Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Least Concern

Dusky Turtle-dove (Streptopelia lugens)


French: Tourterelle à poitrine rose German: Trauerturteltaube Spanish: Tórtola oscura
Other common names: Pink-breasted Turtle-dove

Columba lugens


, 1837,

Taranta Mountains, Eritrea


Sometimes considered conspecific with S. hypopyrrha but differs on account of buffy-white chin shading to greyish throat and head-sides with dark grey crown vs silvery-whitish chin, throat and head-sides and mid-grey crown (2); buffy-tinged grey vs dove-grey upper breast (ns[1]); grey-tinged buff lower breast and mid-grey belly vs peachy-pink tan lower breast to belly (3); largely dark upperparts with slightly paler edging to feathers except for strong broad rusty outer edges to greater wing-coverts and tertials vs upperparts browner with all feathers scaled rusty-buff (at least 2). Also related to S. turtur and S. orientalis. Proposed races include funebrea (Kenya) and bishaensis (SW Arabia); bishaensis was replacement name for “arabica”, preoccupied. Monotypic.


SW Saudi Arabia and Yemen; SE South Sudan, W & SE Ethiopia, Eritrea and NW Somalia to Uganda, whence patchily SW through mountains of Rift Valley to N Malawi, and SE through Kenya highlands to NE Tanzania.

Descriptive notes

28 cm; male 140–205 g, female 120–190 g, unsexed 156·1–299 g. Appears predominantly greyish blue with black neck patches and bright orange-buff wing... read more


Advertising call a long series of growling gruff coos, in which not all notes are identical, e.g. “... read more


Mainly a bird of montane forest 1800–3200 m. Frequents woodland of Juniperus, ... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds on weed seeds, cereals, sunflowers, Salvadora berries, small rhizomes, insects and molluscs; food collected on ground. May... read more


Mainly in dry season in Ethiopia, but recorded all months except Jul–Aug; recorded in most months, but with local variations in E... read more


Sedentary, but with some tendency towards vagrancy. In Ethiopia, probably descends to lower... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). No precise details available, but reported to be frequent to common or even abundant through Ethiopian highlands, and similarly... read more

Recommended citation

Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M. & Boesman, P. (2019). Dusky Turtle-dove (Streptopelia lugens). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 11 December 2019).