Palm Oil plantation wide spread, this bird is most common in plantations. Otherwise in the past more  bird of the coastal areas and rice fields.
 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- The bird is seen in good numbers by the coastal areas and also in Palm Oil plantations. It is also appearing in our back yard
 My personal jottings :-

The peaceful Dove or sometimes named as Zebra Dove from the barring seen at its collar is medium size bird at 21 cm. This is also an open country bird but very common in public parks and our backyards. This bird originates from the Island of Sumatra and was introduced in many other regions. Now it is resident in Malaysia.

As mentioned I will not waste space to elaborate on these 2 Doves. All I wanted to add is the both birds seem to have permanent partners. The paired Spotted Dove seen when they are at rest while the Peaceful Doves moves around and rest in pairs constantly.

Furthermore the Peaceful Dove could get themselves domesticated without being caged. I have a pair breeding in the rain garter of my house. My buddy has a pair feeding off his palm. I have uploaded more write-up on this bird in another page featuring them as garden birds


Record of bird's call :-    and Video

Zebra Dove # 1

Zebra Dove # 2

Zebra Dove # 3

Zebra Dove # 4

Zebra Dove # 5

Zebra Dove # 6

Zebra Dove # 7

Zebra Dove # 8

Zebra Dove # 9

Zebra Dove # 10

Zebra Dove # 11

Zebra Dove # 12


Zebra Dove # 16

Zebra Dove # 17

Zebra Dove # 18

Zebra Dove # 19

Zebra Dove # 20

Zebra Dove # 21

Zebra Dove # 22

Zebra Dove # 23

Zebra Dove # 24

Zebra Dove # 25

Zebra Dove # 26

Zebra Dove # 27

3. Jambu Fruit Dove    Ptilinopus jambu

 Size & diagnostic markings:- 27 Cm. The Jambu Fruit Dove is a beautiful bird. It has green upper part and white under part. Crimson face and pink crown with white eye ring, The a spot of pink on the breast.

 Distribution :-  This is a bird from Sumatra and Borneo islands. Available in Malaysia but hardly encountered.
 Habitats & preferences:- This is a bird of the lowland forest. Though mentioned as not in mangrove but found in coastal forest outside mangrove areas. Also found in places just below sub-montane forest.
 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- Record for this bird in Malaysia not readily available, I have seen this bird in Kuala Selangor Nature park in a patch that was previously mangrove and also in the Old Pump House Road which I would rate as sub-montane forest.
 My personal jottings :-

The Jambu Fruit Dove, now an endangered species is a very colorful bird at 26 cm. This is a forest bird that remains in thick lowland forest and also at times up in the sub-montane areas. The bird is a common resident in Sumatra and  Borneo Island and rated as uncommon resident in Malaysia.

They are a shy and inconspicuous bird and mainly stays in mangrove forest and sometimes in forest edges. With these environment slowly depleted the chances of meeting up with the bird is very very low. Good that the bird has another habitat and that is one near the sub-montane environment and for a couple of times now seen in the Old Pump House Road. The green on the bird suits the bird habit well and it remain unseen among the leaves when the bird do not move. Anyway, the Fruit dove also spend most of their time roosting, nesting and feeding. They are mostly seen alone or in pairs.

The only chance to see the bird is when their favorite tree is fruiting. So far I only know of one in Old Pump Hose Road. There the Fruit Dove will gather into a large flock when feeding at a fruit tree together with other birds like Bulbuls [3species] and Barbet [2 species]. Much have being written about the birds habit of defending its nest and also the way the fledglings are being brought up

From the pictures of the female I have taken, they show that bird is a fruit hunter

Record of bird's call :-    and Video

Jambu Fruit Dove # 1

Jambu Fruit Dove # 2

Jambu Fruit Dove # 3

Jambu Fruit Dove # 4

Jambu Fruit Dove # 5

Jambu Fruit Dove # 6

Jambu Fruit Dove # 7

female  Fruit Dove # 8

Jambu Fruit Dove # 9

female Fruit Dove # 10

female  Fruit Dove # 11

female  Fruit Dove # 12


female  Fruit Dove # 16

Jambu Fruit Dove # 17

Jambu Fruit Dove # 18

Jambu Fruit Dove # 19

Jambu Fruit Dove # 20

Jambu Fruit Dove # 21

Jambu Fruit Dove # 22

Jambu Fruit Dove # 23

Jambu Fruit Dove # 24

Jambu Fruit Dove # 25

Jambu Fruit Dove # 26

Jambu Fruit Dove # 27

4. Emerald Dove   Chalcophaps indica

 Size & diagnostic markings:- 25 Cm The Emerald Dove is roundish looking bird. The upper part has green mantle and wings, the dark vinous-pink head sides, neck down to the breast. Rest of under part in lighter shades of vinous pink. The fore-head is white with blue-gray crown and nape. may not be clear but there are a white to pale gray bands on the back.

 Distribution :-  The bird is resident in India, South-west China, Taiwan and from Philippines down to Australia. In Malaysia this is seen as a common bird on the road passing through deserted forest.
 Habitats & preferences:- This is a lowland forest bird often foraging as a ground bird on forest trail and could be seen near sub-montane forest region.
 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- More often seen in lowland forested hills and also along the road to Frasers Hills
 My personal jottings :-

At 25 cm, this bulky looking bird is resident to the thick lowland forest. This is a resident in the Indian Sub-continent  Now it is a resident in Malaysia. So far I had seen the bird as a loner.

The bird is fond of darting from one patch of dense forest to another favorite site with fast and direct flight at low height. They could weave through the vegetation with ease. That was one style of meeting up with the seemingly shy bird. Another way would be on deserted areas, the bird foraging on barren grounds of roads or track. So the bird is seen either flying or on the ground, hardly perched on a tree. In fact the bird is very terrestrial. Showing minimum concern on the approach of human on foot or in a moving car. The bird would maintain the required distance apart, then the bird slowly walking away to keep that distance. The duration that the bird remains in the are walking would depend very much on the frequency of human contacts. In Bukit Kiara with morning joggers, the bird would stay without leaving the spot then returning to the center of the road after each passing throng of walkers. Here the bird appeared "domesticated" and the bird is far from being shy of human.

From the pictures, the habit of hunting for food on paved roads and jungle tracks is not a style of some birds which have spent time in habitats that are close to human. In fact many Emerald Dove seen in deep jungles are ground forager and that is the manner the birds are spotted on deserted roads. Displaying the extremely shy nature when in flight and yet on the contrary as a seasoned bird. They would continue their chores of seeking out food when approached.

 The Emerald Dove as with all other pigeons and doves, also produces crop milk. That is during the time the chicks were hatched, the infant would poke their bills into the parentís throat and drink it. This is rather unique feature for this group of birds where parents do not have to leave the nest in search of food and there by exposing the delicate nest

Record of bird's call :-    and Video


Emerald Dove # 1

Emerald Dove # 2

Emerald Dove # 3

Emerald Dove # 4

female Dove # 5

female Dove # 6

female Dove # 7

Emerald Dove # 8

Emerald Dove # 9

Emerald Dove # 10

Emerald Dove # 11

female Dove # 12


Emerald Dove # 16

Emerald Dove # 17

Emerald Dove # 18

Emerald Dove # 19

Emerald Dove # 20

Emerald Dove # 21

Emerald Dove # 22

Emerald Dove # 23

Emerald Dove # 24

Emerald Dove # 25

Emerald Dove # 26

Emerald Dove # 27

5. Little Cuckoo Dove    Macropygia ruficeps assimilis

 Size & diagnostic markings:- 33 Cm. With the longish tail and slender body, the Little Cuckoo Dove appears large. The upper part is rufescent with broad blackish bars at the tail, the under part is buffish-brown. The crown is rufous-chestnut. Breast rufous-buff with heavy whitish scales.

 Distribution :- Resident in South-west China, and the Sundas. This is a bird of the forest in Malaysia, fairly common, seen during flowering season.
 Habitats & preferences:- This is a bird of the hill slopes going up to near sub-montane region. There is another sub-species to be found in the sub-montane forest.
 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- Unlike the montane sub-species, this species of the hills is only seen flying and while it is feeding. Other than that the bird was never seen perched. Had seen everywhere, in the forested areas.
 My personal jottings :-

This an unusual Dove straying away slightly from the rounded body shape to that of the slim Cuckoo bird. This is a bird of South-west China to the Sundas. But now it is a common resident of the lowland forest  and up to the sub-montane region.

This bird prefers thick forest where it can perched with ease and dashing through the foliage. Though a large size bird, when it was perched with no movement, very hard to detect despite of its bright colors. It is feeding on seeds, only get to the bird feeding when the fruits bearing trees were at the forest edge. I found that most trees are on hills slope. This bird was seen often in Awana, a sub-montane forest. In Frasers Hills, the bird was spotted at the gap.

Good way of tracking the bird is to know the fruiting season and the location of the trees. There are several over the hills in Perdik, Awana and Bukit Tinggi. That would be the only time that the bird stays put and would continue feeding uninterrupted by human presence.

This bird is a fruit eater.

Record of bird's call :-    and Video

Little Cuckoo Dove # 1

Little Cuckoo Dove # 2

Little Cuckoo Dove # 3

Little Cuckoo Dove # 4

Little Cuckoo Dove # 5

Little Cuckoo Dove # 6

female Cuckoo Dove # 7

female Cuckoo Dove # 8

Little Cuckoo Dove # 9


Little Cuckoo Dove # 13

Little Cuckoo Dove # 14

Little Cuckoo Dove # 15

Little Cuckoo Dove # 16

Little Cuckoo Dove # 17

Little Cuckoo Dove # 18

Little Cuckoo Dove # 19

Little Cuckoo Dove # 20

Little Cuckoo Dove # 21

Little Cuckoo Dove # 22

Little Cuckoo Dove # 23


6. Little Cuckoo Dove    Macropygia ruficeps malayana

 Size & diagnostic markings:- 33 Cm. The sub-species has all the features and markings of the lowland sub species. differences would be the black mottling on the breast without the white patch, The bird is darker in color which makes the rufous-chestnut crown stands out.

 Distribution :-  Found exclusively in Frasers Hills and other sub-montane region in Malaysia
 Habitats & preferences:- This is a sub-montane forest bird
 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- So far, with limited access to other sub-montane area, the bird was sighted in Frasers hills only. Not sighted in Old Pump House. In the Awana, the lowland species is sighted
 My personal jottings :-

Similar in looks and size of the lowland Little Cuckoo Dove. The main different is the darker mottling that appears on the breast. This is a bird of the sub-montane forest.

The bird is most common in Frasers Hills and also at the Old Pump House Road. Unlike its lowland cousin, this bird choose its perched on branches that are exposed. That made the bird being seen more often.

Although the lowland species did visit places in Sub-montane forest but depends so much on the area. Both species were not spotted at the same place. That makes the distinction of habitats for both birds very obvious.

Need not be bothered about the location to seek out the bird. Sighting by chance meeting and the frequency is very good.

Record of bird's call :-    and Video

Little Cuckoo Dove # 1

Little Cuckoo Dove # 2

female Cuckoo Dove # 3

Little Cuckoo Dove # 4

Little Cuckoo Dove # 5

Little Cuckoo Dove # 6

Little Cuckoo Dove # 7

Little Cuckoo Dove # 8

Little Cuckoo Dove # 9

female Cuckoo Dove # 10

Little Cuckoo Dove # 11

Little Cuckoo Dove # 12


Little Cuckoo Dove # 16

Little Cuckoo Dove # 17

Little Cuckoo Dove # 18

female Cuckoo Dove # 19

female Cuckoo Dove # 20

Little Cuckoo Dove # 21

Little Cuckoo Dove # 22

Little Cuckoo Dove # 23

Little Cuckoo Dove # 24

Little Cuckoo Dove # 25

Little Cuckoo Dove # 26

Little Cuckoo Dove # 27


The pictures of the Doves show that these  birds bear close resemblances with the Pigeon which are also thrown into this group.

From the list of Doves mentioned, whatever pictures posted is a good representation of how often, these could be sighted. The number of pictures also demonstrates, even with meeting up with the birds, I was given the chance to see them properly. For the low land species I have small numbers of pictures and the sub-montane species of the Little Cuckoo Dove I got the full set. Good demonstration  of how well the bird could be sighted.