European Turtle Dove Action Plan

An EU LIFE+ funded project to develop an International Species Action Plan for the turtle dove began in 2015 and after three years of hard work, collaboration and cooperation a flyway scale plan to conserve this iconic species was officially launched in May 2018.

The process involved more than 220 experts, from a variety of disciplines and nations – 50 range states to be precise! It has been fantastic to see the turtle dove – a fabled symbol of fidelity – bring together such a diverse array of people.

The Action Plan details a set of conservation actions to tackle issues including habitat loss, lack of food availability and the impact of hunting over a ten year period across the species’ European and African range.

The actions detailed in the plan are organised under seven key objectives designed to improve the prospects of the turtle dove:

Direct conservation actions (most critical first):

  1. Good quality habitats, with available and accessible water and food, are maintained and increased on the breeding grounds;
  2. Illegal killing in the European Union is eradicated and reduced elsewhere;
  3. Hunting across the range of the European turtle-dove is carried out at sustainable levels;
  4. Good quality habitats, with available and accessible water and food, are maintained and increased at key sites for stopover and wintering.

Supporting actions:

  1. International co-operation is enhanced, through enabling sharing of information and expertise;
  2. Stakeholder awareness is raised;
  3. Knowledge gaps are filled, critically in areas that help increase the understanding of factors acting on the wintering grounds.

You can view the Action Plan here.

The publication of the Action Plan marks a significant step forward in work to conserve the turtle-dove across its European and African range. The challenge now is to ensure that the actions in the plan become a reality on the ground, making a significant difference for turtle doves locally, nationally and internationally.

The European Turtle-dove Action Plan was prepared in the framework of the LIFE EuroSAP project, co-financed by the European Commission Directorate General for the Environment, the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), and individual action plan project partners, and coordinated by BirdLife International.  The preparation of European Turtle-dove Action Plan was coordinated by RSPB.

Turtle dove projects outside the UK

It’s not just Operation Turtle Dove who are working hard to save the rapidly declining turtle dove. Outside the UK, organisations and research groups are working hard to find out more about the species and put in places measures to help turtle doves. Visit the links below to find out more. If you are involved in a turtle dove project outside the UK and would like to be added to this list then please Contact us.

Netherlands – Operatie zomertortel has been providing supplementary food for turtle doves as well as carrying out research on the species.

Germany – Professor Petra Quillfeldt and Dr Ben Metzger have been fitting turtle doves with special tracking devices to learn more about their migratory journeys.

France – Find out more about how researchers from the Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage have been tracking the migratory routes of turtle doves in France.

Photo: Ian Fisher from RSPB helps to launch the Turtle Dove Species Action Plan in May 2018 © RSPB