Red Turtle Dove

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Is the Red Turtle Dove right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Red Collared Dove; Asian Dwarf Turtle Dove; Ruddy Dove (but also used for another species)

Scientific name: Streptopelia tranquebarica

The basics:
The Red Turtle Dove is a beautiful smaller relative of the popular Ring-necked Dove. While this beautiful ringneck is not as well known as some of the others, it's a widespread species found on the Indian subcontinent and east into China, Southeast Asia, and onward to the island nations of Indonesia and Japan.

The Red Turtle Dove male is a fine specimen with his gray head neatly separated from his rusty red body by the black half-collar or “ring neck” wrapped around his nape. In this sexually dimorphic species, the females can easily be picked out because they are brown instead of red.

90 grams (3.2 oz.)

Average size:
23 centimeters (9 in.)

5 - 10 years

Behavior / temperament:
Although smaller than the classic Ring-necked Dove, Asian Dwarf Turtle Doves have much the same personality. A pet will love attention from its people, and a pair will be able to live peaceably in the aviary with non-competing species like exotic quail. However, do not ask breeding pairs to share space with their own species, or feathers could fly.

A single pet or a pair of Red Collared Turtledoves can do very well indoors, but they do need space and an easily cleaned environment. They exercise by flying and by hopping on the ground, so allow for a nice wide area – a good minimum size for the flight might be 36” in length, 24” wide, and 24” tall. Single pets are friendly and look forward to being around family members, so do not isolate them. Some birds can be insistent about cooing for attention if they know you're elsewhere in the house.

If you have experience with the fancy pigeon varieties descended from the Rock Dove, you will have to change your expectations if you want to breed Red Turtle Doves. These lovable birds that are so gentle to humans are territorial toward others of their own kind, and each pair will require its own flight, pen, or cage during the breeding season. Cleanliness is essential. Whether you have a single pet in an indoor cage or an aviary complex with multiple flights for your pairs, construct the cage with eye toward easy cleaning – and don't forget that these birds bathe in water, so they appreciate a shallow bird bath.

The Red Turtle Dove is easy to feed, although it may resist a varied diet. Choose a high quality dove or budgerigar/parakeet mix. One breeder suggests that wild bird seed mix plus safflower will do as the backbone of the diet. But you also need to provide some variety – chopped fruits and vegetables, greens, pellets (perhaps sprinkled with apple juice), and even access to a few live insects can be a good source of vitamins, minerals, and macro-nutrients. All doves need access to grit and calcium. An indoor dove's body may have trouble using the calcium because vitamin D3 is often formed from sunlight. Talk to your vet or breeder about vitamin D and calcium supplements.

Written by Elaine Radford

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