Turkish Turtle Dove

Do you like to discover new things about birds every day? In that case you will be interested in meeting today the Turkish turtledove, one of the most wonderful birds that currently exist in the world. Are you ready to meet her?

Where do they live?

Streptopella decaocto, or as it is known by its common name, Turkish turtle dove, once spread throughout South Asia, but can now be found naturally in Europe and North Africa, as well as in North America and Japan where it has been introduced by poultry lovers.

turkish turtle pigeon

Normally, it lives in wooded areas, but in many places it is very common to see it living in cities, so its relationship with humans is much closer than that of other turtledoves.

And what’s it like physically?

It is a medium sized bird, measuring about 32 cm, so it has a size similar to the wild dove and larger than the European turtledove. It weighs between 125 and 240 grams, as females appear to be slightly smaller than males.

The plumage, as a rule, is greyish beige, with a pinkish hue in the head and chest area. The back and the top covers of their wings are uniformly light brown, while the parts of the top covers of the wing are uniformly lighter brown, with the bottom parts bluish grey.

streptopella decaocto

The primary feathers are darker brown in colour, with a black ribbed white list that surrounds the sides and back of the neck like a necklace. The tail feathers are grey suede, while the underside has a black base with the rest dark grey. The iris of your eyes is dark red in color, but from a distance it may appear to be black. It has a small white eye ring.

Because it does not have sexual dimorphism, the only way to differentiate the sexes is through a DNA test. When they are young, they have no collar and the eye is brown. In addition, the variety in captivity is usually white in colour.

Two subspecies have been recognized:

  • Streptopella decaocto decaocto: The nominal species that extends from Europe to Korea and also in eastern China.
  • Streptopella decaocto xanthocycla: Typically seen in Southeast Asia. The difference is that the eye ring is yellow.

What can we tell you about his behavior?

Unlike other birds of the same species, this one has become very well accustomed to urban spaces. It is usually seen alone or in pairs, being a gregarious species that can become concentrated in large flocks in which there is a large amount of food. Some flocks of up to 10,000 members have been found.

Their food consists of seeds, sprouts and insects, feeding in parks and gardens of the houses, and they may even end up visiting the bird feeders. The highest concentrations of this species are generally found on farms, where they feed on grains from crops or grains used to feed livestock.

When it comes to their reproduction process, they tend to do so in an urban environment, where there are trees and food is readily available. They prefer conifers when it comes to locating their nests, but they can also be seen doing it in buildings with rough twigs and some vegetable pieces. The female incubates the eggs at night, while the male incubates during the day for an average of 15 days. When the chicks are born, they take between 15 – 19 days to feather and leave the nest at 21 days of age. Breeding can occur at any time of the year, so there is no particular season in which this species can breed, which is very good for carers.

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