A Beautiful Bird “Oriental Turtle Dove”

The oriental turtle dove or rufous turtle dove (Streptopelia orientalis) is a species usually found in Siberia and other parts of Eastern Asia. They are extremely rare vagabonds in North America. There have been numerous sightings in the western Aleutian Islands and on the islands in the Bering Sea west of the Alaska coastline. Population’s exhibit differences in plumage patterning and have been divided into six or more called subspecies. In the higher latitudes, people appear to migrate south in winter while those closer to the tropics are sedentary. These are almost definitely real vagabonds, wild birds that have entered those areas naturally from breeding locations in eastern Asia. Multiple sightings have also occurred on Vancouver Island in far southwestern Canada. The origin of those birds is also in question and will represent escaped cage birds. However, given the migratory nature of the Oriental Turtle-Dove and its tendency to sometimes wander removed from its normal range, the Vancouver sightings might also represent present, vagrant birds. The genus name Streptopelia is “dove” from the ancient Greek streptos, “collar” and peleia. The orientalis specific is for “eastern” Latin, in this case referring to the locality of origin, China. This species is native to Siberian taiga ecosystems and occurs on Vancouver Island by chance. It is also an off-the-cuff visitor to the western Aleutians et al within the Bering Sea. Southern populations are residents, but northern birds are migratory. Its preferred habitats include both deciduous and coniferous forests.

These are mainly found in forest areas throughout the summer breeding season. These same habitats can also be used in migration and in winter, but are also frequently used in open habitats, particularly in agricultural environments with available seeds and grains. They are often very well suited to a human presence and are commonly found in urban and suburban environments. It is a touch larger than that species, particularly within the case of orientalis, about the identical size as a collared dove.  It retains the striped black and white patch on the side of its neck made of silver-tipped feathers, but the breast is less pink, and the turtle dove’s orange-brown wing feathers are replaced with browner color, and darker centers offer a scaly look. The tail, like the turtle dove, is wedge-shaped. The flight is more comfortable and more straightforward than its relatives. They have a reputation for being a species that will have a negative impact on agricultural fields, especially rice and wheat, but also soybeans and other crops. They will also feed on herbs and forbs, and some plants will have fresh young shoots. An Oriental Turtle-Dove’s nest is a stick pad, lined with leaves and grasses, and set in a tree or shrub. The female lays 2 eggs. The male usually incubates the eggs during the day, while the female incubates them in the evening and at night. After around 2 weeks the eggs are hatching and both parents help feed and protect them. The young nest fledges after fifteen-eigh days; the breeding season is also elevated to multiple broods. The Oriental Turtle-Dove has a wide range, reaching up to 10,000,000 km2. On Hongdo Island, Korea, migratory doves were found to carry seeds of the exotic Achyranthes japonica attached to their plumage.