European Turtle Dove, Common Turtle Dove,
Eurasian Turtle Dove
Russian: Обыкновенная горлица
French: Tourterelle des bois
Japanese: コキジバト (Kokiji-bato
Body length: 25-28 cm.
Wing span: 45-50 cm
in open lowland deciduous woods and copses with rich undergrowth, mainly in
agricultural areas. Summer visitor (mostly May-Aug), winters S of Sahara.
Rather shy and hard to observe closely, keeps well hidden in tree canopy but may
be seen at distance on telephone wires and foraging on ground. Heavily hunted
on passage through Mediterranean.
Identification: Rather small and
slim dove with fast, somewhat fitful or slightly pitching flight, e.g. when
landing. In practice most like Laughing Dove, but differs in: bright
orange-brown feather edges and clearly demarcated black feather centres above
on scapulars and lesser wing-coverts (laughing darker reddish-brown and almost
uniform); more restricted grey-blue panel in centre of wing; longer and more
pointed wings and somewhat shorter tail; narrower white tail-sides with
complete black inner border; at close range shows neck patch of black and white
stripes (the white at times blue-tinged), noticeable black tail-base below, and
orange eye surrounded by rather distinct, reddish bare skin (sf. also Oriental
Turtle Dove). Juvenile: More uniformly dirty brown and buffy greyish-white, and
lacks neck patch. Can be confused with juvenile Collared Dove, but note tail
markings. Extremely similar to juvenile Oriental Turtle Dove.