Beast

Turtledove


Latin name: Turtur
Other names: Torte, Tortorele, Tortre, Tourteroele, Turteltaube, Turtre, Tutula, Turtura, Turture

A bird that always remains faithful to its mate

General Attributes

The turtledove has only one mate, to which it is always faithful; if that mate should die, it will never take another, and will thereafter never sit on anything green. Turtledoves always sit in the desert, but sometimes come to the gardens of the poor and to laborer's fields to gather seeds. In winter when they moult they live in hollow trees. They love solitude. To protect its young from wolves, the turtledove spreads squill leaves over its nest, which it builds in soft and delightful places.

Allegory/Moral

The turtledove signifies the holy church, which remained faithful to Christ after his death. The Aberdeen Bestiary interprets the turtledove's refusal to take a second mate differently: "Learn, you women, how great is the grace of widowhood, when it is proclaimed even among the birds."