Turtle Dove

Turtle Dove

Scientific name: Streptopelia turtur

Did you know: The Turtle Dove is known for its distinctive purring song, making it a unique voice of the British summer, but this sound is becoming increasingly rare due to population declines.

What Do Turtle Doves Look Like? (how to identify them)

Turtle Doves are charmingly petite, with a size slightly larger than a Blackbird. They exhibit a notable mottling of chestnut and black on their upperparts, and their black tails are edged in white. These birds are distinguished from the larger Collared Dove by their darker and smaller stature.

Differences Between Male And Female Turtle Doves

While both sexes share a similar appearance, males tend to have a slightly more vibrant colouration, especially noticeable in their chestnut mantle and wing feathers. Females, in comparison, have a subtler hue.

What Do Turtle Doves Eat?

Turtle Doves have a diet primarily consisting of seeds. They forage on the ground in weedy patches or stubbled fields, seeking seeds from plants like chickweed, oilseed rape, and various cereal grains.

Where Do Turtle Doves Live? (inc. migration info)

Turtle Doves are migratory, spending winters in Africa and returning to the UK in spring. They prefer habitats with dense foliage like hedgerows and scrublands, often choosing thorny plants like hawthorn for nesting. They are especially prevalent in Southern and Eastern England.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Turtle Doves)

The gentle purr of the Turtle Dove is an emblematic sound of summer in the United Kingdom. This soft, rhythmic cooing, often described as a melodic “turrr, turrr,” is a staple of rural and suburban landscapes, though it has become rarer due to the species’ decline.

Fun Turtle Dove Facts (kid friendly)

  • Turtle Doves are about the size of a Blackbird.
  • They migrate thousands of kilometres every year, from Africa to the UK.
  • Unlike other birds, Turtle Doves feed their chicks a special ‘pigeon milk.’
  • Their nests are often found in thorny bushes like hawthorn.
  • A group of Turtle Doves is called a ‘pitying.’
  • They can fly at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour!
  • Turtle Doves have been a symbol of love and devotion in literature and folklore.
  • The bird’s unique purring song is made by vibrating air in their throat.
  • Kids can help Turtle Doves by creating bird-friendly gardens with seeds and safe nesting spots.

Facts About The Turtle Dove

Diet: Seeds.
Bird Family: Pigeons and doves
Length: 26-28cm
Wingspan: 47-53cm
Weight: 130-180g
Scientific Name: Streptopelia turtur

The Turtle Dove Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September