Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis)
aka Palm Dove or Senegal Dove
Laughing Doves are small, 9" (23cm) slender doves with pale rufous, blue and grey upperparts. The head is a pinkish-grey and the lower front & sides of neck has a mottled black and rufous patch, seen only in older birds. The breast is also pinkish and the belly off-white. Eyes are dark brown. The bill is black. Legs and feet are red. The long tail is dark and has white corners, seen in flight. Females are smaller and paler than males.
Laughing Doves are seen singly, in pairs or large flocks when at watering holes or feeding. They always feed in dry, open areas, but rarely far from cover. This Dove species nest in trees, constructing a flimsy nest of sticks, the male collecting and the female building. After a courtship display by the male involving head-bobbing, pecking at his wings (displacement preening), flying, gliding and offering food, copulation results in 2 white-ish eggs, laid on separate days and incubated by both birds for about 2 weeks. The same nest is often reused by the pair, who bond for life.
Laughing Doves eat seeds, mostly grass seed, from the ground, although they will also take small fallen fruit. On occasion, they will also take flying termites or small beetles. They can be a pest where maize is grown.
Laughing Doves are commonly seen all over Kenya, below 1,800 metres. They frequent a wide range of habitation, from arid bushland to cultivated areas and are confiding birds, comfortable around humans. Not seen in forested areas, because they prefer open areas for feeding. Rarely seen around coastal regions.
Extra Laughing Dove Facts
Laughing Doves got their African name from their high, giggling call "ooo~woo~woo~~woo~kuWOOooo".
Laughing Doves are often predated by the Lizard Buzzard.
Photographed at Kenya's Meru & Tsavo East National Parks.
Keywords:bird, dove, kenya, laughing dove, palm dove, senegal dove, wildlife