It coo-ed like a dove, and if it coos like a dove, it must be a dove. At first sight, to me, it did not look like one.


Like so many people, I am imprinted on the imagery of the symbolic dove, the white one carrying an olive branch, which has been depicted in classical art over the centuries. This bird, Which I saw in Jaffa, Israel, visibly, is not one of those.

P1010546 Dove or Pigeon Yaffo 2

It is said that a dove carried a branch to Noah in his ark to signify that land was not far off. I have never questioned, till now, what might have been the true colour of the bird. The connection between the colour of truce and peace, the colour white, is not difficult to make when thinking about the symbol of peace. Might the bird have been an albino, or, could it be one of the many different colourways and varieties of dove we see around the globe today?

The Royal Air Force have a rock dove in their insignia, which looks to me, much like any of the many common grey-ish pigeons seen. Pigeons and the doves are the same family of bird, it should therefore, be no surprise that a dove can have many varied coloured presentations. Irrespective of that, it is a surprise to me, because deep in my psyche, planted subliminally there by all the references, I expect a dove to be white.

0 thoughts on “IF IT COOS IT MUST BE A DOVE

  1. Hello,

    Ah, I see I didn’t clarify that the two pictures are of the same bird pottering about.

    It was a surprise to me not only to hear the bird’s modulated dove cooing, but also to see its colouration and its outline likeness to a pigeon.


  2. I’m familiar with these…:yes: They are sometimes referred to in Africa as ‘turtle doves’….they don’t have the ‘bright collar’…as many of ours here….:)

  3. There are both white doves, and brownish ones here in Israel. The white ones are seen less. The color is for the same reason rats in labs are white… breeding within the same family.

  4. Interesting, isn’t it, when we discover assumptions we didn’t know we had. I love the doves with their long tails. They look rather less aggressive than the pigeons we know and ‘love’ here.

  5. That is very interesting Bushka. My bird book did not have an exact picture fit. Do you think it might be an equatorial – climate- generated difference?

    I still wonder about the depicted symbolic white bird going back to Noah.

  6. In-breeding is obviously an issue as there are breeders who specialise in producing large numbers of white doves, even here in the UK.

    The bird pictured was in Yaffo, so is one of yours; I saw it at the viewpoint overlooking the ancient mosque.

    Is there any reference, do you know, to the colour of the dove in Noah’s story? I guess whatever the answer is, it will be open to question.

  7. You’ve hit the nail on the head, GillyK….assumptions we did not know we had.

    The bird was a softer looking one of the species and very used to people being around. It did not approach anyone for food titbits, possibly because no-one was eating in that spot and there are other areas not very far away, where little morsels of food could be available.

  8. There appears to be such a wide variety of doves…Don’t know why, but looking at your picture brings to mind ‘The Laughing Dove’…You can ‘google’ it for images…
    White dove going back to Noah? 🙄 Not sure whether this is not a ‘gloss’ on the story….:roll:

  9. Gloss and spin being synonymous here methinks.

    I have just looked at a picture of the ‘laughing dove’ and an explanation. The LD appears to have more grey edging, from what can be seen, on the wings and tail. The other element that does not agree is the communication sound. The one depicted did not laugh it had a very seductive coo. On the other hand,there is an enormous similarity, as you say, and in particular in build.

    This gets more and more interesting.

  10. Yep, who would have thought it with doves and pigeons as a genus….Darwin, probably.

    One thought crosses my mind, a query I mentioned before, and that is, these birds and the Laughing Dove, the colouration mainly considered, are from very hot areas of the globe.

  11. I suspect climate does affect wildlife…colouration, not least! On the other hand…Tropical birdlife is often extremely colourful….Saw some very colourful ones on my recent trrip to Namibia…

  12. There are so many questions on region and presentation of all sorts of flora and fauna. Why, for example would rufus colours work in a hot climate? White reflects heat, yet Shimon says that while the white dove exists in Israel, ergo the Middle East, it is rare.

    I guess somebody would have a sensible answer to the questions.

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