We investigated the abundance and breeding habitat use of the turtle dove Streptopelia turtur in the Basque Country (northern Spain). Censuses employed 500 m transects, distributed across 100 km2 grid cells where the species was previously known to occur. Turtle doves were only detected in two out of four biogeographic sectors sampled. The species was found in forested habitats, riparian forests and evergreen oak patches in particular, but its abundance decreased as tree cover increased. The abundance in farmland was lower, probably as a consequence of the scarcity of adequate nest sites. The range contraction described for this population stresses its unfavourable conservation status and the need to implement action, especially in relation to its breeding habitats.
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Vol. 59 • No. 2