Streptopelia turtur 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Columbiformes Columbidae

Scientific Name: Streptopelia turtur
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English European Turtle-dove, European Turtle-Dove, European Turtle Dove, Turtle Dove
French Tourterelle des bois
Taxonomic Source(s): Cramp, S. and Perrins, C.M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Identification information: 27-29 cm medium-sized dove. Forehead pale bluish grey, throat white, sides of face pinkish grey; lower throat and breast mauve-pink merging into white on belly and undertail-coverts; flanks pale grey; black, silver-tipped feathers, form a patch on side of neck giving impression of a patch of diagonal black and silver lines; mantle dark brown, often grey tinted, centre of each feather darker forming a scaled pattern; primaries, outer secondaries and primary-coverts blackish grey; lower back and rump drab tinged with blue-grey; uppertail-coverts greyish drab; underside of tail black and white; iris varying from golden yellow to light orange; orbital skin dark purplish blue; bill blackish often with purple tinge, paler toward tip; legs purplish red (Baptista et al. 2015). Female sometimes indistinguishable, sometimes a little paler and duller in colouration. Juvenile generally browner and duller. Voice Song a repeated phrase of two low-pitched purring coos.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2bcd+3bcd+4bcd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Vogrin, M., Perlman, Y., Sorrenti, M., Raudonikis, L., Kashkarov, R., Mitropolskiy, O., Ayé, R., Roth, T., Kashkov, R. & Schweizer, M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Wright, L, Pople, R., Burfield, I., Ashpole, J, Ieronymidou, C. & Wheatley, H.
This species has been uplisted to Vulnerable. It has undergone rapid declines in much of its European range whilst in Russia and Central Asia it is thought to have experience more severe declines. Declines are thought to be driven by a number of factors including loss of foraging and nesting sites as well as disease and hunting along its migration.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The species is a widespread migrant breeder across much of central and southern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, wintering mainly in the Sahel zone of Africa (Baptista et al. 2015).
Countries occurrence:
Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Andorra; Armenia (Armenia); Austria; Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Belarus; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Cape Verde; Chad; China; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Egypt; Eritrea; Estonia; Ethiopia; Faroe Islands; Finland; France; Gabon; Gambia; Georgia; Germany; Ghana; Gibraltar; Greece; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Hungary; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Latvia; Lebanon; Libya; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Mali; Malta; Mauritania; Moldova; Mongolia; Montenegro; Morocco; Netherlands; Niger; Nigeria; Oman; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Poland; Portugal; Qatar; Romania; Russian Federation; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia (Serbia); Sierra Leone; Slovakia; Slovenia; Somalia; South Sudan; Spain; Sudan; Sweden; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Tajikistan; Togo; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; Uzbekistan; Western Sahara; Yemen
Botswana; Comoros; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Djibouti; Iceland; Kenya; Liberia; Maldives; Namibia; Norway; Pakistan; Seychelles; South Africa; Svalbard and Jan Mayen; Uganda
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:7020000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):1300
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The European population is estimated at 3,150,000-5,940,000 pairs, which equates to 6,310,000-11,900,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms 25-49% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 19,300,000-71,400,000 individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.

Trend Justification:  The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of exploitation. In Europe the population size is estimated to be decreasing by 30-49% in 15.9 years (three generations) (BirdLife International 2015). In Europe, trends since 1980 show that populations have undergone a moderate decline (p<0.01), based on data from the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (EBCC/RSPB/BirdLife/Statistics Netherlands, P. Vorisek in litt. 2008). In Central Asia (Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) an analysis of observations of the species suggests that it has experienced a moderate or possibly strong decline over the past two to four decades (R. Ayé in litt. 2015). In Uzbekistan the species has declined severely over the past thirty years (R. Kashkarov in litt. 2015). The formerly large population in European Russia has crashed by >80% since 2000 and by >90% since 1980 (BirdLife International 2015). Declines have also been reported from parts of east and south-east Kazakhstan, for example the species is now rare, or even absent in the Manrak Mountains, where it was once common (Wassink and Oreel 2008).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:13000000-48000000Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species uses a wide variety of woodland types, as well as steppe and semi-desert (Baptista et al. 2015). It uses hedges, borders of forest, groves, spinneys, coppices, young tree plantations, scrubby wasteland, woody marshes, scrub and garigue, all with agricultural areas nearby for feeding (Tucker and Heath 1994). It tolerates humans but does not breed close to towns or villages (Baptista et al. 2015). It generally breeds at low altitudes not exceeding 500 m in the temperate zone and up to 1,000-1,300 m in Mediterranean areas (Tucker and Heath 1994). Breeding commences in May. It lays two eggs (Baptista et al. 2015). The nest is a small platform of twigs lined with plant material and placed in the lowest parts of trees (Tucker and Heath 1994) and in shrubs and hedges. It mainly feeds on the ground taking seeds and fruits of weeds and cereals, but also berries, fungi and invertebrates. It is strongly migratory (Baptista et al. 2015), wintering south of the Sahara from Senegal east to Eritrea and Ethiopia (Tucker and Heath 1994).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):5.3
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Transformation of agricultural land, including destruction of hedges, is thought to be an important factor in the decline of this species as well as the loss of semi-natural habitats. Changes in agricultural practices have several impacts on the species, as they can both reduce food supply and nesting habitat availability and it is likely that the decline in food is the main limiting factor rather than decline in nest site availability (Lutz 2006). Widespread use of chemical herbicides appears to also be a very serious factor, with a consequent decline or elimination of many food plants. Hunting is also significant during migration and in its wintering range; with an annual toll in France computed at c. 40,000 birds (Baptista et al. 2015). The species is also vulnerable to infection by the protozoan parasite Trichomonas gallinae, which causes mortality (Stockdale et al. 2014). Severe drought in the Sahel zone is thought to be a possible factor in the decline as well as competition with Eurasian Collared-dove Streptopelia decaocto (Lutz 2006). A loss of suitable autumn stopping sites (field crops and trees around oases) may also have contributed to its decline as well as a change in tree composition, increased disturbance and an increase in the number of Common Myna Acridotheres tristis in cities where European Turtle-dove nested in Central Asia (R. Kashkarov in litt. 2015).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation and Research Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II. EU Birds Directive Annex II. In the U.K. it is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and Schedule 1 of the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985. A management plan for the species was published in 2007 (Lutz 2007).
Conservation and Research Actions Proposed
Breeding and staging habitats should be managed to ensure favourable conditions for the species (Lutz 2006), including: ensuring the conservation and re-creation of hedges with hawthorn (Crataegus) which is a favoured tree for breeding and a reduction in the use of agricultural herbicides (Tucker and Heath 1994). Restrictions on hunting to avoid affecting late breeding birds and birds during spring migration should be introduced and enforced. Annual national bag statistics where hunting takes place must be collected in order to develop a level of hunting which is sustainable. Research and population monitoring should be continued (Lutz 2006), particularly in its non-European range where little information is currently available.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Streptopelia turtur. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22690419A93272209. . Downloaded on 26 April 2017.
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