Laughing Dove in Rajaji National Park

Welcome to the Jungle Safari Rajaji National Park blog page. Rajaji National Park, renowned for its majestic tigers and diverse landscapes, also harbors a delightful resident – the Laughing Dove (Spilopelia senegalensis). Often called the Little Brown Dove, this seemingly ordinary bird holds a surprising charm – its infectious, chuckle-like call.

A Familiar Sight, Yet Often Overlooked

It is a small, slender bird with a delicate build. Its plumage is a soft, pinkish-brown, with a pale underside and a distinctive checkered necklace. While widespread in the park, their subtle coloring and ground-dwelling habits can make them easy to miss.

A Song Like Laughter

The Laughing Dove’s true charm lies in its unique vocalizations. Unlike the melodious songs of many birds, it produces a series of soft, repeated “coo” sounds, remarkably similar to human laughter. This distinctive call, often described as “coo-coo-coo-coo,” is a delightful surprise amidst the park’s usual soundscape.

A Master of Adaptation

 Laughing Dove (Spilopelia senegalensis)
Laughing Dove (Spilopelia senegalensis)

The Laughing Dove thrives in various habitats, from dry scrublands to agricultural fields and even urban gardens. In Rajaji National Park, you might encounter them along forest edges, clearings, and around tourist areas where they scavenge for spilled food scraps.

Tips for Spotting the Laughing Dove

While widespread, spotting a Laughing Dove requires a keen eye and a bit of patience. Here are some tips to increase your chances

  • Listen for the Call – The tell-tale “coo-coo” call is the easiest way to locate them. Familiarize yourself with the sound beforehand.
  • Early Bird Gets the Dove – These birds are most active during the early morning and late afternoon hours. Plan your birding session accordingly.
  • Focus on Open Areas – Look for them along trails, clearings, and areas with scattered trees where they can perch and forage for seeds and grains.
  • Be Patient & Observant – Their small size and subtle coloring can make them blend into the environment. Observe patiently and scan the ground for movement.
 Laughing Dove (Spilopelia senegalensis)
Laughing Dove (Spilopelia senegalensis)

Beyond the Chuckle

The Laughing Dove might not be a brightly colored showstopper, but its unique call and adaptability make it a fascinating addition to Rajaji’s avian diversity. Their presence reminds us to appreciate the beauty in the seemingly ordinary.

Sharing the Park with the Laughing Dove

As you explore Rajaji National Park, remember to share the space responsibly

  • Minimize Disturbance – Maintain a safe distance and avoid loud noises to prevent startling the birds.
  • Avoid Littering – Food scraps can attract Laughing Doves and other wildlife unnaturally, potentially disrupting their natural diet.

A Mosaic of Habitats

 Laughing Dove (Spilopelia senegalensis)
Laughing Dove (Spilopelia senegalensis)

Rajaji’s varied landscapes create a haven for a wide range of birds, each thriving in their preferred habitat

  • Open Country Specialists – Look for the Black Ibis with its glossy black plumage and long, curved beak, foraging in marshy areas. Spot the Indian Sandgrouse, a ground-dwelling bird perfectly camouflaged against the golden plains, taking flight in a flurry of wings. The unmistakable call of the Common Crane might grace your ears during winter migrations.
  • Kings of the Canopy – The dense sal forests are home to a variety of arboreal birds. Watch the Himalayan Pied Hornbill, with its prominent casque, effortlessly navigate the branches. The vibrant flash of the Green Imperial Pigeon might flit through the leaves. Keep an eye out for the shy Himalayan Slaty-headed Parakeet, its emerald plumage blending with the foliage.
  • Masters of the Water – The Ganges River and its tributaries create a vital corridor for wetland birds. Spot the elegant Indian Pond Heron, patiently stalking prey in the shallows. The flash of blue of the Collared Kingfisher perched on a branch might catch your eye. Listen for the melodic song of the Oriental Reed Warbler hidden amongst the reeds.

Seasonal Spectacles

 Laughing Dove (Spilopelia senegalensis)
Laughing Dove (Spilopelia senegalensis)

The birdlife of Rajaji National Park transforms throughout the year

  • Winter Delights (November to February) – During the colder months, migratory birds like the Bar-headed Goose, the Common Teal, and the Eurasian Wigeon flock to Rajaji’s wetlands and lakes, offering a chance to witness diverse species.
  • Breeding Symphony (March to June) – The breeding season brings a burst of activity. Witness the vibrant plumage of resident birds as they compete for mates and listen to their territorial calls echoing through the forest.

Beyond Birding

Rajaji National Park offers more than just birdwatching. Here are some additional elements to enrich your experience

  • Wildlife Encounters – Keep an eye out for other park residents, including elephants, tigers, deer, and reptiles, for a well-rounded wildlife experience.
  • Nature Photography – Capture the stunning scenery and the unique birds you encounter with your camera.
  • Jungle Safaris – Embark on a jeep safari or an elephant safari for a unique perspective of the park’s diverse landscapes and wildlife.
 Laughing Dove (Spilopelia senegalensis)
Laughing Dove (Spilopelia senegalensis)

Embrace the Birding Code

Remember, responsible birding practices are crucial

  • Minimize disturbance – Maintain a safe distance from birds to avoid disrupting their natural behavior.
  • Avoid using bird calls – Playing recorded bird calls can be stressful for birds.
  • Leave no trace – Dispose of waste responsibly and minimize your impact on the environment.

A Symphony Awaits

Rajaji National Park is a symphony of nature, where the melodies of birds intertwine with the rustling leaves and the gurgling river. Whether you encounter the delightful Laughing Dove or discover the dazzling array of other avian residents, Rajaji offers an unforgettable birding adventure. So, pack your binoculars, embrace the spirit of exploration, and prepare to be captivated by the rich tapestry of birdlife in this magnificent national park.

 Laughing Dove (Spilopelia senegalensis)
Laughing Dove (Spilopelia senegalensis)


In conclusion, the presence of Laughing Doves and Red-Collared Dove in Rajaji National Park adds a delightful dimension to the park’s diverse avifauna. As ambassadors of peace and tranquility, these little brown doves remind us of the simple joys found in nature’s embrace. By appreciating and protecting the habitats that sustain Laughing Doves, we can preserve their presence for generations to come, ensuring that their cheerful laughter continues to resonate through the forests and grasslands of Rajaji National Park.

FAQs About Laughing Dove (Little Brown Dove)

1. Is the Laughing Dove easy to spot in Rajaji National Park?

The Laughing Dove can be easy to miss due to its small size and subtle coloring. However, their distinctive call can help you locate them.

2. What is the Laughing Dove’s call like?

The Laughing Dove’s call is a series of soft, repeated “coo” sounds, remarkably similar to human laughter.

3. Where can I find Laughing Doves in Rajaji National Park?

Look for them along forest edges, clearings, and around tourist areas, often on the ground or perched on low branches.

4. What do Laughing Doves eat?

They are primarily ground feeders, foraging for seeds and grains.

5. When are Laughing Doves most active?

They are most active during the early morning and late afternoon hours.

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