Dark-tailed laurel pigeon

Dark-tailed laurel pigeon
Columba bollii

Photo by David Lanza (Ornito Addiction)

Common name:
dark-tailed laurel pigeon (en); pombo-trocaz-de-Bolle (pt); pigeon de Bolle (fr); paloma turqué (es); Bolles lorbeertaube (de)

Order Columbiformes
Family Columbidae

This species is endemic to the Canary Islands, being found on the islands of Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro.

These birds are 35-40 cm long and have a wingspan of 65-68 cm. They weigh 350-390 g.

The dark-tailed laurel pigeon is mostly found in dense laurel forests, especially in muntainous areas and ravines dominated by Azores laurel Laurus azorica, tilo Ocotea foetens, fire tree Myrica faya, tree heath Erica arborea and small-leaved holly Ilex canariensis. They can also be found in cultivated areas and in caves.

These birds are mainly frugivorous, feeding on the berries of Azores laurel and tilo, but also on cultivated grain and occasionally buds, leaves and shoots of other plants, such as cabbages.

The dark-tailed laurel pigeon is thought to breed all year round, but especially in October-July. The nest is made of twigs and well camouflaged in the foliage, usually placed in a tree or heath up to 15 m above the ground. The female lays a single white egg, which is incubated by both parents for 18-19 days. The chick fledges 30-35 days after hatching. Each pair can raise 2-3 clutches per year.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a small breeding range, but the global population is currently estimated at 3.300-13.000 individuals and suspected to be recovering following historical declines caused by intensive exploitation of laurel forests. Although the extent of forest loss has slowed, fragmentation has continued in some areas as forests are exploited for poles and tool handles. A small amount of illegal hunting still takes place at drinking sites and introduced mammals, namely rats may prey on their nests. Forest fires, human disturbance and outbreaks of Newcastle disease and tuberculosis may also pose threats in the future, but the species is not considered threatened at present

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