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THE LAUGHING DOVE

14 August 2014

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The laughing dove Streptopelia senegalensis occurs widely in Africa, Arabia, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and India. In Africa it occurs south of Sahara from West Africa and north-east Africa to southern Africa. As the specific epithet senegalensis indicates, it was first described as Columba senegalensis from Senegal in West Africa by Linnaeus in 1766. This type of dove is found widely in Africa and Asia. In South Africa it occurs equally widely although it has a patchy distribution in the more arid north-western parts of the Northern Cape province.

The laughing dove is relatively small, being 25 cm tall and weighing 100 g. The head and neck are mauve pink or pinkish grey, shading to grey on the back. Some of the greater wing coverts are cinnamon or reddish brown and others are bluish grey to give an overall cinnamon and blue appearance. The tail is black, the upper breast is deep reddish while the lower breast is pale pinkish. The belly is mostly greyish white to creamy white. Both sexes are alike and the laughing dove lacks the dark nape of the larger turtle dove Streptopelia turtur with which it may be confused. The black spots on the upper... (Become a subscriber for more)

Reference:

Hockey, P A R, W R J Dean and P G Ryan (Eds) 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, seventh edition. Cape Town: The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, pp 281 - 283.

Article by Prof J du P Bothma

 

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