Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Text and photo by Peter Vankevich
Large pale dove with a thin black partial collar, dark bill and pinkish legs. Note in flight its square tail which is white underneath.
As this dove’s name implies, its breeding range covers much of Europe and Asia. The North American population derives from two releases of 50 or so birds in New Providence, Bahamas and a another release of birds in 1976 in Guadeloupe. Birds began to be seen in Southern Florida beginning in the late 1970s. Over the last 30 years they have spread throughout much of the United States, both naturally and by regional releases by dove breeders and hunting clubs.
There were a few sightings on Ocracoke in the early 2000s, and it was first reported on a Christmas Bird Count in 2006, making the island one of the best locations in North Carolina to see this bird. It is now more widely distributed throughout the state. Song has a repetitive three notes: to-tooo-to, quite a contrast from the soft song of a Mourning Dove. It also makes a squawk call, especially in flight.
Best Time to see: Year round. Note that they do not like high winds and will hunker down being a lot harder to see.
Where: The village only. Hotspots: Loop and Lighthouse Roads, including the entrance to Springer’s Point, School House Road, the Ocracoke Coffee Shop and down Sunset and Friendly Ridge Road. I’ve yet to see one outside of the village. So if you see one beyond the village, send us a report.
(audio provided courtesy of OhioLINK Digital Resource Commons)
There has been concern that this new species to the island will have a negative impact on the slightly smaller Mourning Dove. So far, this doesn’t appear to be the case. Both species are easily seen in the village and Mourning Doves can be seen all over the island.