European Turtle Dove
AKA: Common Turtle Dove, Turtle Dove, Isabelline Turtle Dove (the desert forms)
Distribution: Found throughout most of continental Europe; rare or local in Ireland, Scotland & Denmark. A regular visitor (not breeding) in Sweden. Distributed patchily in the Alps & Carpathian mountains. In Russia, north east to south western Siberia, southern Kazakhstan & the Caucasian countries to north central China & south west Mongolia. Extends south to Morocco, northern Algeria & Tunisia; along coastal Libya & the Nile Valley in Egypt, Turkey, northern Syria, Lebanon & Israel. On the larger Mediterranean & Canary Islands. Occurs in the north eastern half of Iraq, most of Iran, northern Afghanistan & eastern Arabia.
Four races recognized: S. t. turtur (Linnaeus 1758); S. t. arenicola ( Hartert 1894); S. t. hoggara (Geyr von Schweppenburg 1916); S. t. rufescens (C. L. Brehm 1855).
Description: Length 27 cm. Forehead pale bluish grey shading to a lighter blue grey on nape & hindneck. Throat pinkish white, sides of face light pinkish grey. Lower throat & breast a delicate mauve-pink shading to white on the belly & under tail coverts. Flanks pale grey. A patch of black silver-tipped feathers on each side of the neck - appearing as diagonal black & silver lines. Mantle drab brown tinged grey with darker feather centers, giving a mottled appearance. Wing shields bright orange-buff with black centers. Outer wing coverts & under wing bluish grey. Primaries, secondaries & coverts dark dull grey or blackish grey. Lower back, rump sides tinged blue grey. Upper tail coverts & central tail feathers dull grey; outer tail feathers dark grey with broad white terminal bar. Eyes golden, yellow or light orange; eye cere dark reddish purple. Female usually a bit paler, but can be as brightly colored as the male. Juveniles paler & duller buff brown on the head, neck & upperparts; lacks the black & silver neck patches. Wing shields earthy brown with ill defined black feather centers; has narrow pale buff feather edging - appearing more "scaly looking"; rump browner then adult.
Voice: Advertising call Nest/perch call
Nesting: Clutch two white eggs; incubation 14 days; Fledge at about 20 days, but can fly within two weeks.