Turtle Dove – 2018

Streptopelia turturTurturPassage migrant, has bred.

In Britain (and elsewhere across its range) the Turtle Dove has undergone a severe decline since the late 1970s. As a nesting species, it was last noted as probably breeding in Pembrokeshire in the BTO 1968-72 Atlas. In Wales as a whole, there were occasional breeding records until 2011, but none since then.

The species is strongly migratory through most of its range, with most birds wintering in the Sahel area south of the Sahara in Africa (HBW).  The BTO Migration Atlas 2002 indicates that birds breeding in England move SSW through France and Iberia in autumn, mainly as nocturnal migrants.  A few birds ringed on passage on the Welsh islands have been recovered in Ireland, France and Spain.

It is now recorded in Pembrokeshire only as a passage migrant, in small numbers. The majority of records come from Skokholm and Skomer.

The main period of spring passage is from mid-April to mid-June (weeks 17 to 25) with the odd bird popping up during the summer. Autumn passage is generally from mid-August to the end of September (weeks 34 to 41), though again stragglers are noted into November in some years. The data in the graph comes from Birdtrack, and is incomplete in that it does not include records sent only to the county recorder.

Winter records are rare, but one bird was seen near Strumble Head on 31 December 2010 and 1 January 2011. Another overwintered from 19 January to 14 May 2013, visiting various gardens in St Davids during that period.

Annie Haycock (BBS & WeBS local organiser)


BALMER D, GILLINGS S, CAFFREY B, SWANN B, DOWNIE I, FULLER R. 2014. Bird Atlas 2007-11: The Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland.  HarperCollins.  UK

HBW – Handbook of the Birds of the World

LOVEGROVE R, WILLIAMS G, WILLIAMS I. 1994.  Birds in Wales. T & A. D. Poyser, London

Pembrokeshire Bird Reports

WERNHAM. C, TOMS. M, MARCHANT. J, CLARK. J, SIRIWARDENA. G, BAILLIE. S. 2002. The Migration Atlas, Movements of the birds of Britain and Ireland, T & A. D. Poyser, London

More about the Turtle Dove in Pembrokeshire