Turtle Dove


Turtle doves are known scientifically by the name of Streptopelia turtur. These birds are members of the family of Columbidae, which contains pigeons and doves. These doves are migratory species. These can be normally seen in the southern regions of the Palearctic range which includes Turkey as well as North Africa.


These birds have a build which is smaller as well as slighter when compared to other doves of this family. The Turtle dove has a browner colour, which helps in distinguishing them. These doves possess striped patches which are both black as well as white in colour on neck’s side. The tail of these doves has a shape which is similar to those of a wedge. The centre of the tail is dark whereas the tips and borders will be white in colour. These features give the doves the look of blackish chevron which is present on white ground. The features of the tail are visible when the birds stoop while drinking as a result of which the tail is spread. These birds are territorially aggressive.

The neck, head, flanks as well as rump of the adult Turtle doves have a blue grey colour. The wings of these doves are cinnamon and are mottled with a black colour. The breast of turtle doves is vinaceous where are the coverts of the under tail as well as the abdomen possess a white colour. The bills of turtle doves are black in colour where as these turtle doves possess legs as well as eye rims of red colour.

The younger, juvenile Turtle doves have a neck which is duller brown in colour. But the patches which are white and black in colour are absent in the young birds. The legs of the juvenile Turtle doves are also brown in colour. The eyes are blind due to complete bloodshot.

These birds are one among the recent migrants which appears very rarely in the Northern Europe during the last days of April. These doves normally return to South in September again. These birds can be seen normally during April.

These turtle doves prefer open places rather than woodlands which are very dense. Very occasionally, the nests of the Turtle doves can be seen in gardens, but these birds are very timid. The major reason behind this nature is the pressure of hunting these turtle doves face while they are in migration. The flight of these doves is arrowy in nature, but they are not that swift.

Nuptial flight of these turtle doves is high as well as circling. This is similar to those of Wood Pigeon. But undulations of Turtle doves are normally less decided. The undulations are normally accompanied by whip cracking of flicked wings which are downward. The arrival of spring can be easily noted by the purring song of these Turtle doves. The song is very deep and follows a vibration like “turr, turr”. These vibrations have given rise to the name of turtle dove to these birds.

The Turtle doves are normally denoted as Love emblems, from their usages in Bible.