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Species Guide
A photo of a Oriental Turtle Dove (Streptopelia orientalis)
Oriental Turtle Dove

Oriental Turtle Dove

Streptopelia orientalis

The Oriental turtle dove, or rufous turtle dove (Streptopelia orientalis), is a charming member of the Columbidae family. Exhibiting geographical variations in plumage, this species is recognized by at least six subspecies. It is slightly larger than the European turtle dove, with a robust build and a wedge-shaped tail. The bird's neck features a distinctive black and white striped patch, and its wings possess a brown hue with darker centers, giving a scaly appearance.

Identification Tips

To identify the Oriental turtle dove, look for the absence of a bare patch of skin around the eyes, which is present in the European turtle dove. The subspecies vary in tail patterns, with some having grey tips and others white. The bird's flight is more relaxed and direct compared to its European relative.


The Oriental turtle dove thrives in well-wooded yet open habitats during breeding season and prefers more open spaces with ample tree cover in winter.


This species boasts a wide native range from Central Asia to Japan. Northern subspecies migrate south in winter, while tropical populations are sedentary. Vagrants have been recorded in North America and occasionally in northern and western Europe.


The Oriental turtle dove is known for its ground foraging habits, predominantly feeding on seeds. It exhibits a unique aerial display during the breeding season, with the male flapping its wings noisily and ascending before gliding down gracefully.

Song & Calls

The call of the Oriental turtle dove is a distinctive four-syllable "her-her-oo-oo," varying significantly among populations.


Breeding seasons vary with location, occurring in summer in temperate zones and winter in southern India. The species constructs substantial nests in trees, with males gathering materials and females arranging them. Both parents incubate the eggs and feed the altricial chicks with crop milk.

Similar Species

The Oriental turtle dove can be confused with the European turtle dove and the eastern edge populations of Streptopelia turtur, but differences in eye patches and tail patterns aid in differentiation.

Diet and Feeding

Granivorous by nature, the Oriental turtle dove consumes seeds of various plants and occasionally gastropods.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List classifies the Oriental turtle dove as Least Concern, indicating a stable population without significant threats.

Oriental Turtle Dove Sounds

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