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Turtle dove

Turtle dove

Long-distance migrant, wintering in sub-Saharan Africa

Status

  • Principal Biodiversity Species in Wales

  • The Population Status of Birds in Wales:

Red-listed14, 15

Population trend and distribution

In Wales turtle doves are at the north- western edge of their Eurasian breeding range. Welsh numbers and range have declined dramatically, and they are on the verge of extinction. Recent breeding records have been confined to small areas in the south-east and north-east, eg 4–7 singing males were recorded in Gwent in 2005, but none recorded in 2006 or 2007. A small but declining breeding population still exists across the border around the Forest of Dean.

Species requirements

Habitat: in Wales thicket-stage conifer plantations with a mosaic of clearfells,

other open forest clearings, and broadleaved scrub adjacent to seed-rich foraging areas, eg cereal field margins are favoured areas.

Nesting: the nest is located in densely structured trees, scrub, or well-grown dense hedges, eg 4 m+ in height, often with climbers such as honeysuckle or traveller’s joy. Nests are usually located about 2 m above ground but can range from just above ground level up to 20 m high.

Breeding season:

Mar Apr May

June

July

Aug

Sept

Feeding: turtle doves feed principally on seeds and grain, favoured species include fumitory, cereals and oilseed rape. Earthworm cocoons, insects and small snails are occasionally taken. Foraging occurs on the ground, and occasionally among climbing plants. Typical foraging habitat includes weedy open ground, eg weedy margins of cereal fields, weedy tracksides.

14 Rapid (<50%) decline in breeding population and range. 15 Preliminary assessment for 2008 revision of The Population Status of Birds in Wales: Red-listed.

61

Ernie Janes/rspb-images.com

Figure 22 Key areas for turtle dove in Wales.

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