Small doves
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Laughing Dove L: 25 cm (10") An elegant, long-tailed, slender, dark pink dove with a coppery mantle and slate blue-grey outer wings, rump and central tail feathers . It lacks the ‘collar’ which is a feature of some other doves (see pages 84–85), but has a stippled black necklace and white-and-black outer tail feathers that are distinctive in flight . This is an abundant resident in Kruger, with pairs and small groups found in all habitats . A low, chuckling “croo-doo-doo-doodoo ” song gives the bird its name . Males launch into the air with loud wing-clapping, and then glide down in a gentle arc – one of the characteristic signs of spring . Emerald-spottedWood-Dove L: 20 cm (8") A small, dainty, pinkish-grey, ground-dwelling dove, with a pale crown and two rows of iridescent green spots on the wing . The all-dark bill (not yellow and red) and colour of the wing spots (green rather than blue) differentiate it from the much rarer Blue-spotted Wood-Dove (not illustrated) . In flight it reveals bright rufous wings and two grey bands across the back and one across the tail . This is a common if somewhat inconspicuous resident throughout Kruger, preferring drier woodlands, and the characteristic call is a familiar Kruger sound: it starts tentatively and mournfully drops in pitch before gently fading away: “duuuuh-duuuueh, duueh-dduuue-due-due-due-due-dueh, do-do-do-do-dodo -do-do” . This call is interpreted by Shangaan people as “My mother is dead, my father is dead, and now my heart just goes du-du-du-du-du-du-du” . Namaqua Dove L: 26 cm (10") This small-bodied, greyish dove has a distinctively long, slender, pointed tail . The male has a black throat and red-and-yellow bill, although these are lacking in the female . In its dashing flight, the combination of reddish wings and long ‘pin-tail’ are diagnostic . The Namaqua Dove is nomadic, being common to abundant in dry years and rare in wet years . It prefers the drier western portions of Kruger, particularly thornveld . The call is a mournful, strained “whooooo” given up to 20 times in succession . Although the dove is a symbol of peace in many countries, in some African traditional cultures doves are thought to be quite villainous, as males are willing to kill each other for the attentions of a female.There are several similar-looking doves in Kruger that are worth getting to know. Small doves namaqua dove emerald-spotted wood-dove laughing dove female male 82 BIRDS OF BROADLEAVED WOODLAND AND CAMPS female male namaqua dove laughing dove emerald-spotted wood-dove 83 ...