Dove Streptopelia turtur at Llobregat delta, October 2005.
Pitfall for Oriental Turtle Dove S.orientalis meena
text by Ricard Gutiérrez
On 15.10 afternoon
(15-15:30 hours), a 1st winter dove first identified as Rufous Turle Dove
S.orientalis meena was seen at 15 m distance merged in a flock of
Collared Doves S.decaocto at Camí del Prat, Viladecans, Llobregat
delta, Barcelona (Albert Burgas). A search conducted at the same place
(coordinates UTM 31 T 041926, 4574019 -datum WGS84-) and nearby, from 18
hours till dusk gave no results (Ricard Gutiérrez). This was, if
accepted, the 3rd record for Spain. On 16.10 it was relocated at 871 m
distance in another place, Can Dimoni lagoon, Sant Boi de Llobregat (31T
0420403, 4573657 -datum WSG84-), and it was confirmed as a juv/1st winter
bird (Ricard Gutiérrez , Marcel Gil). It proved elusive although
it was associated to local Collared Doves too. It was later seen by other
authors (Rafael Armada; Sergi Sales; José Luis Copete, Moisés
Moreno, Xavier Escobar) that confirmed ageing (1st winter). All observers
believed it was a meena Oriental Turtle Dove despite brief sightings,
according to differences with local Turtle Doves we were used to see and
that had left the area two months before. On 17.10 midday it was relocated
again at the same place at Can Dimoni, sunning perched on a bank of the
area (Ricard Gutiérrez). However, when photos were examined some
Here are the
photos of the bird. Once the photos were examined,some doubts particularly
regarding the primary coverts pattern arised. Besides, some comments to
the observers from French and Finnish authors pointed other wrong aspects
such as eye-ring pattern or head colour.
This was, therefore,
a very different Turtle Dove from those we are used to see in Spain. Were
it did come from?
of juvenile meena and telling from turtur is considered very
difficult from the literature. Besides, study of the different material
available in the literature proves a lot of individual variation. The Llobregat
Delta area holds populations of turtur which had left for Africa
already in August 2005. This bird was structurally bulkier and marginally
broader winged than local turtur, looking heavier. Major eye-catching
points were blue rump area, wing pattern and undertail-vent white areas.
Note also rufous tones to all wing-feather edges.
The bird was a juvenile, lacking
any collar, but careful examination shows two moulted Lesser Coverts, so
a bird moulting to 1st winter would be more accurate. Although centres
of coverts showed dark round areas, not shafts as in regular turtur,
the brownish tips you can see in primary coverts point towards Streptopelia
turtur. . Pattern of tertials though seem to be well within meena
range, especially for the rufous ground colour and extent to inner
web, despite a bit of the shaft can be noted in some photos that would
again be enought to label as turtur the bird according to Finnish
experts. Throat is here visibly whiter than breast.
clearly rufous with dark centres. Note bluish rump and pale edges to primaries
and secondaries (greyish). But head looks paler than mantle, another turtur
Compared with 'our' turtur
this bird looked bulkier, bluish rumped and more rufous toned. Edges
to primaries were clear-cut.
Extent of the eye-ring was smaller
to us compared to what we see in turtur. Note rounded centres to
lesser and median coverts.At least a couple or three lesser coverts seem
to be adult-type, with even darker centres.
The extent of rufous on the tertials
was notable here.
Despite these photos, the bird could
be hardly studied up to date because it was very difficult to locate and
see perched. The orbital ring seemed grey and rather rounded (see thumbnail
in the side too) while the eye looked pale orange. Note here how the newer
lesser coverts contrast to the rest of the juvenile ones. The bird was
seen in faded sunlight and in direct views the breast look darker than
here. Note also the pale throat compared to the rest of the body.
Albert Burgas, the initial finder
of the bird, on Saturday evening, decided to broadcast the news. Without
him, this sighting, and all what we've learnt on the juvenile separation
would not have been possible.
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