Barn Owl
Blackbird
Blackcap
Black-headed Gull
Black Redstart
Blue Tit
Brambling
Bullfinch
Buzzard
Carrion Crow
Chaffinch
Chiffchaff
Coal Tit
Collared Dove
Common Gull
Coot
Crested Tit
Crossbill
Cuckoo
Dunnock
Feral Pigeon
Fieldfare
Garden Warbler
Goldcrest
Goldfinch
Goshawk
Great Black-backed Gull
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Tit
Greenfinch
Green Woodpecker
Grey Heron
Grey Partridge
Grey Wagtail
Hawfinch
Herring Gull
Hoopoe
House Martin
House Sparrow
Jackdaw
Jay
Kestrel
Kingfisher
Lapwing
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Lesser Whitethroat
Linnet
Little Owl
Long-eared Owl
Long-tailed Tit
Magpie
Mallard
Marsh Tit
Meadow Pipit
Mistle Thrush
Moorhen
Nightingale
Nuthatch
Peregrine
Pheasant
Pied Flycatcher
Pied Wagtail
Quail
Raven
Red Kite
Red-legged Partridge
Redpoll
Redstart
Redwing
Reed Bunting
Ring-necked Parakeet
Robin
Rook
Sand Martin
Serin
Short-eared Owl
Siskin
Skylark
Song Thrush
Sparrowhawk
Spotted Flycatcher
Starling
Stock Dove
Stonechat
Swallow
Swift
Tawny Owl
Treecreeper
Tree Sparrow
Turtle Dove
Waxwing
Whinchat
Whitethroat
Willow Tit
Willow Warbler
Wood Pigeon
Wren
Yellow Wagtail
Yellowhammer

British Garden Birds Logo Home page. Bird identification guide. Site map. Discussion board. Articles on birds and birdwatching. Having problems? Search this website. Photograph album. Guestbook for your comments. News about the birds in my garden. Contact us. Test your identification skills. About this website. Field trip reports. Links to other websites. Awards won by this website. British Garden Birds Navigation Map

Wood Pigeon

Common Wood Pigeon Wood Pigeon Both Sexes
Grey upperparts, pinkish breast, green and white neck patch.
Distribution map - when and where you are most likely to see the species.
Columba palumbus
Length: 40-42 cm  (16")
Wing Span: 75-80 cm  (30-32")
Weight: 450-550 g  (1-1¼lb)
Breeding Pairs: 2 500 000
Present: All Year
Status: Green

Description

The Wood Pigeon is generally grey with a pinkish breast and green, white and purple patch on the neck. The tail has a black tip and the wings have a prominent white patch. The eye is a bright yellow. The legs and bill are pink.

Juvenile birds are browner and duller and lack the white patch on the neck. They can be confused with the smaller Stock Dove.

Wood Pigeons waddle when they walk, which adds to their general appearance of being overweight. In fact, the Wood Pigeon's feathers weigh more than its skeleton and it is Europe's largest pigeon.

In flight the bold white bar across the middle of the wing is very prominent.

Voice

Choose from Quicktime and mp3. Song
  Quicktime mp3

A Wood Pigeon's song has five notes, compared to the three notes of the Collared Dove, and sounds like "ru-hoo ru ru-hoo". This is sometimes remembered as: "Take toooo coooos, Taffy".

Feeding

Wood Pigeons feed on seeds, grain and crops, but will feed on almost anything that is placed on a bird table.

They also drink a lot, mainly because they do not get sufficient moisture from their food, unlike birds that eat earthworms, etc. An interesting feature about how they drink is that they use their beak like a straw, whereas other birds scoop the water up and throw their heads back to let it flow down their throats.

Nesting

The nest is a platform made from twigs and built by both sexes in a tree or on a building.

At breeding time male Wood Pigeons can be seen displaying: flies upwards, claps its wings, and then glides downwards with its tail spread.

The white elliptical eggs are smooth and glossy, and about 41 mm by 30 mm in size. Both parents share the duty of incubating the eggs and feeding the nestlings.

Breeding Data
Breeding Starts Number of Clutches Number of Eggs Incubation (days) Fledge (days)
April 3 2 17 29-35

Movements

The Wood Pigeon is resident and mostly sedentary though in the autumn and winter they fly twice-daily between roosts and feeding areas.

Scandinavian Wood Pigeons are migratory and many pass through Britain on their autumnal migration to France and Spain, some inevitably stay for the winter in Britain.

Conservation

Since the 1970s the population has increased rapidly, which may be a result of the expansion of intensive arable farming and in particular oilseed rape.

My Garden

Graph of garden visits.

The chart shows that the number of Wood Pigeons visiting the garden peaks in the winter, which is contrary to the Garden Birdwatch results for the whole of the British Isles.


Last revision: 21 Feb 2015
Copyright © David Gains 1999-2015.
Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites