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Eurasian Collared Dove

(Streptopelia decaocto)
Banded October 12, 2000 - Lebanon, Indiana
Nest April 2002 - Lebanon, Indiana

General Information

The Eurasian Collared Dove, originally from Asia, is a new species in the USA. It was introduced to the Bahama Islands in 1975, spread to Florida, and is expanding its range across the USA. Populations are established in many eastern and midwestern states well into the Great Plains region. Nesting records and sightings are now being reported in Indiana. The birds shown here are part of a small breeding colony established in Lebanon, Indiana, about 20 miles NW of Indianapolis.

The scientific name, Streptopeleia decaocto, literally means a collar (streptos) dove (peleia). In Greek mythology, Decaocto was an overworked, underpaid servant girl. The gods heard her prayers for help and changed her into a dove so she could escape her misery. The dove’s call still echoes the mournful cries of her former life.

This species originates in Asia. They occur in the middle east, and are a summer visitor in Iran (Hollom et al. 1988). Throughout the 1900’s, and especially since 1930, these doves have expanded their range northwest into Europe and even occur above the Arctic Circle in Norway (Jonsson 1992, Ehrlich et al 1994).

These doves are usually resident, frequent villages and towns, and readily come to feeders for seed.

Keep an eye out for these birds as they can be expected to turn up more frequently around the midwest and beyond.
 

This dove is larger bodied than the native Mourning Dove, and has a distinctly different call, sounding like koo-kooo, koo with the accent on the second beat. The male often makes a display koo sounding like “mair”. Their mating display flight is similar to that of the Mourning Dove, but the JIZZ is different.

Eurasian Collared Dove
Figure 1- Eurasian Collared Dove

 

Eurasian Collared Dove
Figure 2 - Eurasian Collared Dove

 

This dove is pale buff above with a prominent black neck band. It is most often confused with the Ringed Turtle Dove where these two species occur together.

The squared off tail has a prominent black base. The outer half of the tail is pure white, but the central tail feathers are grayish.

Under tail
Figure 3 - Under tail pattern

 


Figure 4 - Upper Wing

 

The tri-colored wing pattern of this dove can be seen when in display or when landing. The primaries are blackish, the body grayish and the central wing whitish.

The upper tail is grayish, but the broad white outer band of the tail can be seen.

Upper Tail
Figure 5 - Upper Tail

 

Under tail Pattern - Landing
Figure 6 - Under tail Pattern - Landing

 

This is another view of the black and white tail pattern seen as this bird lands on a backyard feeder.

The Eurasian Collared Dove nest is located under the eve in the upper right corner of this house. These birds are reported to use ledges on houses, but only rarely. They usually build a flimsy platform nest of twigs in an evergreen or deciduous tree.


Figure 7 - Nest Location- 13 April, 2002

 


Figure 8 - Dove on nest

 

This close up image shows the dove sitting on the nest on the ledge of the building. The neck collar of the dove is visible.

This close up of the nest itself shows its location in the void space under the roof behind the rain gutter.


Figure 9 - Nest of Eurasian Collared Dove

 


Figure 10 - Egg of Eurasian Collared Dove

 

Using a mirror, it is possible to look into the nest to see the nest contents without disturbing or touching the nest. This egg was imaged on 13 April, 2002.

Nesting Behavior

Eurasian Collared Doves breed nearly year round in their native range. They build a flimsy twig nest in trees, on building ledges, and in thick bushes. Two sub-elliptical, smooth white eggs (30 x 23 mm) hatch in about 14 - 16 days. Young fledge in about 15 - 18 days and leave the nest area at about 21 days (Baicich and Harrison 1997). From 3 to 6 broods may be fledged in a breeding season.

Males and females in this colony in Lebanon, Indiana have been observed mating as late as October.

Banding Recoveries

According to the Bird Banding Lab web site, 1 Eurasian Collared Dove was banded prior to 2000 in North America. The bird pictured above, banded in October 2000, was still present in 2002. Banding studies show that these doves are for the most part resident birds.

Economic Benefit and Conservation

These doves experienced one of the most remarkable range changes in the 1900’s. Prior to the 1930’s, their range was restricted to southeastern Europe when suddenly, and for no apparent reason, they began to expand their range westward. They first bred in the UK in 1955, and now occur in such extremes as Iceland, Spain, and above the Arctic Circle in Norway (Ehrlich, et al. 1994).

In Georgia, where they are well established, these doves do not seem to have a detrimental impact on native species, and appear to occupy a niche in the well developed suburbs somewhere between the Rock Doves (Pigeons) in the city and the Mourning Doves in open country (Ray Chandler, Georgia Southern University, pers comm). They feed on agricultural grains, leaves, fruits and seeds.

As these birds expand their range in North America, it will be interesting to observe the impact of this introduced species on populations of native birds, and to learn what ecological/geographical barriers finally limit their range expansion.

North America has several open niches created when native species like the Passenger Pigeon, the Carolina Parakeet and other species went extinct. Perhaps this dove will utilize part of the niche left vacant with the passing of the Passenger Pigeon and other bird species.

References

Baicich, P. J. and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American Birds, 2nd ed. Academic Press, New York.

Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, D. Wheye, S. L. Pimm. 1994. The Birdwatcher’s Handbook. A guide to the natural history of the birds of Britain and Europe. Oxford University Press.

Flint, V. E., R. L. Boehme, Y. V. Kostin, A. A. Kuznetsov. 1984. A field guide to the Birds of the USSR. English Edition. Princeton University Press.

Hollom. P. A. D., R. F. Porter, S. Christensen, I. Willis. 1988. Birds of the Middle East and North Africa. Buteo Books.

Jonsson, L. 1992. Birds of Europe with North Africa and the Middle East. Princeton University Press.

Stokes, D. and L. Stokes. 1996. Stokes Field Guide to Birds. Eastern Region. Little, Brown and Co.

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