Turtle dove in a sunflower crop, Andalucía, Spain - Vincent Esteller

Big step in progress with ending unsustainable hunting of turtle doves

The RSPB’s Carles Carboneras and Guy Anderson report on a major development with turtle dove hunting in Spain.

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Photo: Identifying different plant species in the sown plots. Credit: Jos Ashpole

Crossing borders to learn more about turtle doves

Jos Ashpole from the RSPB reflects on a growing partnership for turtle doves between the UK and the Netherlands.

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Photo: One of the birds caught at a farm near Tollesbury in Essex. Credit: Chris Orsman.

Autumnal journeys of turtle doves

Dr John Mallord from the RSPB’s Centre for Conservation Science has been tracking turtle doves over the last few years to learn more about their migratory journeys. Here he describes the journeys the birds made on their southbound autumnal migration in 2019.

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Photo: Suitable nesting habitat for turtle doves in England. They need open ground for feeding on seeds and thick, dense scrub and hedgerows for nesting. Credit: Tony Morris.

Managing land for turtle doves

Turtle doves are now making their long southward journeys to sub-Saharan Africa to spend the winter months. They may only have just left. But it’s not too early to start thinking about the things we can all do to provide them with feeding, nesting and drinking sites when they return next spring.

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Turtle doves (Streptopelia turtur) are in trouble; they are vulnerable to global extinction (IUCN Red List of Endangered Species). They have suffered a 94% UK population decline since 1995 and a 78% decline across Europe since 1980. At this current rate of change if we don’t help this species scientists calculate that complete UK extinction as a breeding species will be a real possibility.

Operation Turtle Dove has an important and urgent mission to reverse the fortunes of this enigmatic and culturally significant bird. Please help us to save them.

Blog: Turtle Dove Talk

Operation Turtle Dove Christmas 2021 Blog

December 23, 2021
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Big step in progress with ending unsustainable hunting of turtle doves

June 30, 2021
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How can I help turtle doves on my land?

Providing habitat is a vital component of turtle dove conservation. If you farm or manage land, there are a number of ways in which you can help support the species and benefit your rural business while doing so. Options can include:

How to see a turtle dove

Turtle doves are in the UK – predominantly the east and south east of England -from April to September every year. Here are some ways you can get involved:

Ways you can help


Your shopping choices can help give turtle doves a home

Create habitat

You can provide turtle doves with habitat they need on your farm or in your garden

Log a sighting

Seen a turtle dove? Log your sighting on Birdtrack


Your donation will help us to save this iconic bird from extinction in the UK