Saturday, June 3

Red turtle dove

   ›      ›   Red turtle dove - Streptopelia tranquebarica

The red turtle dove (Streptopelia tranquebarica) belongs to the family of doves and pigeons, Columbidae.

The red turtle dove species are distributed in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Indonesia and Philippines. These turtle dove species are sexually dimorphic. There are two recognized subspecies of these doves.

Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Red Turtle Dove Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Red turtle dove - Overview

  • Scientific name: Streptopelia tranquebarica
  • Species author: (Hermann, 1804)
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Columba tranquebarica Hermann, 1804
  • Family: Columbidae › Columbiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Red turtle dove, Chinese: 火斑鸠, French: Tourterelle à tête grise, German: Zwerglachtaube, Spanish: Tórtola cabecigrís, Russian: Короткохвостая горлица, Japanese: ベニバト, Indonesian: Burung Dederuk Merah
  • Other names: Red Collared-dove, Dwarf Turtle Dove
  • Distribution: Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Philippines
  • Diet and feeding habits: wild seeds, buds, leaves, herbs, grains, cereals
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)
The red turtle dove (Streptopelia tranquebarica) is closely related to the Eurasian collared dove (Streptopelia decaocto) and the island collared dove (Streptopelia bitorquata).

The two recognized subspecies of the red turtle dove (Streptopelia tranquebarica) are: Streptopelia tranquebarica tranquebarica (Hermann, 1804) and Streptopelia tranquebarica humilis (Temminck, 1824).

Appearance, physical description and identification

The red turtle dove (Streptopelia tranquebarica) is a small dove, measuring 20 to 25 cm in length and weighing 100 to 105 grams. These birds have sexually dimorphic plumage.

In the male red turtle dove, the head, forehead, nape and ear-coverts are pale bluish gray. There is a broad black collar around the hind neck which is broken at the front. The chin is whitish gray and the throat is pale pink.

The mantle and wing-coverts are vinous red. The primary coverts and flight feathers are blackish brown. The back and the uppertail coverts are dark bluish gray. The breast and belly are red wine colored. The undertail is white and the underwing is pale gray.

The female red turtle dove has earth-brown upperparts and pale gray forehead. The back and rump are gray. The flight feathers are dark brown. The chin and throat region is pale grayish buff. The breast and belly region is grayish brown. The juveniles look like females but lack the black collar.

In both the sexes, the irises are brownish black. The orbital skin is grayish. The bill is black with grayish base. The feet are dark red. The turtle dove call is a rattling, repeated "croo-urr-oo-croo" sound.
Indian birds - Picture of Red turtle dove - Streptopelia tranquebarica
Birds of India - Image of Red turtle dove - Streptopelia tranquebarica by 孫鋒 林

Birds of India - Photo of Red turtle dove - Streptopelia tranquebarica
Indian birds - Picture of Red turtle dove - Streptopelia tranquebarica by Alnus

Indian birds - Image of Red turtle dove - Streptopelia tranquebarica
Birds of India - Photo of Red turtle dove - Streptopelia tranquebarica by Lip Kee

Origin, geographical range and distribution

These red turtle dove species are distributed in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Indonesia and Philippines.

Unconfirmed reports of red turtle dove sightings were recorded from United Arab Emirates. Vagrant populations are observed in Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, South Korea, Oman and Russia. Introduced populations occur in Singapore and Malaysia.

In India, these red turtle dove species are distributed in all the states and also Andaman Islands.

The red turtle dove nominate subspecies S. t. tranquebarica is distributed in Pakistan, throughout India (except northeast) and west Nepal.

The turtle dove subspecies S. t. humilis is distributed in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, northeast India, Andaman Islands, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Indonesia and Philippines.

Ecosystem and habitat

These red turtle dove species have moderate forest dependence. These species occur in altitudes from 0 to 1300 meters. Unlike other dove species, these birds have not colonized urban and suburban areas.

The natural ecosystems of these species include tropical and subtropical moist lowland forests, dry woodlands, tropical and subtropical dry forests, scrub jungles, tropical and subtropical dry shrublands, open country with trees and dry savanna.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of these red turtle dove species is mostly seeds. Wild seeds, buds, tender leaves, grains and cereals are their primary food. They seem to feed exclusively on the ground in open country.

They glean grains and cereals from crops in agricultural fields. They feed mainly in the morning and evening, resting during the hotter part of the day.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these red turtle dove species is during the summer (April to September) in their northern range. The breeding season of the birds in the southern range depends upon availability of abundant food.

The red turtle dove nest is a scant platform of intertwined sticks and twigs. The nest is built high in a tree or shrub and located at the end of a leafy branch.

The typical dove clutch has 2 creamy white eggs. Both of the pair are involved in nest building, incubation and taking care of the young. The young are initially feed with 'crop milk' by the parents.

Migration and movement patterns

The red turtle dove species are partially migratory birds.

Summer breeding populations of these dove species are found in west Punjab (India) and Pakistan. These populations migrate southwards for wintering. The populations of these dove species in rest of the range are resident birds.

Post breeding, the juveniles may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding within their range.

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the red turtle dove (Streptopelia tranquebarica) has not been quantified. The overall population trend of these species is reported to be stable. Throughout its range it is reported to be common to abundant. The generation length is 5.3 years. Its distribution size is about 19,000,000 sq.km.

The red turtle dove (Streptopelia tranquebarica) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable, either under the range size criterion, or under the population trend criterion, or under the population size criterion. The ongoing habitat destruction, hunting and trapping for pet trade are the main threats that may endanger the survival of these dove species.

IUCN and CITES status

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the dove species and has listed it as of "Least Concern". The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the red turtle dove (Streptopelia tranquebarica).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Streptopelia tranquebarica
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Columbiformes
Family:Columbidae
Subfamily:-
Genus:Streptopelia
Species:S. tranquebarica
Binomial name:Streptopelia tranquebarica
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
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1.Red turtle dove image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/outdoor_birding/16763565140/ (cropped)
Image author: 孫鋒 林 | License: CC BY-SA 2.0 as on 6/3/17
2.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Red_Turtle_Dove_1737_(cropped).jpg (cropped)
Image author: Alnus | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
3.Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Streptopelia_tranquebarica.jpg (cropped)
Image author: Lip Kee | License: CC BY-SA 2.0 as on 6/3/17
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