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Caribbean Dove (Leptotila jamaicensis)

© Howell & Webb, 1995
Caribbean Dove song - Calakmul
First four songs from sound file depicted
Click on spectrogram to download sound file

Song Description:

This dove's song is a very low (but resonant) four-note pattern with a timbre similar to the song of the Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura).

Song Measures:

The structural characteristics of the Caribbean Dove's four-note song shows little variation between all the individuals I recorded (N = six individuals).  The short, introductory syllable is higher pitched than the others.  The emphasized second syllable is a glissando down to a short third syllable.  The terminal syllable is moderate in pitch between the first and third syllables.  Different individuals sing at different absolute pitches in a range between 425 and 600 Hz. Within a song bout, I found that Caribbean Doves repeat their song every 11 seconds (N = 30 songs from two individuals), although Howell and Webb (1995) suggest every seven to nine seconds.

Singing Behaviour:

It was seldom that I heard a lone Caribbean Dove sing; they typically countersang with neighbours (usually >25 meters apart) in long bouts throughout the early morning from high within the canopy.  Neighbours always sang at a different absolute pitch, and there was sometimes overlap between neighbours' songs (e.g. listen to the countersinging bird in the background of the wav file above).  Despite the differences in absolute song pitch between neighbours, I did not hear any individual change the pitch of their song.

Song Repertoire:

I found no evidence of any song repertoire, although pitch differences may provide differences akin to a song repertoire.


I detected Caribbean Doves only in the thickest parts of the humid forest in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve.

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All information and photographs copyright Daniel J. Mennill 1999.
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