turtle-dove defined in 1930 yearturtle-dove - Turtle-Dove;
turtle-dove - Head and nape ash tinged with wine-red; a space on the sides of the neck composed of black feathers tipped with white; neck and breast pale wine-red; back ash-brown; primaries dusky; secondaries bluish ash; scapulars and wing-coverts rust-red, with R, black spot in the centre of each feather; belly and under tail-coverts white; tail dusky, all but the two middle feathers tipped with white, the outer feather edged with white externally; iris yellowish red; feet red; bill brown. Length, eleven and a half inches.
The turtle-dove differs from other British doves in its much smaller size and in being a summer visitor to England. It arrives in the southern counties at the end of April, and ranges as far north as Westmorland and Cumberland; in the west of England, and in Wales and Ireland, it is a somewhat scarce bird. Like the wood-pigeon and the stock-dove, it is believed to be increasing its numbers. It inhabits woods and plantations, and being of a shy disposition, is not often noticed. In the autumn it may be seen in small companies, usually composed of a pair of old birds and their young; at other times it goes alone or with its mate. Its spring song is a cooing note, very soft and agreeable, and somewhat plaintive in sound. The nest is made at no great height, a large bush or a hedge being as often selected for a site as a tree. It is a slight structure of slender sticks and twigs laid crosswise, and the two eggs are creamy-white. Two broods are reared in the season.
In September the turtle-doves take their departure to their winter haunts in Africa.
A few specimens of the handsome and elegant passenger-pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius), a North American species, once excessively abundant in that continent, but now nearly extinct, have been obtained in this country.
Pallas's sand-grouse (Syrrhaptes paradoxus), a curious and handsome bird, related structurally to the pigeons, is also included in works on British birds. Its home is the steppes of Central Asia, but from time to time visitations of this species, sometimes in very large numbers, have occurred in Europe, extending to the British Islands. The last and largest visitation of this kind occurred in 1888.
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