(1868) Streptopelia turtur turtur.
Columba turtur Linn,, Syst. Nat,, 10th ed. i, p. 164 (1754) (England). Turtur communis. Blanf & Oates, iv. p. 42 (part.).
Vernacular names. Tarul-ghu (Turki).
Description. Bead from forehead to hind-neck ashy-grey; a patch of black feathers on either side of the base of the neck, each feather edged with white ; upper back pale brown but varying much in tone and with the grey of the neck sometimes encroaching between the scapulars ; lower back, rump and upper tail-coverts ashy-brown, in some cases more grey than in others, especially on the lower back and sides of the rump ; central tail-feathers brown, very narrowly tipped with white or fawn-white; remaining feathers slaty-black with a broad terminal band of white, this extending to the whole outer webs of the outermost pair; scapulars, lesser and inner median coverts and innermost secondaries brownish - chestnut or cinnamon, with bold black centres finely edged with grey; remaining coverts grey; quills brown narrowly edged with whitish and the outer secondaries more ashy on their bases; chin, sides of head and throat pale vinous, albescent on the chin but often more fulvous on the throat, changing to deep vinous on the breast and to white on the centre of the abdomen, vent and under tail-coverts; under wing-coverts, axillaries and flanks dark grey, under aspect of tail black with broad white terminal band.
Colours of soft parts. Iris orange, orange-red or orange-brown; eyelid reddish-brown, orbital skin purple-brown; bill greyish or slaty-black, the gape purple-red ; legs and feet purple or reddish-purple, the soles paler and claws horny-brown.
Measurements. Total length about 280 to 300 mm.; wing 165 to 184 mm.; tarsus about 17 to 19 mm.; culmen 16 to 17 mm.
Young birds are browner and duller, the neck-patches are obsolete and the black centres are less developed on the wing-coverts and absent on the scapulars.
Distribution. Europe, North Africa and Western Asia. A specimen obtained by Swinhoe in Quetta is inseparable from the European bird.
Nidification. The Turtle-Dove breeds from April to June, principally in May, laying two white eggs in a flimsy nest of sticks built in dense high hedges, trees or bushes. Jourdain gives the measurements of ninety-five eggs as follows:—Average 30.6 x 22.9 mm: maxima 33.4 X 23.8 and 31.6 x 24.8 mm.; minima 27.7 x 22.0 and 28.6 x 20.0 mm.
Habits. The Turtle-Dove is a migratory bird wandering far in Winter and possibly other specimens may be found in North-West India and Sind. It is a bird of the open country, feeding much on the ground, running well and with a strong quiet flight. It is, of course, exclusively vegetarian, feeding on seeds, grain, fruit and buds. Its note is a soft, low, rather rippling " coo."