European Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur (Linnaeus, 1758)

Order: Columbiformes Family: Columbidae Status: Vagrant to Madeira

European Turtle Dove Field ID Keys

Shape & Size

Medium-size dove.

Colour Pattern

European Turtle Dove has Rufous-brown upperparts with dark spots, pale greyish head, whitish belly, pinkish chest and a neck patch of black and white stripes. When flying it is visible its blue-grey mid-wings and rump and its blackish tail with a narrow white terminal band. Its feet are reddish.


It has a fast, agile and direct flight.


This is a relatively common bird all around central and South Europe though numbers are declining. It normally lives around forest edge, open woodland, cultivated or in some town parks.

Distinction from similar species

Turtle Dove might have some similarity with Eurasian Collared Dove though the latter is a bit bigger, with longer tail and paler colours at the back.

Streptopelia turtur Biometrics

Wingspan: 47 - 53 cm (Beaman & Madge, 2011)
Total length: 26 - 28 cm (Beaman & Madge, 2011)
Weight: 130 - 180 g (Hume, 2002)

Other Bird Facts

Seasonality in Madeira: All year but rarely seen
Breeding: In Madeira its breeding was confirmed in 1990 in Quinta da Vista Alegre in São Martinho, near the hotel area of Funchal (Zino, 1991).
Diet: It takes seeds and shoots from the ground of arable weeds


Madeira local status by Correia-Fagundes et al, 2021: Occasional
Madeira local status by Romano et al, 2010: Rare breeding bird
Madeira local status by Zino et al, 1995: Rare breeding bird
Conservation status by the IUCN Red List Categories, 2013: Least Concern ver 3.1

Author’s comments
Nowadays Turtle Doves are rarely seen in Madeira and it may well be extinct as a breeding bird though it was still considered a breeding species in Romano et all 2010 checklist.

Name of this species in other languages

Portuguese: Rola brava, Rola comum
German: Turteltaube
Dutch: Zomertortel
Swedish: Turturduva
Danish: Turteldue
Finish: Turturikyyhky
Norwegian: Turteldue
Spanish: Tórtola Europea
French: Tourterelle des bois
Italian: Tortora europea
Polish: Turkawka
Slovak: Hrdlička poľná
Czech: Hrdlička divoká

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