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Turtle Dove

Streptopelia turtur

Passage migrant/Summer visitor/Breeds nearby

Not found at Neolithic WF16

Turtle doves prefer lightly wooded country with scrubland but can also be found in desert oases. In Wadi Faynan, they often frequent the trees adjacent to the wadi floor and the shrubby vegetation in Wadi Dana, where they also breed at higher elevations. Whilst they are often migrants to the region, they also visit the Wadi Faynan region during the summer.

Doves have featured prominently in the various religious traditions of the region. The appearance of the dove was the sign of dry land to Noah and doves are a frequent symbol of the Byzantine period between 1,600 and 1,300 years ago, where they represented the departing soul. Several ceramic figurines of a woman holding a dove have been found during excavations at Petra. One interpretation of these figurines is that they were connected to the worship of one or more of the goddesses in the city, such as al-Uzza or Aphrodite.


Image credit: ‘Turtle Dove’ by Andrej Chudý via Flickr, CC BY 2.0