malay spotted dove

The Malay spotted dove is found mainly in and around Auckland but also in the Bay of Plenty, near Te Puke and Opotiki.

The birds’ natural range is Asia, from India and Sri Lanka to southern China, Taiwan and Timor.

Malay spotted doves are quite small birds and have been described as self-effacing. These elegant doves are normally found alone or in pairs feeding on the ground. When disturbed they rise swiftly and dash for leafy cover, revealing the white tips of their outer tail feathers. More often their presence is indicated by a pleasant crooning which may be heard at all seasons even in mid winter. They are at their most conspicuous when the male stages its courtship flight, a steep upward climb and a downward glide with wings stiff and tail fanned.

Spotted doves build a flimsy nest of twigs, well concealed in a large shrub hedge or tree. They may breed at any time of the year if food is available, but usually in spring and summer. They lay two white eggs which both sexes incubate. Chicks are at first fed crop milk but regurgitated seeds form an inceasing part of their diet until they are fledged at around 15 days.

The Malay spotted doves apparently originate from a substantial “liberation” at Mount Eden in the 1920s so their numbers have not increased greatly in that time. The two places I am aware where they can be found in the Eastern Bay of Plenty would seem to indicate they are attracted to places where there are other introduced doves. However, their presence in the wild seems to be benign and they do not pose a threat to native species.

malay spotted dove Streptopelia chinensis Streptopelia chinensis
Streptopelia chinensis.
Sub Species:

Other common names:  — 

Lace-neck turtle dove, Spotted-necked Dove, Terkukur (Malay).

Description:  — 

Introduced bird

30 cm, 130g., light grey, pink tinge around the head; nape of the neck is black spotted with white;back wings and rump a mottled brown. The juvenile is similar but lacks the patterning on the nape of the neck.Male and female similar.

Where to find:  — 

Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Te Puke, Opotiki.

Credit for the photograph: — 


Gail Charrier

Illustration description: — 


Chris Gibbins’
Birds of the World on Postage Stamps

Reference(s): — 


Heather, B., & Robertson, H., Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand, 2000.

Oliver, W.R.B., New Zealand Birds, 1955.

Page date & version: — 


Wednesday, 28 May 2014; ver2009v1


©  2005    Narena Olliver,    new zealand birds limited,     Greytown, New Zealand.