Collared Dove

Streptopelia decaocto

Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)

Also called the ‘Eurasian Collared Dove’, this medium-sized bird has a black distinctive half-collar. Its plumage is pale grey-brown, whilst its breast is a pinkish-buff. Sexes are alike. There is no discernible collar in the juvenile, and the plumage is a sandy buff colour. When perched the Collared Dove makes a loud repeated triple “Cu-cooo-cuk”, and may be confused with the sound of a cuckoo.

Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)

It picks grains, seeds and shoots from the ground, and also feeds from bird tables. It will also feed on berries in the autumn. The nest is built from a small platform of twigs or rubbish. The female lays two eggs, and has two to three broods or more, all year round. They can live for up to 10 years.

Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)

Seen all year round. Found in woodland, parks, gardens, near farm buildings, and in villages and towns. A common and widespread dove throughout the British Isles.

Originally from subtropical Asia, the collared Dove first arrived in Britain in 1955, and although it received the highest legal protection around that time, in 1981 it was revoked due to its successful breeding and proliferation, ranking it as a pest instead of a rarity.

Photographs of Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto), taken July 2011 and January 2014, front and rear gardens, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2011 and 2014. Cameras used Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38 and Nikon D3200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.


Columba palumbus

Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus)

The Woodpigeon is a large bird with grey back plumage, a pinkish breast, and a bold white patch on each side of the neck. Dark band on tail feathers, and white bands on front edge of wings. The juvenile has no  white patches on its  neck, and is somewhat duller in colour.

Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus)

It feeds on buds, leaves, berries, and fruit. Comes to bird tables. The nest is made from twigs in a tree or a bush. The female lays 2 eggs in 1 or 2 broods from April to September. It can live for up to 10 years.

Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus)

Seen all year round. Found in a variety of woodland, also farmland, parks and gardens. The UK’s largest and commonest pigeon, and is widespread throughout.

Photograph of Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus), taken June and July 2015, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2015. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Rock Dove

Columbia livia

Rock Dove (Columbia livia)

The Rock Dove is the wild ancestor of the Town, Domestic or Feral Pigeon. The true Rock Dove is a rarity, and it is the domestic pigeon featured in these images.

The wild Rock Dove has pale-grey plumage, with a purple-green sheen on its neck. It has two distinct broad black wingbars and a white rump. It also has black-tipped grey tail feathers, and red eyes and legs. The true Rock Dove is a rarity due to interbreeding between Feral Pigeons which have very varied plumage patterns.

Rock Dove (Columbia livia)

It forages for seeds, buds, berries, and small invertebrates on the ground. The nest is loose and untidy formed on a ledge or in a cavity. The female lays two eggs, in three broods all year. They can live for up to 10 years.

Rock Dove (Columbia livia)

They are seen all year round. They inhabit coastal cliffs and mountains. Also in towns and cities, and farmland. The true Rock Dove is a rarity, but the Feral Pigeon is common and widespread, so much so they are considered a pest in our towns and cities when in large numbers. The droppings are also acidic which can cause damage to the stonework of buildings. The wild Rock Dove is now only found along the north and west coasts of Scotland, on offshore islands, and on Northern Island coasts. But the Feral Pigeon ancestor can be found almost anywhere, it is so common and widespread some consider it a pest.

Rock Doves have been domesticated for several thousand years giving rise to the subspecies Columba livia domestica, the Domestic Pigeon, and their homing ability means they can be used as carrier pigeons transporting messages, and many of these played an important role in wartime. Domestic pigeons which have escaped captivity gave rise to the Feral Pigeon.

Photograph of Rock Dove (Columbia livia), taken July 2015, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2015. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.