© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, Jouko Lehmuskallio. Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Turtle Dove

Streptopelia turtur

  • Name also: European Turtle-dove
  • Family: Pigeons – Columbidae
  • Appearance: A small dove, with a dark tail edged conspicuously in white. Feathers on back and mantle have bright rusty brown edges.
  • Size: Length 25–27 cm (9.7–10.5 in), wingspan 49–55 cm (19–21.5 in), weight 107–140 g (4.3–5.6 oz).
  • Nest: Shallow and flat nest made of twigs in a tree.
  • Breeding: 2 eggs laid in late May, incubated by both parents for 13–14 days. Young birds able to fly within 18–20 days.
  • Distribution: Almost as closely associated with human habitation as Feral Pigeon. First observed in Finland in 1953, with first recorded breeding in 1979 in Lappeenranta. Scarce breeder in S&SE Finland. Total breeding population 5–30 pairs.
  • Migration: Winters in tropical Africa, flying south in Aug–Oct (though may still be seen in Nov–Dec), returning May–June.
  • Diet: Seeds.
  • Calls: A purring “torr torr torr”.
  • Endangerment: Critically endangered, protected in Finland. European red list status (also globally) Vulnerable.

Turtle Doves are slender and have long tails, but are only the size of a large thrush. Their backs are rusty brown with black spots. Their large wing coverts are blue-grey, and their wing feathers are dark above and below (paler on Collared Doves). The sides of their necks are marked with an oval shaped black and white striped patch. Their tails have white tips, made prominent by a dark patch at the base of the tail. Turtle Doves have dark red legs, black beaks with pale tips, and yellow irises.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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