Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Least Concern

Eastern Spotted Dove (Spilopelia chinensis)


French: Tourterelle tigrine German: Östliche Perlhalstaube Spanish: Tórtola moteada oriental
Other common names: Chinese Spotted Dove, Spotted Dove, Spotted-necked Dove (when lumped with S. suratensis)

Columba chinensis


, 1786,

Canton, China


Hitherto considered conspecific with S. suratensis but indicated as a likely separate species#R. It differs in its yellow to orange iris and narrow grey or blue-grey eyering vs reddish to red iris and red eyering (3); plumage pattern of upperparts greatly emphasizes dark central bars to feathers vs buff tips, thus appearing predominantly dark-spotted vs pale-spotted (2); song typically (and perhaps always) less protracted since it lacks repetition of main stressed note  (2); size generally larger (informally 1); zone of intergradation in “Cachar, Manipur, etc.”#R (assumed to be wide: 1). Race tigrina is distinctive, with dark-spotted upperparts vs almost plain, narrowly scaled in chinensis. Birds of Hainan sometimes separated as hainana; and those of Taiwan as formosa; several other races proposed, including setzeri (Sichuan), forresti (NW Yunnan) and vacillans (SE Yunnan). Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. c. chinensis (Scopoli, 1786) – Myanmar to C & E China (Sichuan, W Yunnan and Hainan N & E to Hebei) and Taiwan.
  • S. c. tigrina (Temminck, 1810) – Bangladesh, extreme NE India, Myanmar and Thailand through Indochina, Philippines and Greater and Lesser Sundas to Timor.
  • Introduced to Sulawesi (including many satellite islands), Moluccas (Buru, Banda, Ambon, Seram, Sawai, Obi, Bacan, Halmahera, Haruku, Loleba Besar, Morotai, Ternate, Tidore, Sula, Kai Kecil), Mauritius, E Australia and Tasmania, New Zealand (Auckland), New Caledonia, Fiji (Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Taveuni, Lau Is), Hawaii (Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, Hawai) and continental USA (California); formerly New Britain (Rabul).

    Descriptive notes

    27·5–30 cm; 106–198 g. Forehead, crown and face light grey with hints of pink; chin white to pale grey; nape, sides of upper neck, throat and breast... read more


    A repeated mournful sequence of 2–4 throaty coos, very similar to that of S. suratensis... read more


    Prefers more mesophytic situations than S. senegalensis, being found in moist deciduous... read more

    Food and feeding

    Poorly known. Feeds on seeds of grasses and herbs, as well as grain and small fruits, e.g. Ficus platypoda. Food is taken on the... read more


    Known to breed all year (or virtually so) in many parts of its range, e.g. on Borneo and in Peninsular Malaysia; also, Feb–Jun and... read more


    Probably mainly sedentary but altitudinal movements are likely. Some insular records, e.g. off... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally very common to abundant and often very abundant. A successful species thriving in disturbed moist habitat, often as a... read more

    Recommended citation

    Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M., Kirwan, G.M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2019). Eastern Spotted Dove (Spilopelia chinensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 10 December 2019).