Friday, 27 November 2015

Spotted Doves Fighting

Spotted Doves Fighting - Jumping Up, Outstretch Wings

I suppose this must be a yearly affair. I remember there was one last year, if I am not mistaken. I theorise that this is to determine the pecking order of the Spotted Dove community. There were 5 of them within the boundaries of my house on my last count just the other day.

I initially thought that this was the courtship ritual of Spotted Doves. But on closer observation (I recorded a couple of videos, by the way), it appears more like a pair of, presumably male, Spotted Doves fighting. The first encounter was on 20th November 2015. Two more encounters were to follow after that, spanning over a total of three days. They clashed on the ground, on the roof of my front porch and also within the branches of my mango tree. I particularly like the encounter within the mango tree, with all that branch to branch jumping and all. I am unsure if there were the same pair over those three days though.

The objective it seems is for the Doves to attempt to stand on the opponent's back. If that fails, then, to wrap its wing over the opponents body. I don't think there was any pecking involved. I didn't see any in my recorded videos.

Mounting an attack could be either head-on, broadside or from behind if one is at such positioning following an earlier attack. There is a lot of wing fluttering during the fight. Lots of jumping with the help of their wings too to gain some extra height. A feather or two may be lost during an attack.

The fight ends when one bird walks calmly away from the confrontation with the other bird (the victor?) following behind, head bowing and cooing at the same time at the retreating bird as if to taunt it. In one of my videos, the two birds actually perched together, separated by about 6 inches between them, after the fight. No bird appears to be injured nor were any bloodied either. Very civilised I think.

Some Additional Pictures

Below are some pictures that I have taken on the first day of this encounter mentioned above. The pictures were all taken within 5 minutes with my Nikon compact camera set to 'Sports' mode. All I did was to focus and hold the shutter-release button down with my forefinger for a couple of seconds to capture a sequence of continuous shots (not really continuous actually as at 16 MP each shot takes about 0.7 or 0.8 of a second to complete).

This fight ended, by the way, when I was too close for the birds' comfort. They just flew away.

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