The laughing dove is abundant in southern Africa and has adapted well to living alongside mankind.

Appearance: Male and female birds are very similar with grey bodies, a pinkish-grey head, rufous chest with black spotting and a rust-coloured back. The female is slightly paler than the male. The white outer tail feathers are visible in flight. Juvenile birds are paler with brownish colouring, a grey chest and no black speckling.

Size: Laughing doves are 25cm tall and weigh around 100g.

Habitat: These doves are found in acacia and arid savannah, urban gardens, woodland, farmland, suburban parks and acacia plantations.

Feeding Habits: Predominantly eats seeds from grasses, sedges, shrubs, commercial crops and trees. Also known to eat fruit, rhizomes, and bulbs as well as termites, snails and ants.

Call: The call is well-known and consists of 6 to 8 notes in soft laughing tones, “kuKUkuru-koo”.

Breeding: Laughing doves breed year-round laying up to 6 eggs at a time. The nest is a shallow frail bowl-like construction of twigs and leaves lined with rootlets. The nest is usually placed in a fork in a tree. It also makes use of other birds’ nests.