The turtle dove or Steptopelia turtur is a member of the dove family and is a migratory species. Adults reach a body length of 27-29 cm and weigh 99-170 g. The plumage is grey and the back and wings are brown, with black spots and patterns.
Breeds in Europe, Asia Minor, India, North Africa and the Canary Islands. In Bulgaria it is most abundant in the lowland parts of the country - deciduous forests, parks, fruit forests and fields. It is one of those hunting birds that prefer the periphery of forests. And in autumn it likes to be near sunflower fields, where the birds feed well to prepare for the autumn migration.
Reproduction of turtle dove
The turtle dove starts nesting in April or early May. It chooses lower trees or tall shrubs. There it builds a nest made of sticks. Quite often it uses the already made nests of songbirds - the grape and the red-backed magpie. The nesting period of the turtle dove is from the second half of April to the end of July. The number of eggs in the nest is at least two, with both parents incubating them for 13-14 days. As the chicks leave the nest on days 16-18, this allows the pair of turtle doves to raise two offspring.
The main food of the turtle dove is the seeds of oil plants such as sunflower and hemp. It also feeds on snails and insects.
The turtle dove is a prey for a number of predators - the golden eagle, the owl, the common buzzard, small and large hawks, and ground predators.
The hunting season is from 15 August to 30 October.