The Turtle dove measures 24-29 cm (9.4-11.4 in) in length, 47-55 cm (19-22 in) in wingspan and weighs 85-170 g. It may be recognised by its browner colour, and the black-and-white-striped patch on the side of its neck. The tail is notable as the bird flies from the observer; it is wedge shaped, with a dark centre and white borders and tips. When viewed from below, this pattern is a blackish chevron on a white ground. This can be seen when the bird stoops to drink and raises its spread tail. Adults have the head, neck, flanks, and rump blue grey, and the wings cinnamon, mottled with black. The breast is vinaceous, the abdomen and under tail coverts are white. The bill is black, the legs and eye rims are red.

Habitat and Distribution

The Turtle Dove is a migratory species with a southern Palearctic range, including Turkey and north Africa, although it is rare in northern Scandinavia and Russia. It winters in southern Africa. It is native to Africa, Asia, and Europe. It is a bird of open rather than dense woodlands.


They frequently feed on the ground.


Turtle doves occasionally nest in large gardens.

Calls and Songs

The arrival in spring is heralded by its purring song, a rather deep, vibrating ?turrr, turrr?.