Profile of a turtle dove

Turtle dove

Turtle doves often crop up in verse as symbols of devoted love, though feeding your chicks on regurgitated food doesn't carry quite such an air of romance! In spite of their place in poetic tradition, turtle doves are shot in huge numbers during their long migration between Europe and Africa. Their common name is taken from their gentle, purring song and has nothing to do with reptiles. The 'turr turr' call is one of the UK's most evocative summer sounds, but is becoming frighteningly rare.

Scientific name: Streptopelia turtur

Rank: Species

Common names:

European turtle dove

Watch video clips from past programmes (1 clip)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.


The Turtle dove can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, China, Europe, Mediterranean, Russia, United Kingdom, Wales. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Turtle dove distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Birds
  5. Columbiformes
  6. Pigeons and doves
  7. Turtle doves
  8. Turtle dove

Video collections

Take a trip through the natural world with our themed collections of video clips from the natural history archive.

  • Garden birds Garden birds

    Nestcam close-ups, expert identification guides and specialist wildlife cameras give a privileged view of a very British obsession: garden birds.

Elsewhere on the BBC