|Photo by Roger Wyatt (Focusing on Wildlife)|
turtle dove (en); rola-comum (pt); tourterelle des bois (fr); tórtola europaea (es); turteltaube (de)
The turtle dove breeds in most of Europe, with the main exceptions being Ireland and Scotland, Iceland, Scandinavia and northern Russia. They are also found breeding around the Mediterranean basin, throughout Turkey and the Caucasus and into the Middle East. They winter in Africa south of the Sahara, mostly in Senegal and Mali and other countries of the Sahel.
They are 25-27 cm long and have a wingspan of 49-55 cm. Both males and females weigh around 140 g.
They breed in open lowland deciduous woods and copses with rich undergrowth, mainly in agricultural areas but also in more open country with dense scrubs and isolated trees. They winter in dry scrubland and savanna.
Turtle doves mostly eat the seeds of cereals and weeds. They also eat fruits and berries and may occasionally take insects and their larvae.
They breed in April-September. These birds mate for live, each year both male and female collaborate to build the nest, a simple platform made of twigs and roots, lined with softer materials such as grass and leaves. The nest is placed on tree or scrub, at an height of 2-3 m. The clutch consists of 1-2 white eggs which both parents incubate for 13-16 days. The chicks fledge after 20 days and become independent soon afterwards.
IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
With a global population of 20-100 million and an extremely large breeding range, the species is not considered threatened at present. Still, the turtle dove may have declined by as much as 67% in parts of its range, and the species is affected by habitat loss and unsustainable levels of hunting in southern Europe and northern Africa.