Turtledoves (Streptopelia turtur) are dainty birds that have extremely vast geographic scopes, which include Europe, Africa and Asia. The "turtur" element of the species' scientific name is derived from its vocalization, which sounds like "turr turr." This also applies to the "turtle" part of their common names. They are also frequently referred to by the slightly longer name of European turtle dove.
The plumage of turtledoves appears in a handful of different colors, which are reddish-brown, yellowish-white, gray, black, pink and white. Their limbs are red, pale brownish-pink or brown. Their mid-sized bills are either deep gray or black. Turtledoves generally reach lengths of between 10 and 11 inches. Habitat-wise, they tend to occupy hedgerows, outskirts of forests, parks and farming sites. They generally gravitate toward dry locales. Many members of the species are migratory. The typical turtledove menu consists of elements such as grains, weeds and seeds. They also sometimes eat bugs. Most eating activities occur on the floor of their habitats.
The incubation period for turtledoves typically lasts 13 or 14 days. Their clutches are generally made up of one to two white eggs, which are oval in shape. The mother and the father equally distribute incubation responsibilities -- and that applies also to feeding of the youngsters later on. The mothers are generally in charge of nighttime incubation, while the fathers take over in the daytime. Initial breeding occurs when turtledoves reach approximately 12 months in age. The reproductive season begins in May and ends in July each year.
Turtledoves construct the framework of their nests using tiny twigs. They also employ foliage, stems and roots in completing them. Their nests are usually situated either in hedges, shrubs or trees.
Breeding in the turtledove species often takes place all over Europe, from the British Isles to southern portions of the continent. They also breed in northern Africa and the western region of Asia. Turtledoves typically leave these regions at the beginning of the autumn to spend the wintertime in warmer Africa, specifically the areas below the Sahara Desert.
David De Lossy/Valueline/Getty Images