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Laughing dove

Streptopelia senegalensis
Photo by Rajiv Lather (Birding in India and South Asia)

Common name:
laughing dove (en); rola-do-Senegal (pt)tourterelle maillée (fr); tórtola senegalesa (es); palmtaube (de)

Order Columbiformes
Family Columbidae

This species is found throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa, with the exception of the most dense rainforests of Gabon, southern Cameroon and D.R. Congo. It is also found in southern Asia, from the Middle East to India. There are some localized introduced populations in western Australia, around Perth and Fremantle and in Germany.

These birds are 25-28 cm long and weigh 100-120 g.

Laughing doves are found in various woodland habitats and also in scrubland, farmland, plantations and in gardens and parks within urban areas.

They are mostly granivorous, eating the seeds of various grasses, scrubs and trees. They also eat fruits, bulbs, nectar and some invertebrates including termites, ants, larval flies and snails.

Laughing doves can breed all year round. The nest is a frail bowl of twigs and leaves, lined with fine material such as rootlets, and placed in a fork in a tree or sometimes in human structures. The female lays 2 white eggs which are incubated by both sexes for 12-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents, in the first few days eating only crop milk, and later receiving seeds. They fledge 12-13 days after hatching. Each pair raises a single brood per year.

IUCN status – LC (Least concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and is known to be common to very common in some parts of its range. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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