Rare bird report: Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Tim Allison

Location: Above Jeondeungsa Temple, Onsu-ri, Ganghwa-do.

Date and time: October 13, 2002 mid-morning (approx. 9:00 or 9:30). (This report was written from memory on October 16, 2002.)

Duration: 10-15 seconds.

Observer(s): Tim Allison (author), Phil Edwards

Field conditions:

  • Weather: sunny and warm.

  • Location of sun: to the right of the observers.

  • Distance from bird(s): possibly about 30 m.

  • Optical equipment: TA: Nikon Naturalist II 7x35 Binoculars.

Description of observations:

Two birds were observed in flight for a short time, as they flew up and then back down, near the fortress wall above Jeondeungsa Temple. The habitat in this area is mainly mixed mountain forest, with frequent clearings, as is the area along the fortress wall.

Flight style was dove-like, quite similar to that of Feral Pigeon Columba livia over short distances. These birds were quite slender - certainly more lightly built than the Oriental Turtle Doves Streptopelia orientalis that we had seen frequently that morning. They flew with their tails fanned, which appeared more sharply tapered than what I am used to seeing in Oriental TD.

Underparts (including underwing coverts) were very pale, except at the base of the tail, which was dark (black?). The tip of the tail was broadly white both above and below. Upperparts appeared to be slightly darker, with a black marking on the neck visible, which seemed to be less extensive than on Oriental TD but this was difficult to judge for certain on the flying birds.

From above, the black primaries contrasted strongly with the remainder of the wing.

At the time of the observation, neither of us was aware of the significance of this sighting, given the assertion by Lee, Koo, and Park (Birds of Korea, 2000) that it is a rare resident in coastal areas. Thus, no notes were taken at the time.

Previous experience with this species and location, date:

None. However, I have studied the identification of the species in Canada because of its rapidly expanding range in North America. Phil, however, has extensive experience with this species.

Experience with similar species and location, date:

Perhaps the most similar regularly occurring species in Korea is the Oriental Turtle Dove, of which I have seen hundreds, possibly thousands, in the last 7 months.

The pattern in flight of this bird (particularly the extensive white in the tail, overall paleness, and sharply contrasting primaries) eliminates that possibility.