Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Spotted dove

Thai: นกเขาใหญ่, nok khao yai

Binomial name: Spilopelia chinensis, Giovanni Antonio Scopoli, 1768

The spotted dove (Spilopelia chinensis) is a small and somewhat long-tailed pigeon which is a common resident breeding bird across its native range on the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The species has been introduced into many parts of the world and feral populations have become established. This species was formerly included in the genus Streptopelia with other turtle-doves, but studies suggest that they differ from typical members of that genus. This dove is long tailed buff brown with a white-spotted black collar patch on the back and sides of the neck. The tail tips are white and the wing coverts have light buff spots. There are considerable plumage variations across populations within its wide range. The species is found in light forests and gardens as well as in urban areas. They fly from the ground with an explosive flutter and will sometimes glide down to a perch. It is sometimes also called the mountain dove, pearl-necked dove or lace-necked dove.

Description

The ground colour of this long and slim dove is rosy buff below shading grey on the head and belly. There is a half collar on the back and sides of the neck made of black feathers that bifurcate and have white spots at the two tips. The back has brown feathers with rufous spots in the Indian and subspecies. The lesser median coverts are grey brown. The Indian populations have these coverts with rosy spots at the tip divided by a widening dark grey streak along the shaft. The primary coverts are dark brown. The wing feathers are dark brow with grey edges. The centre of the abdomen and vent are white. The outer tail feathers are tipped in white and become visible when the bird takes off. Sexes are similar, but juveniles are duller than adults and do not acquire the neck spots until they are mature. The length ranges from 28 to 32 centimetres (11.2 to 12.8 inches).

Abnormal plumages such as leucism can sometimes occur in the wild.

Taxonomy

This species was formerly included in the genus Streptopelia but a 2001 study based on molecular sequence as well as vocalization indicated that this along with Streptopelia senegalensis stood out from the remaining taxa then included in Streptopelia. This led subsequent authors to split them out into a separate genus. Carl Sundevall had erected the genus Stigmatopelia with the type senegalensis while also creating the genus Spilopelia (for chinensis, suratensis and tigrina, then treated as separated species) on the same page of his 1872 book. Some authors used Stigmatopelia arguing that it has priority as it appears first on the page. Schodde and Mason in their zoological catalogue of Australian birds however chose Spilopelia based on 24(b) of the ICZN Code which defers the decision to that of the first reviser.

Several subspecies have been proposed for the plumage and size variation seen in different geographic populations. The nominate form is from China (Canton), which is also the origin of the introduced population in Hawaii. Subspecies formosa from Taiwan has been considered as doubtful and indistinguishable from the nominate population. The population in India suratensis (type locality Surat) and ceylonensis from Sri Lanka have fine rufous or buff spots on the back. There is a size reduction trend with specimens from southern India being smaller and ceylonensis may merely be a part of this cline. The lesser and median wing-coverts are also spotted at the tip in buff. This spotting is lacking on populations further north and east of India such as tigrina which also differ greatly in vocalizations from the Indian forms. The population from Hainan Island is placed in hainana. Others like vacillans (=chinensis) and forresti (= tigrina) and edwardi (from Chabua = suratensis) have been considered invalid.

Distribution and habitat

The spotted dove in its native range in Asia is found across a range of habitats including woodland, scrub, farmland and habitation. In India it tends to be found in the moister regions, with the laughing dove (Spilopelia senegalensis) being commoner in the drier areas. These doves are mostly found on the ground where they forage for seeds and grain or on low vegetation.

The species has become established in many areas outside its native range. These areas include Hawaii, southern California, Mauritius, Australia and New Zealand. In Australia, they were introduced in Melbourne in the 1860s and has since spread, often replacing native doves. They are now found in streets, parks, gardens, agricultural areas and tropical scrubs in diverse locations across Australia. The original populations appear to be chinensis and tigrina in varying proportions.

Behaviour and ecology

Spotted doves move around in pairs or small groups as they forage on the ground for grass seeds, grains, fallen fruits and seeds of other plants. They may however take insects occasionally and have been recorded feeding on winged termites. The flight is quick with regular beats and an occasional sharp flick of the wings. A display flight involves taking off at a steep angle with a loud clapping of the wing and then slowly gliding down with the tail spread out.

The breeding season is spread out in warm regions but tends to be in summer in the temperate ranges. In Hawaii, they breed all year round, as do all three other introduced species of doves. Males coo, bow and make aerial displays in courtship. In southern Australia, they breed mostly from September to January, and in the north in autumn. They nest mainly in low vegetation, building a flimsy cup of twigs in which two whitish eggs are laid. Nests are sometimes placed on the ground or on buildings and other structures. Both parents take part in building the nest, incubating and feeding the young. The eggs hatch after about 13 days and fledge after a fortnight. More than one brood may be raised.

The vocalizations of the spotted dove include cooing softly with a Krookruk-krukroo... kroo kroo kroo with the number of terminal kroos varying in the Indian population and absent in tigrina, chinensis and other populations to the east.

The species has been extending its range in many parts of the world. Populations may sometimes rise and fall rapidly, within a span of about five years. In the Philippines, the species may be outcompeting Streptopelia bitorquata. Their habit of flushing into the air when disturbed makes them a hazard on airfields, often colliding with aircraft and sometimes causing damage.

This article uses material from Wikipedia released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike Licence 3.0. Eventual photos shown in this page may or may not be from Wikipedia, please see the license details for photos in photo by-lines.

Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Columbiformes
Family
Columbidae
Genus
Spilopelia
Species
Spilopelia chinensis

Common names

  • English:
    • Eastern spotted dove
    • Spotted dove
  • Thai:
    • นกเขาใหญ่, nok khao yai
    • นกเขาหลวง, nok khao luang

Synonyms

  • Stigmatopelia chinensis, Giovanni Antonio Scopoli (1786)

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Spotted dove, Spilopelia chinensis in Thailand
  • Amphawa District, Samut Songkhram
  • Ao Phang-Nga National Park
  • Aranyaprathet District, Sa Kaeo
  • Ban Bueng District, Chonburi
  • Ban Chang District, Rayong
  • Ban Hong Non-hunting Area
  • Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi
  • Ban Lat District, Phetchaburi
  • Ban Phai District, Khon Kaen
  • Ban Pho District, Chachoengsao
  • Ban Phraek District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Ban Sang District, Prachinburi
  • Bang Ban District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Bang Kruai District, Nonthaburi
  • Bang Lamung District, Chonburi
  • Bang Lang National Park
  • Bang Len District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Bang Pa In District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Bang Pahan District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Bang Pakong District, Chachoengsao
  • Bang Phra Non-hunting Area
  • Bang Pu Recreation Centre
  • Bang Saphan Noi District, Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Bangkok Province
  • Borabue District, Maha Sarakham
  • Bueng Boraped Non-hunting Area
  • Bueng Khong Long Non-hunting Area
  • Buntharik District, Ubon Ratchathani
  • Chae Hom District, Lampang
  • Chae Son National Park
  • Chaiya District, Surat Thani
  • Chaiyo District, Ang Thong
  • Chaloem Phra Kiat District, Saraburi
  • Chatturat District, Chaiyaphum
  • Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai
  • Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Chiang Khong District, Chiang Rai
  • Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai
  • Chum Ta Bong District, Nakhon Sawan
  • Doi Chong National Park
  • Doi Inthanon National Park
  • Doi Lo District, Chiang Mai
  • Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park
  • Doi Saket District, Chiang Mai
  • Doi Suthep-Pui National Park
  • Doi Tao District, Chiang Mai
  • Dong Kheng Forest Park
  • Fang District, Chiang Mai
  • Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Hang Chat District, Lampang
  • Hat Chao Mai National Park
  • Hat Noppharat Thara - Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park
  • Hat Wanakon National Park
  • Hat Yai District, Songkhla
  • Hua Hin District, Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Huai Chorakhe Mak Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Huai Krachao District, Kanchanaburi
  • Huai Nam Dang National Park
  • Huai Sala Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Huai Talat Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • In Buri District, Sing Buri
  • Kabin Buri District, Prachinburi
  • Kaeng Khoi District, Saraburi
  • Kaeng Khro District, Chaiyaphum
  • Kaeng Krachan District, Phetchaburi
  • Kaeng Krachan National Park
  • Kaeng Krung National Park
  • Kaeng Som Maew Queen Sirikit Forest Park
  • Kamphaeng Saen District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Kanthararom District, Sisaket
  • Kantharawichai District, Maha Sarakham
  • Kapong District, Phang Nga
  • Kaset Sombun District, Chaiyaphum
  • Khanom District, Nakhon Si Thammarat
  • Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Chamao - Khao Wong National Park
  • Khao Chong
  • Khao Khiao - Khao Chomphu Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Khitchakut National Park
  • Khao Laem National Park
  • Khao Laem Ya National Park
  • Khao Lak - Lam Ru National Park
  • Khao Luang National Park
  • Khao Nam Khang National Park
  • Khao Nan National Park
  • Khao Nang Panthurat Forest Park
  • Khao Phanom Bencha National Park
  • Khao Phra - Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Pra Wihan National Park
  • Khao Pu - Khao Ya National Park
  • Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
  • Khao Sanam Prieng Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Soi Dao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Sok National Park
  • Khao Yai National Park
  • Khao Yoi District, Phetchaburi
  • Khemarat District, Ubon Ratchathani
  • Khlong Hoi Khong District, Songkhla
  • Khlong Kaeo Waterfall National Park
  • Khlong Lan National Park
  • Khlong Luang District, Pathum Thani
  • Khlong Nakha Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khlong Phanom National Park
  • Khlong Wang Chao National Park
  • Khon San District, Chaiyaphum
  • Khuan Khanun District, Phatthalung
  • Khun Chae National Park
  • Khun Tan District, Chiang Rai
  • Khung Kraben Non-hunting Area
  • Khura Buri District, Phang Nga
  • Klaeng District, Rayong
  • Ko Phayam
  • Ko Samui District, Surat Thani
  • Ko Sichang District, Chonburi
  • Ko Tao
  • Kromluang Chumphon Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Kui Buri National Park
  • Kumphawapi District, Udon Thani
  • Laem Ngop District, Trat
  • Laem Pak Bia
  • Laem Son National Park
  • Lam Nam Kok National Park
  • Mae Ai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Chan District, Chiang Rai
  • Mae Fa Luang District, Chiang Rai
  • Mae Mo District, Lampang
  • Mae Moei National Park
  • Mae Ping National Park
  • Mae Rim District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Sot District, Tak
  • Mae Taeng District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Tha, Lampang District, Lampang
  • Mae Wong National Park
  • Mu Ko Chang National Park
  • Mu Ko Chumphon National Park
  • Mu Ko Lanta National Park
  • Mu Ko Phetra National Park
  • Mu Ko Similan National Park
  • Mu Ko Surin National Park
  • Mueang Buriram District, Buriram
  • Mueang Chachoengsao District, Chachoengsao
  • Mueang Chaiyaphum District, Chaiyaphum
  • Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai
  • Mueang Chonburi District, Chonburi
  • Mueang Chumphon District, Chumphon
  • Mueang Kamphaeng Phet District, Kamphaeng Phet
  • Mueang Kanchanaburi District, Kanchanaburi
  • Mueang Khon Kaen District, Khon Kaen
  • Mueang Krabi District, Krabi
  • Mueang Lampang District, Lampang
  • Mueang Lamphun District, Lamphun
  • Mueang Loei District, Loei
  • Mueang Lopburi District, Lopburi
  • Mueang Maha Sarakham District, Maha Sarakham
  • Mueang Nakhon Nayok District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Mueang Nakhon Pathom District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Mueang Nakhon Ratchasima District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Mueang Nakhon Si Thammarat District, Nakhon Si Thammarat
  • Mueang Nan District, Nan
  • Mueang Nong Khai District, Nong Khai
  • Mueang Nonthaburi District, Nonthaburi
  • Mueang Pan District, Lampang
  • Mueang Pathum Thani District, Pathum Thani
  • Mueang Pattani District, Pattani
  • Mueang Phang Nga District, Phang Nga
  • Mueang Phatthalung District, Phatthalung
  • Mueang Phayao District, Phayao
  • Mueang Phetchabun District, Phetchabun
  • Mueang Phetchaburi District, Phetchaburi
  • Mueang Phichit District, Phichit
  • Mueang Phitsanulok District, Phitsanulok
  • Mueang Phuket District, Phuket
  • Mueang Prachinburi District, Prachinburi
  • Mueang Ratchaburi District, Ratchaburi
  • Mueang Rayong District, Rayong
  • Mueang Sa Kaeo District, Sa Kaeo
  • Mueang Samut Sakhon District, Samut Sakhon
  • Mueang Samut Songkhram District, Samut Songkhram
  • Mueang Satun District, Satun
  • Mueang Sisaket District, Sisaket
  • Mueang Songkhla District, Songkhla
  • Mueang Sukhothai District, Sukhothai
  • Mueang Suphanburi District, Suphan Buri
  • Mueang Surat Thani District, Surat Thani
  • Mueang Tak District, Tak
  • Mueang Trat District, Trat
  • Mueang Udon Thani District, Udon Thani
  • Mueang Uttaradit District, Uttaradit
  • Nam Nao National Park
  • Nam Phong National Park
  • Namtok Phlio National Park
  • Namtok Sam Lan National Park
  • Ngao Waterfall National Park
  • Non Din Daeng District, Buriram
  • Non Thai District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Nong Bong Khai Non-hunting Area
  • Nong Han Lake
  • Nong Plak Phra Ya – Khao Raya Bangsa Non-hunting
  • Nong Song Hong District, Khon Kaen
  • Nong Suea District, Pathum Thani
  • Nong Thung Thong Non-hunting Area
  • Nong Ya Plong District, Phetchaburi
  • Nong Yai Area Development Project Under Royal Init
  • Ob Khan National Park
  • Pa Sak Chonlasit Dam Non-hunting Area
  • Pa Sang District, Lamphun
  • Pai District, Mae Hong Son
  • Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Pak Kret District, Nonthaburi
  • Pak Phanang District, Nakhon Si Thammarat
  • Pak Phli District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Pak Thale
  • Pak Tho District, Ratchaburi
  • Pak Thong Chai District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Pang Sida National Park
  • Pang Sila Thong District, Kamphaeng Phet
  • Pathio District, Chumphon
  • Pha Daeng National Park
  • Pha Hin Ngam National Park
  • Pha Nam Yoi Forest Park
  • Pha Taem National Park
  • Phaisali District, Nakhon Sawan
  • Phan District, Chiang Rai
  • Phanat Nikhom District, Chonburi
  • Phatthana Nikhom District, Lopburi
  • Phayuha Khiri District, Nakhon Sawan
  • Phimai District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Pho Prathap Chang District, Phichit
  • Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Phra Phrom District, Nakhon Si Thammarat
  • Phu Chi Fa Forest Park
  • Phu Chong Na Yoi National Park
  • Phu Foi Lom National Park
  • Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park
  • Phu Khiao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Phu Pha Thoep National Park
  • Phu Phan National Park
  • Phu Sa Dok Bua National Park
  • Phu Toei National Park
  • Phu Wiang National Park
  • Phunphin District, Surat Thani
  • Phutthamonthon District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Pran Buri District, Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Pran Buri Forest Park
  • Rattanawapi District, Nong Khai
  • Sai Noi District, Nonthaburi
  • Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi
  • Sakaerat Environmental Research Station
  • Salak Pra Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Salawin National Park
  • Samae San Island
  • Samut Prakan Province
  • San Kala Khiri National Park
  • San Sai District, Chiang Mai
  • Sanam Bin Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • Sanam Chai Khet District, Chachoengsao
  • Sankhaburi District, Chainat
  • Sathing Phra District, Songkhla
  • Sattahip District, Chonburi
  • Satuek District, Buriram
  • Sawi District, Chumphon
  • Si Maha Phot District, Prachinburi
  • Si Racha District, Chonburi
  • Si Satchanalai District, Sukhothai
  • Si Sawat District, Kanchanaburi
  • Sikao District, Trang
  • Sikhoraphum District, Surin
  • Sirinat National Park
  • Sop Prap District, Lampang
  • Sri Nakarin Dam National Park
  • Sri Phang-nga National Park
  • Su-ngai Kolok District, Narathiwat
  • Sukhirin District, Narathiwat
  • Sung Men District, Phrae
  • Ta Phraya National Park
  • Tai Rom Yen National Park
  • Taksin Maharat National Park
  • Takua Pa District, Phang Nga
  • Taphan Hin District, Phichit
  • Tarutao National Marine Park
  • Tat Mok National Park
  • Tha Chana District, Surat Thani
  • Tha Chang District, Sing Buri
  • Tha Phae District, Satun
  • Tha Sala District, Nakhon Si Thammarat
  • Tha Takiap District, Chachoengsao
  • Tha Wung District, Lopburi
  • Tha Yang District, Phetchaburi
  • Thai Mueang District, Phang Nga
  • Thalang District, Phuket
  • Thale Ban National Park
  • Thale Noi Non-hunting Area
  • Tham Pla - Namtok Pha Suea National Park
  • Tham Pratun Non-hunting Area
  • Tham Sakoen National Park
  • Than Sadet - Koh Pha-Ngan National Park
  • Thanyaburi District, Pathum Thani
  • Thao Kosa Forest Park
  • Thap Lan National Park
  • Thawat Buri District, Roi Et
  • Thung Salaeng Luang National Park
  • Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Ton Pariwat Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Wang Chan District, Rayong
  • Wang Nam Yen District, Sa Kaeo
  • Wang Noi District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Wang Saphung District, Loei
  • Wapi Pathum District, Maha Sarakham
  • Wat Phai Lom & Wat Ampu Wararam Non-hunting Area
  • Wat Tham Erawan Non-hunting Area
  • Watthana Nakhon District, Sa Kaeo
  • Wiang Chai District, Chiang Rai
  • Wiang Kaen District, Chiang Rai
  • Wiang Lo Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Yan Ta Khao District, Trang

Range map of Spilopelia chinensis in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

Contribute or get help with ID

Please help us improving our species range maps. To add a new location to the range map we need a clear image of the specimen you have encountered. No problem if you do not know the species, we will do our best to identify it for you.

For the location, please provide the district name or the national park/ wildlife sanctuary name.

Please post your images to our Thai Species Identification Help group on Facebook.