Belongs to: doves

Compare with: collared dove

Turtle dove Streptopelia turtur

BoCC Red list

Best time to see: end Apr to mid Sep

Key facts

Small dove whose deep, purring call is characteristic of summer

Habitat: countryside with hay meadows and weedy fields

Summer visitor breeding in southern Europe, including Britain; winters in Africa


Greyish underparts, black and brown upperparts; black and white bold neck stripe; 28 cm

Often sits on wires making distinctive 'purring' call

Eats seeds, preferring weed seeds, and particularly common fumitory, to cereals or grain


Arrives from Africa late, in late April or early May

Nest is a platform of twigs at or above head height in a shrub or tree; two broods of 2 white eggs, May to June

Large numbers are shot 'for sport' in France and Iberia

© Alan Williams