A breeding pair of Oriental Turtle Dove has been documented in the Czech Republic following a decade of regular sightings in the south-east of the country.
Oriental Turtle Dove was first recorded near Nové Mlýny in 2012, with sightings becoming annual in the area since 2015. The majority of reported birds have been between October and March, when turtle doves are more likely to be scrutinsed as European Turtle Dove, a summer migrant, is absent.
Oriental Turtle Dove has been regularly seen in the Czech Republic since 2015 (Koshy Koshy via Flickr).
Any doubt as to whether or not the birds were of captive origin was settled quickly, with several of the birds bearing rings used by bird keepers.
To date, the largest recorded flock in the Nové Mlýny area involved around 30 doves.
The first recorded breeding attempt by Oriental Turtle Dove in the Czech Republic occurred in 2022, when a nest was discovered in a cherry plum shrub on the southern bank of a reservoir between Dolní Věstonice and Pavlov villages in early April.
By 14 April, there were two large chicks in the nest but a thorough examination on 26 April revealed only feathers from one or both of the nestlings, suggesting that the nest was predated.
The record was accepted by the Czech Rarities Committee under Category E, which holds sightings of birds of captive origin.
This breeding attempt, following sightings of large numbers of free-flying birds, raises the possibility that Oriental Turtle Dove could become a naturalised breeder in the Czech Republic. This might see it become yet another species to fulfill the criteria for Category C, which is for released or escaped species with self-sustaining wild populations, in Europe.
Oriental Turtle Dove is otherwise a rare vagrant to Europe, with wild birds breeding in the Western Palearctic only in the Urals.
Berka, P, & Horal, D. 2023. The Oriental Turtle Dove (Streptopelia orientalis) – a new breeding bird species for the Czech Republic. Crex 40: 203-210.