Spotted Turtle-dove

The Spotted Turtle-dove (Streptopelia chinensis) is a feral species, introduced to Australian from southern Asia in 1870s, and to Adelaide in 1881.

It is a grey-brown bird with a pale grey head, pale pinkish-brown breast and pink legs. The most distinguishing feature is its black neck patch with white spots in mature birds, and in flight it white-tipped lateral tail feathers. It has a characteristic display flight where the male flies up steeply then glides down to a perch.

The Spotted Turtle-dove's habitat is mainly suburban parks and gardens, farms and plantations, and is rarely seen in natural bush. It is very common in and near settlement but is now spreading to country towns. Unfortunately in places, this dove seems to be competing and replacing our native doves, the bar-shouldered and peaceful doves. The Spotted Turtle-dove feeds on the ground on seeds of plants and weeds, and any available grains, wheat and animal feed.

It breeds in all months of the year, but mainly in September to January, in the southern regions. The nest is a scanty platform of twigs 1 to 1.5m high in a shrub, low tree or on building ledges. There are usually two eggs.

Spotted Turtle-doves are commonly seen at the Urrbrae Wetlands, especially on the islands. There have been records of nesting.