Saturday, 18 April 2015

Bird of the week - Collared dove

The collared dove has a strange scientific name Streptopelia decaocto.  Streptos is Greek for collar and pelia means dove, which is fair enough, but decaocto is eighteen.  This is supposed to sound like the call but it sounds to us much more like rather disheartened Newcastle fans calling "Un-it-ed Un-it-ed" after five consecutive defeats.  The name was chosen by Linnaeus, who was Swedish and the Swedish for eighteen is aderton so I wonder if that is how the name originated. 

Collared doves are now a common sight in gardens.  They first bred in England 60 years ago (when a young twitcher, Bill Oddie, went to Norfolk to see them) and there are now a million breeding pairs!  This shows the population increase over the last 40 years.

The population density map shows they are predominantly birds of England and of lowland and urban areas.
Read more about collared doves here and here.  Listen to Sir David Attenborough's BBC Tweet of the Day here.

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