Do Doves Mate For Life? The Truth Revealed About Forever Partners! | Kidadl

FOR AGES 3 YEARS TO 18 YEARS

Do Doves Mate For Life? The Truth Revealed About Forever Partners!

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It's usual to see two dove birds pairing and embracing together, commonly known as 'Turtle Doves'.

Doves are quite fast in the air, having pointed long wings and pointed tails, unlike other species to help them fly fast. They have been recorded to fly at great speeds of up to 49.7 mi/h (80 kph).

The prominent relative of the dove species is thought to be the now-extinct passenger pigeons. The dove offers its primary quality of loyalty and adherence to its mate. In fact, the mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) builds its relationship so strong that both doves work in unity to feed their newly hatched young called 'crop milk' or 'pigeon milk' for several days of their life.

The life expectancy of a dove range from one to two years. The coo-woo-coo-woo sound is usually uttered by males and not by the female dove bird. The meaning and reason why a male dove coos is that he's trying to woo his potential mate. Doves eat seeds mostly; the mourning dove is a granivore and mainly likes to eat seeds, although people think it likes to eat insects. It likes to eat seeds from wild grasses, herbs, weeds, and grains. If one feels like attracting this summer song bird, position any open platform feeders or ground feeders, one that can effectively disperse seeds above ground.

Check out these fascinating facts about doves and get answers to all your queries about these birds.

Why do doves mate for life?

Doves are considered a symbol of eternal love and are usually embraced in weddings. The larger portion of the dove makes partners for life, and it is usual to see two doves pairing together for a very long time. Let's explore further:

  • Although a number of dove species are lifelong mates, some mate for a particular breeding season only. Doves do form persistent pairs, and it is believed that it's advantageous for them to make partners for life because of their short lifespan. Persistent pairing reduces the time to find and bond with another dove.
  • Another reason can be based on the theory of less availability of nesting spots, although mating for life will allow them to come back to the same spot each year, eliminating the time needed to find a new nesting spot which makes them capable of being defended every year.
  • Doves are slimmer than pigeons, the dove birds having a soft gray-brown-colored body with a gray-colored patch on the head.
  • Dove birds belong to the Columbidae family. Columbidae means a family of birds that includes doves as well as pigeons.
  • Doves have a range of approximately 4,200,000 sq. mi (11,000,000 sq. km).
  • Doves and pigeons can live together but shouldn't be kept together as doves are smaller in size, and pigeons are territorial and aggressive.
  • Mourning doves have their scientific name known as Zenaida macroura, whereas the rock dove is known by the scientific name of Columba livia.
  • The turtle dove is known by the scientific name of Streptopelia turtur.

What happens when a dove loses its mate?

A bond between the couple mourning dove is so strong that it can be extended and remains the same till the end.

  • The doves have been seen gazing over their passed away mates and even try to give love and care to them.
  • It has been observed that the mourning doves come back to the place where their partner died.
  • It's believed that doves mourn the death of their mate as they are sensitive to the loss of their pair.
  • Mourning doves are not named because of this specific reason, but because of the mournful sound that they make, which can easily be mistaken for the sound of an owl.
  • A large number of mourning doves do mate until they die, but if one of them dies, then they find another partner for themselves.
  • Doves in the wild may actually interbreed, but this is a rare instance if it ever happens. In captivity though, it's possible for a dove to be mated with its siblings, although not common.

Do doves mate for life hunting?

The mourning dove's life span is short, and permanent pairing as such helps in eliminating the time required to raise a nest, as the couple is always protecting the nest. It also gets easier to raise the young ones with the permanent pairs.

  • Doves do make partners until they die hunting, and while pairing with each other, they tend to peck each other.
  • This is because both the parent doves are supposed to produce strong squabs, and if one pair dies, it will cause suffering to the young and dependent ones who will surely die because of starvation in the nests and in the wild.
  • Doves are considered to be great parents and partners as well. The partner's dove makes a great family together.
  • Both male and female dove birds depend on teamwork. From building the nests together to incubating the eggs in the nest, the female incubates the egg or eggs during the night, then switches place with the male who incubates the eggs during the day.
  • Both mourning dove adults work really hard in feeding and taking care of their chicks while also protecting their nests. Their milk-like food is manufactured from the crop glands by mourning doves and pigeon birds for the young ones.
  • In the wild, this liquid food is made a few days before the hatching of the egg. The bird feeders make this liquid two weeks before the seeds get introduced, considering them the main source of food.
A dove drinks by sucking up their water instead of hanging a bill full of water and letting it trickle down their gullet.

Do doves only have one mate for life?

Studies have shown that 90% of the world's bird species are monogamous (having a relationship with only one partner or living with the same partner lifelong).

  • Although several mourning doves are lifelong mates, some mate only for a particular season.
  • These birds symbolize lifelong and eternal love. Mourning doves need a partner for the most part of their life, and this partner could be of another species within the same family as well.
  • The wild dove bird hardly lives longer more than five years.
  • Doves form a dyadic relationship in which they have only one partner at one time. The pair of dove birds can breed continuously in warm regions.
  • It has been known that male doves carry out engagement practices for their respective mates, which involves exceptional flying impressions, making an obeisance, tail flipping and wagging, and neck fawning.
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Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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