Streptopelia Bonaparte. Consp. Gen. Av., ii, p. 63 (1854).
Type, Columba risoria Linn. = S. decaocta Frivalsky.
In general appearance the birds of this genus may be known by their small size, comparatively small head and slender neck, weak narrow bill and by their comparatively long narrow wing, of which the second and the third primaries are the longest; the tail exceeds two-thirds the length of the wing but is never longer and is considerably graduated; the toes and tarsi are formed for walking, the former being narrow and the latter strong though short.
The sexes are alike in plumage and all the species are of grey or brown colour with a dense collar or patch of pied feathers on the neck.
Some forms are resident, others migratory.
Since 1908, when ' Indian Pigeons and Doves' was written, a considerable advance has been made in our knowledge of this group and the separation of species and subspecies then made has to be greatly modified. I now recognize five species, which are all divided into several races.
Key to Species.
A.A patch of black feathers on either side of the neck, divided on the nape.
A.Tips to feathers of neck-patch white ……………S. turtur, p. 236.
B.Tips to feathers of neck-patch grey...............S. orientalis, p. 238.
B.A collar of black feathers on the bach of the neck, each feather ending in a double
white spot...............S. chinensis, p. 241.
C. A collar of black feathers, with rufous tips round front of the neck..............S. senegalensis, p. 245.
D.A collar of plain black feathers round back of the neck...............S. decaocto, p. 247.