Bow & Coo

Description:

Usually preceded by a challenge laugh, a charge and raised feathers on the back and neck. The Bow and Coo is a declaration of intent from a senior ranking male dove declaring to an intruding male dove that he is trespassing in his territory. A senior ranking male dove will challenge any male that comes within his range. The Bow & Coo is telling the intruder to either withdraw or bend down and submit to being mounted by the senior male dove. If the intruding male does neither, then the senior male will emit challenge laughs followed by Bow & coos and will progress into biting and wing slapping with the intruder until he submits to being mounted or withdraws.

 

Intensifies when the intruders are in close proximity or in visual range. Single male doves and doves who have eggs to sit on do not usually Bow & Coo when they do not have visual contact with other doves. Favorite times to do Bow & Coos are sunrise and sunset.

 

Some males will also bow & coo toward a new female that wanders into his territory but not always. If she does not depart or is trapped such as in a cage or aviary, he may try to mate her as an act of superiority which is by force and does not include the normal billing and other mating rituals since the intent is degradation rather than reproduction. This usually happens in a community setting where multiple doves are present in the cage or aviary rather than a single male versus a single female. Especially if the female belongs to another male that may not be present to defend her or if there are two males competing for her.

Audio:

Usually preceded by two challenge laughs, followed by three bow and coos. A short pause, then two more laughs followed by 3 more bowcoos, perfectly spaced. The ritual usually sounds continuous to the human ear but a recorded graph of  these coo's will show the even spacing and timing between the laughs and coos. (see photos of wave forms below) The gronking sound at the end of each coo is the intake of more air to prepare for the next coo.

 

Click links to hear the sounds of a bow & coo. B&C 1See more available recordings below each waveform. B&C 2 recording link (below) includes the non-aggression response of a submissive male to the Bow & Coo.  

 

The cooing intervals are shortened on the audio recording for file size purposes. The waveform photos below are unedited as originally produced by the doves. (Notice the repetitious patterns and precise spacing of the sounds shown. Click on waveforms and photos to enlarge.)

710BDwave bowcoo.JPG (38035 bytes) 707ASbowcoo.JPG (34960 bytes) 701BDBFwave1.JPG (38767 bytes)

B&C 3

B&C 2

Coo & Surrender  

This is an unedited waveform of a Normal Bowcoo from a male white dove about 10 years old. 

This is an unedited waveform of a male Ash bowcoo. 

 

This is the unedited waveform of two white male doves. The first aggressive dove laughs twice, bowcoos twice then the surrendering male utters 3 non-aggression whines  and the process repeats. 

Physical Description:  

Male doves cooing loudly while continually alternating from prancing tall on tiptoes to a deep bow is called "Bow & Coo" or "Bowcoo." Looks like one of those red glass Mercury bird dipping in the water. The male will pump up his throat, lightly prance his feet side to side (4 or 5 alternating dance steps between his two feet)  while standing as tall and straight as he can up on his toes with the throat expanded and then rapidly dip his head down below the perch as he coos loudly and then he will raise up as he inhales air to repeat the process.

 

Variant meanings & uses:  

A male dove will also use the Bow & Coo to attempt to force an intruding male to submit to his seniority. Doves have a ranking much like that of a wolf pack when forced to cohabit within the same territorial space. A male dove will also use the Bow & Coo to force a female to submit to his authority usually when other males are nearby and he wishes to force her attentions away from them (even when she has shown no interest.) It is a control issue.

 

Some males will bow into the center of the back of the targeted male or female, lightly stabbing them in the back with his bill to force them to squat down into the submissive position. If there is no challenge to his seniority, he will try to jump on the back of the targeted male and attempt to mate without the courtship rituals. This is an act of contempt to display his undisputed seniority and shame the victim. Usually, the only time a male dove treats his own mate in this manner is when another male dove is within view. He will include pecking at her to drive her away from having anything to do with the other male. The males become exceptionally vocal when the female is in the nest getting ready to lay eggs. He wants to ensure that he is the only male that fertilizes the eggs of his mate and will also drive (see behavior) the female more aggressively, laughing wildly.

 

If the target is another male which will not submit, a wing boxing battle will ensure shortly after the onset of the display. If the challenging male cannot reach him, a contest of bows & coos will commence endlessly until all intruders have conceded, which is unlikely to occur. Some male doves wont accept 2nd place.

 

The victim of a Bow & Coo may attempt to lift one or both of their wings behind their back to dislodge any efforts to mount them or flee from his presence. He may pursue his targeted victim and continue his barrage. 

An intruding male dove that does not wish to challenge the territorial male may emit a surrender whine at even intervals between the Bow & Coos of the Challenging male. (Hear the recording above and see the waveform).

 

There is no sexual stimulation during the Bow & Coo other than the male dove's own ego and desire for control.  The more frenzied, the more laughing and intense the display will become. The female mate usually ignores this display and quietly perches off to the side. 

Once the female has laid her eggs and the male is taking turns sitting on the nest, he will usually stop bowing and cooing, although he may respond to the call of another male without the bowing unless there is an imminent threat nearby.

Dances on tiptoes just before dipping

Deep bow

Rapidly rises with inhale gronking sound