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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 (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): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
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: 2017
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., Dunn, J. & Morris, T.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Wright, L, Pople, R., Burfield, I., Ashpole, J, Ieronymidou, C., Wheatley, H., Westrip, J., Martin, R
Justification:
This species is listed as Vulnerable. It has undergone rapid declines in much of its European range whilst in Russia and Central Asia it is thought to have experienced further 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 routes.
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). It has undergone large range declines in NW Europe, including the Netherlands and UK (e.g. Balmer et al. 2013), and the population continues to decrease throughout Europe (BirdLife International 2015).
Countries occurrence:
Native:
Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Andorra; Armenia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Belarus; Belgium; Benin; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; China; Côte d'Ivoire; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Egypt; Eritrea; Estonia; Ethiopia; Finland; France; 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 (Central Asian Russia, European Russia); Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; South Sudan; Spain; Sudan; Sweden; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Tajikistan; Togo; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; Uzbekistan; Western Sahara; Yemen
Vagrant:
Botswana; Cape Verde; Comoros; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Djibouti; Faroe Islands; Gabon; Iceland; Kenya; Liberia; Maldives; Namibia; Norway; Pakistan; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Somalia; 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), frequently relying on agricultural land for feeding (Tucker and Heath 1994). It may use hedges, borders of forest, groves, spinneys, coppices, young tree plantations, scrubby wasteland, woody marshes, scrub and garigue (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 April and can last until September (J. Dunn in litt. 2016). It lays one to two eggs (Baptista et al. 2015, J. Dunn in litt. 2016). 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. A study in Morocco found that laying period can influence fledging success with earlier nest producing more fledglings and within agricultural land nests in olive orchards produced more fledglings than orange orchards (Hanane 2016). It mainly feeds on the ground taking seeds and fruits of weeds and cereals, but rarely 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) where survival is strongly linked to cereal production (Eraud et al. 2009).
Systems:Terrestrial
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 and areas of scrub (J. Dunn in litt. 2016), 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, Dunn and Morris 2012). Widespread use of chemical herbicides appears to also be a very serious factor, with a consequent decline or elimination of many food plants and an increased reliance upon cultivated grain (Browne and Aebischer 2003b). Hunting is also significant during migration and in its wintering range; with a legal annual estimate in France computed at c. 40,000 birds (Baptista et al. 2015). Each spring, hunters in Malta kill the equivalent of between 2.4% and 4.4% of Europe’s turtle-dove population (Caruana-Galizia and Fenech, 2016), whilst there is believed to be an annual illegal hunting take of 0.6 million individuals across 27 Mediterranean countries (Brochet et al. 2016). The species is also vulnerable to infection by the protozoan parasite Trichomonas gallinae (Lennon et al. 2013) which can cause mortality (Stockdale et al. 2015). Severe drought in the Sahel zone is thought to be a possible factor in the decline (Eraud et al. 2009) 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 has been published (Lutz 2006). National-scale awareness, conservation and research programmes are now underway in some countries, e.g. Operation Turtle Dove in UK. In England, conservation actions, via a bespoke turtle dove species package in agri-environment schemes, are targeted at areas with recent turtle dove records (J. Dunn in litt. 2016).

 
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). Arable land under agri-environment measures can be managed to provide seed-rich foraging habitat (Dunn et al. 2015), which can be beneficial for post-fledging survival when located near to suitable nesting habitat (Dunn et al. 2016). 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), and extended into its non-European and eastern European range where little information is currently available (J. Dunn in litt. 2016). Workshops to plan coordinated conservation and research across flyways have been planned (T. Morris in litt. 2016).

Amended [top]

Amended reason: Edited Countries of Occurrence list (including seasonality); Geographic Range, Rationale, Threats, Conservation Actions (with consequent alterations to Actions in Place) and Habitats and Ecology Information text. Altered the importance of habitat types, and added new references, new Contributors and a new Facilitator/Compiler.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2017. Streptopelia turtur. (amended version published in 2016) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22690419A110502346. . Downloaded on 22 October 2017.
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