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Expansion of the Eurasian Collared-Dove

Expansion of the
Eurasian Collared-Dove
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A new bird has landed on the continent, and it might be coming to your neighborhood soon. Birdwatchers in Florida and other parts of the Southeast may already be familiar with the Eurasian Collared-Dove, but the rest of us ought to be on the lookout as well.

The story of the Eurasian Collared-Dove is captivating. A century ago, this species was found primarily on the Indian subcontinent, although its range extended slightly in Europe, in Turkey. In the early 1900s, however, the species began expanding its range significantly and by 1950 had reached the British Isles. Today, collared-doves are living above the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia.

Eurasian Collared-Doves were introduced into the Bahamas in the 1970s, and their populations soon expanded around these islands. What happened next was unclear. At some point in the 1980s, Eurasian Collared-Doves migrated, without assistance, from the Bahamas to Florida. And because they look much like the Ringed Turtle-Dove (below), the collared-doves started to spread unnoticed. It wasn't until the mid-1980s that ornithologists realized the suddenly prolific and quickly spreading "turtle-doves" they were watching were actually Eurasian Collared-Doves.

Citizen Science projects such as Project FeederWatch and the Christmas Bird Count provide the unique opportunity to monitor the invasion of a new bird species, such as the Eurasian Collared-Dove from its inception.   Furthermore, with nearly 100 years of Christmas Bird Counts accessible in a relational database, we have an unprecedented ability to investigate long-term changes in bird populations. - Wesley M. Hochachka

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The animated map includes sightings of Eurasian Collared-Dove
during Christmas Bird Counts.

The green dots on the map indicate where Eurasian Collared-Doves  were observed. The size of the dot indicates the number observed.

Distinguishing the Eurasian Collared-Dove from the Ringed Turtle-Dove
-John Schmitt

The recently introduced and rapidly increasing Eurasian Collared-Dove will most likely be confused with the very similar Ringed Turtle-Dove which is a popular cagebird often encountered in the wild as an escaped or released bird. Their respective songs are quite different: the collared-dove's song is a coarse rapidly delivered three-part cooing which contrasts with the hollow rolling two-part cooing of the Ringed Turtle-Dove.

In addition their vocal differences a few external traits are illustrated here that will aid in distinguishing between these two doves.

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Eurasian Collared-Dove (left)
Note gray belly and undertail coverts with more black visible on tail.
Ringed Turtle-Dove (right)
Note white belly and undertail coverts with less black visible on tail.
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The Eurasian Collared Dove is distinctly larger than the Ringed Turtle-Dove.

Eurasian Collared-Dove (top)
Note pale gray patches and dark primary flight feathers.



Ringed Turtle-Dove (bottom)
Note plain pale brown and gray upperparts.

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