Common wood-pigeon

Common wood-pigeon
Columba palumbus
Photo by Eduardo Balogh (Trek Nature)

Common name:
common wood-pigeon (en); pombo-torcaz (pt); pigeon ramier (fr); paloma torcaz (es); ringeltaube (de)

Order Columbiformes
Family Columbidae

This species is found throughout Europe, into Morocco, northern Algeria and Tunisia in North Africa and east to the Urals in Russia, into the Middle East all the way to Afghanistan and with scattered population as far east as northern India and western China. The northern populations migrate south to winter along the southern range of the species.

These birds are 38-43 cm long and have a wingspan of 68-80 cm. They weigh 450-600 g.

Common wood-pigeons are mostly found in deciduous and coniferous woodlands, but also in farmland, hedgerows, parks, and gardens, and even in city centres.

They mostly eat seeds, grains and crops, often becoming a serious agricultural pest. These birds will also eat fleshy leaves, young shoot and seedlings of various plants. They occasionally also take invertebrates.

Common wood-pigeons breed in April-July. The male brings twigs, grasses and leaves to the female, who uses them to build an untidy platform-like nest, generally placed in a fork in a tree. The female lays 1-3 glossy white eggs which are incubated by both parents for 17-19 days. The chicks are fed pigeon milk, a regurgitated milky substance produced in the crop of the parents, and fledge 29-35 days after hatching. Each pair may raise 2-3 broods per season.

IUCN status – LC (Least concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 30-70 million individuals. The population is increasing in many parts of its range as it can exploit human-modified habitats and northward range expansions have also been recorded in northern Scandinavia and the Faeroe islands.

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