The Dusky Turtle Dove (Streptopelia lugens) was a challenging bird for me to photograph during my visit to Ethiopia last December. Although they were relatively common on the school campus where my daughter was teaching, during our 2 week stay this species was almost reclusive in nature. One evening I stealthily chased one around the playground trying to get a photo. It was almost dark and the flash needed to be employed, but the bird keep moving around quickly and generally just out of effective reach of the flash.
On another occasion one bird was feeding in the car park right out in the open. Again it was in poor light and the bird keep moving around rapidly, to quickly to get the camera focussed on it. All those shots were blurred. In the end, I only managed to get 2 photos reasonable enough to show here. That’s nature photography I guess. You win some, you lose some – and the rest are just plain challenging.
Doing a little research on this species I have found little in the way of information online. It appears that both males and females of this species, along with closely related species, are able to produce “crop milk”, a soft lumpy substance resembling cheese. When it is fed to the young it nourishes them with its high protein content. Read more about it here.
The Bar-shouldered Dove is found in eastern and northern Australia. It’s preferred habitats include vegetation near to water, scrubland in sub-topical areas, woodlands, well-treed parks and gardens, along creeks and waterways, gullies, mangroves, swamps and plantations.
Like many doves and pigeons, its nest is a flimsy platform of a few sticks, twigs and grass. It breeds in the months of February to April in the northern parts of its range, and from September to January in the southern parts. It usually lays two eggs.
I’ve only had the delight of seeing this species on one occasion in its natural habitat, and that was many years ago. I was therefore delighted to be able to see it and photograph it in a walk-through aviary at the Adelaide Zoo recently.
Bar-shouldered Doves can be found in eastern and northern Australia. Sadly I’ve only ever seen this beautiful species in the natural environment on one occasion – nearly 30 years ago in northern NSW. I need to get out and travel a little more! The above photo was taken in a walk through aviary at the Adelaide Zoo (click the image to enlarge).
This species is found in a variety of habitats, including subtropical scrublands, eucalyptus woodlands, gorges and gullies, near creeks and swamps and even in gardens with plenty of trees. Like many other species of pigeons and doves, they make a flimsy platform of a few sticks which serves somehow as a nest.
- Flock Bronzewing Pigeon
- Spotted Turtledove nesting
- Peaceful dove in our garden
- Great birding moments – Crested Pigeon
One morning last week while having breakfast I noticed a Spotted Turtledove flying frequently to a melaleuca bush near our sunroom. As we watched it flew down to the ground several times, each time collecting fine twigs and then it carried the twigs back to the nest. This went on sporadically over the nest few days.
Two days ago I searched the bush and eventually found the nest, complete with the female sitting on the nest. Like most doves and pigeons the nest is a flimsy affair, consisting of barely enough twigs to hold the eggs. How the babies manage to stay in the nest beats me. Mind you, I will give the birds full points for hiding this nest. It is very hard to find as it’s located in some very thick foliage. Should make photography of the babies quite challenging – perhaps not possible. They are easily spooked from the eggs or young so I might just let them get on with hatching the eggs and later feeding the young.