A new bird for our garden list: Collared Turtle-dove
CORRECTION: I have asked various experts in these matters and it seems that the general opinion is that this bird is in fact a BARBARY DOVE.
It is not often these days that I am able to add a new bird to our garden bird list. We’ve been living here now for over 20 years and a new species added to the list is a notable event.
This morning while putting out the rubbish bin my attention was drawn to an unusual bird in the tree near the driveway. Immediately I thought it was a Spotted Turtle-dove. On closer inspection it was far lighter in colour than the resident Spotted Turtle-doves which are an introduced species here in Australia. The Spotted Turtle-doves frequently nest in our garden but are never present in large numbers – perhaps three or four at a time at most.
Something quite different
I left the rubbish bin in the driveway and raced inside for the binoculars. As I went I changed my mind and grabbed the digital camera. It was still there when I came out again, posing beautifully in full sunlight on a branch just above head height. Lovely. I realised instantly that this was something quite different. I immediately thought it was a Collared Turtle-dove (also called a Barbary Dove: UPDATE: I’m not sure if this is true; the sites I consulted are very confusing).
This species is not featured in Australian Field Guides as a resident species. It is present in a few suburbs in nearby Adelaide (80km to the west) and Alice Springs (central Australia) and I’ve read of a few small populations in parts of eastern Australia. Research on the internet has not been all that satisfying and somewhat confusing. This is because there seem to be a number of different common names used for this species, if I’m reading the information correctly. Some names I’ve some across include Collared Dove, Collared Turtle-dove, Barbary Dove, Ringed Dove and it looks somewhat like the African Collared Dove. To say I’m confused is an understatement. If any readers can clear up these issues I appreciate you using the comments below (or the contact email form here).
This bird seemed to be very tame. It sat patiently and quietly in the tree just above my head while I took the photos on this page. It was less than three metres away through much of this process. This indicates to me that it has escaped – or been released – from someone’s aviary. There are many bird keepers in our city with a very active bird club. To my knowledge this is the first time this species has been recorded in the wild here. I thought of catching it and putting it in a cage, but it was too high to reach. Within a half hour it had flown and I haven’t seen it again. I hope that it was a single bird; we don’t really want a breeding colony resident in the district.
A “lifer” for me
Not only was this a new bird for our garden list – and a species that may never be recorded here again – it was also a “lifer” meaning I’d never seen this species before in my life. It was not as exciting as adding any other species to my life list because it is an introduced species and something that should not be here. Add to that the fact that it has either escaped or been released from an aviary takes the gloss off seeing a new bird.
[Sigh] I’ll just have to get out more to add other species to my life list.
Click on the photos to enlarge the images.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL PHOTOS ON THIS ARTICLE SHOULD BE LABELLED “BARBARY DOVE”.