Dusky Turtle Dove
Streptopelia lugens

AKA:Black Turtle Dove, Pink-breasted Turtle Dove


ęSeth Martens-Belgium
male on left; two young in middle & female on right

Distribution: A large, heavily built dove with generally dark ashy-grey plumage found locally in east Africa and the south-west Arabian highlands. It is found in a wide variety of habitats; including the pine plantations, open cultivated areas, found in mondane forests with bamboo. In well wooded urban areas it can be found.

Two subspecies are sometimes described (depending on author): S. l. bisharensis from south-west Arabia; S. l. funebrea from eastern Uganda southwards to Malawi& Zambia.

Description: Length 28-30cm. Adult male: has it's head entirely dark ash grey. Display feathers on side of neck & hindneck are black, grading to dark ashy brown on the upper mantle having narrow pale grey edging. The upper breast is dark grey shading to ashy pink on lower breast. belly & the undertail coverts grey. Underwing coloration is grey. Iris coloration is orange brown or red brown. Scapulars & inner median & lesser wing coverts dark ashy-brown having broad pale grey edgings. Tertials & inner wing coverts dark ashy brown having broad chestnut edgings. Flight feathers blackish grey having narrow pale grey edges. Lower back & rump greyish brown with the upper tail coverts & central tail feathers dark brown. Eye Cere or Orbital skin is reddish purple, bill blackish. legs & feet purplish red. Female: similar but paler (more so on head & face - see the above picture). Juveniles: paler versions of the adult hen.

Nesting; Clutch is two white eggs, incubation lasts 20 days (Gibbs); 20 days for squabs to fledge (Gibbs).

NOTES: Seth Martens included his breeding experience with this species. About 60 birds were imported into Belgium in 2004. This is the first time this species has been in captivity in Europe. I bought 8 birds, from those eight birds one pair started breeding in April 2005. This pair were housed in an aviary: 4 meters in length, 1 meter wide & 2 meters high. The male courtship was bowing towards the female while calling. The birds also produce a very short noise to warn other birds away from their nest area. Clutch was two white eggs, incubation was 15 days. it was another 16 days before the young left the nest. I use a 6mm leg band on this species. When the young come off the nest I have to separate the adult male or he will kill the juvenile male and beginning building a new nest. I know of other successful breeding pairs & this behavior has not occurred. This year (2006) an imported male paired with a captive bred bird of a group of 6 birds I keep in a large flight. the remaining birds have not shown any sings of paring up yet. I know of 4 other breeders who have been successful with this species here in Belgium & Europe.

7-2006: per J Pire, this species has never been imported into the US. From Seth's observations this may be a very easily species to sex & propagate once obtained.


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