Oriental Turtle Dove

The Oriental turtle dove (Streptopelia orientalis) are found throughout Eurasia east to Japan. There are at least six subspecies. They inhabit the middle to low latitudes year round. Birds breeding in higher latitudes migrate south for the winter. Oriental turtle doves range from sub-alpine to urban environments and occupy a wide variety of habitats. These Oriental turtle doves were photographed in a small urban park in Sakaide Japan (Kagawa Province).

The plumage of male and female Oriental turtle doves is similar. The head, chest and belly are purplish, ashy brown. There is a patch of black and bluish-grey stripes on both sides of the throat. The wings have a scaly pattern of dark and reddish brown. The tail is black with a light grey tip and edges, the bill is charcoal grey, the legs are purplish red and the iris of Oriental turtle doves is orange.

Oriental turtle doves are monogamous and both the male and female work together to raise their young. The plate-shaped nest of twigs in a tree or bush is simple and “shoddy”. The clutch usually consists of two eggs, which the male incubates during the day and the female incubates at night. After 14 to 16 days the greyish with yellowish down chicks hatch. At first the nestlings are fed “pigeon milk”, a cottage-cheese like substance rich in protein, lipids and nutrients secreted from the crop of both males and females. After a few days grains and grass seeds are added to the nestlings’ diet. The chicks fledge after 14 to 17 days and continue to be fed by their parents for a period of time. Oriental turtle doves breed several times each year, depending on conditions such as weather and food supply.

It was pleasant to hear the soft cooing of these doves as they fed under the trees.

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2 Responses to Oriental Turtle Dove

  1. Lin Erickson says:

    Are these birds directly related to the Eurasian Doves we now have on our area?

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