8 Fun Facts about Doves
Doves are closely associated with concepts like love, freedom, and peace. This has been the case with many cultures from the Greeks to Christianity. While doves are beautiful animals to birdwatch, they are also quite intriguing.
Here are our eight favorite fun facts about doves.
Doves and pigeons are basically the same!
Well, biologically speaking, anyway. Both birds are residents of the family Columbidae and ornithologists often use the words dove and pigeon interchangeably. In fact, the bird that many people will recognize as a “pigeon” is the rock dove. If you love doves but are not quite a fan of pigeons, it may be time to rethink your stance.
Male and female doves both have important roles in nesting
Male and female doves divide out the labor when it comes to building their nests. The male dove will scour the area for the materials needed for the nest while the female will stay behind and do the actual construction. If you see a dove building a nest, it is likely a female.
Doves drink differently than most birds
When most birds drink water, they fill their beak with water and then tilt their head upwards. This allows the beak-full of water to go down their throat. However, doves are built differently, and they will suck water through their beaks much in the way of a straw. This is a curious way that they have evolved differently than other feathered friends.
Doves store many seeds in their crop
Birds have a specialized part of their digestive system known as a crop. Doves will store many seeds in their crops, slowly digesting them later. They also consume small stones that helps with the digestion in the gizzard. This is an advantage because it allows doves to feed on many seeds in a short amount of time, reducing the time it is exposed to predators.
Both parents are needed for their young to eat
Speaking of the crop, both parents are needed to feed their young a special type of milk that is produced from their crop. This is a yogurt-like substances and if both parents aren’t around during the first week of their nestlings’ lives, the young birds won’t have enough food to survive.
The feathers of doves are quite loosely attached
Since feathers are important for flying, you might think that bird feathers should be attached quite well to their bodies. However, this is not the case with doves. They have feathers that are attached quite loosely. This helps as a defense mechanism if they are attacked by a predator. The feathers will fall out, allowing the dove to hopefully get away.
They don’t lay a lot of eggs at once
Doves do not lay many eggs at once. In fact, a clutch of dove eggs is almost always only two. However, they also produce up to six clutches each year, making doves some of the most prolific birds in terms of reproduction. This is likely important as doves do not have a long lifespan. The average dove lives less than two years.
The cooing sound from doves is not what you think
If you thought all doves coo, you would be wrong. In fact, the well-known noise is made almost exclusively by male doves. As you might expect from this bit of knowledge, the coo is used as a mating call to try to woo potential females in the area (doves do mate for life). However, this noise is not made from the doves’ mouths but rather by the air rushing through their feathers as they quickly flap their wings in a certain way.
If you loved learning more about doves, stay tuned to Birdertown’s blogs for even more fun and useful information about some of your favorite feathered friends!