Knowledge about flyways, breeding and overwintering sites is important for conservation efforts, but little is known about migration patterns and population connectivity of declining European Turtle Doves Streptopelia turtur. EURING ring-recovery data were used to estimate directions and proportional usage of flyways. The timing of migration was compared along these routes and breeding origins of shot individuals were determined. Ring recoveries of Czech, Hungarian, British, German and French birds suggested three main flyways with westerly, central and easterly directions. The proportional usage was estimated by multinomial mark-recovery models. Major parts of French (62%), German (92%) and British (94%) Turtle Doves followed a western flyway. Czech birds used the central route (56%) and 55% of Hungarian birds followed the eastern flyway. Thus, a migratory divide between the Czech Republic and Germany could be suggested. The timing of migration showed a similar latitudinal pattern of migration along all flyways. Birds were at the breeding grounds in June and July and from September to April in their southernmost distribution ranges. Outward migration started in August. Return migration was still evident in May. The majority of reported hunted doves were from the 1960s and 1970s. High hunting numbers were present in September, April and May. France and Spain mainly shot birds from the UK and France. In Italy predominantly Italian birds were shot. Doves shot in Greece mostly came from the Czech Republic. Given the decreasing population numbers, large ringing numbers seem unlikely in the future. Thus, low recovery numbers in recent decades parallel both, the population decrease and a lower ringing activity.
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Vol. 51 • No. 1