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BTO Blueline
Streptopelia turtur
Turtle Dove © Mike Weston

• Population

• Productivity

• Additional

Conservation listings
Europe: SPEC category 3 (declining)
UK: red (>50% population decline)
UK Biodiversity Action Plan: click here, priority species
Long-term trend
UK, England: rapid decline
UK population size
44,000 territories in 2000 (1988–91 Atlas estimate updated using CBC/BBS trend: BiE04, APEP06)
Status summary
The CBC/BBS trend is of severe declines in Turtle Dove abundance, beginning in the late 1970s and continuing to the present. Hunting during migration is a possible cause of the UK decline, to add to those related to agricultural intensification that have been postulated for other farmland seed-eaters (O'Connor & Shrubb 1986, Krebs et al. 1999). Analysis of nest record cards and ringing data for farmland Turtle Doves suggests, although without statistical significance, that productivity per nesting attempt has increased while annual survival has fallen (Siriwardena et al. 2000a, 2000b, Browne et al. 2005). Browne & Aebischer (2004, 2005) conclude that Turtle Doves today have a substantially earlier close to the breeding season and consequently produce barely half the number of clutches and young per pair they did in the 1960s. Thus, the recovery of Turtle Doves in Britain would benefit from the provision and sympathetic management of nesting as well as foraging habitats. Turtle Dove is one of the most strongly declining bird species in Europe (PECBMS 2010). Conditions in winter may also be influencing trends: a recent study has demonstrated a positive correlation between survival rate among breeding adults in France and food supply in West Africa, as measured by cereal production (Eraud et al. 2009).
CBC/BBS UK graph

1967-2008: -89% (confidence interval -93% to -83%)

Population changes in detail
Demographic trends
Additional information

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This report should be cited as: Baillie, S.R., Marchant, J.H., Leech, D.I., Renwick, A.R., Joys, A.C., Noble, D.G., Barimore, C., Conway, G.J., Downie, I.S., Risely, K. & Robinson, R.A. (2010). Breeding Birds in the Wider Countryside: their conservation status 2010. BTO Research Report No. 565. BTO, Thetford. (http://www.bto.org/birdtrends)

Pages maintained by Iain Downie, Mandy T Andrews and Laura Smith: Last updated 04.10.2010