Woodpigeon Columba palumbus   [Linnaeus, 1758]

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Order: Columbiformes Family: Columbidae
BTO Codes: WP, WOODP EURING No: 6700
Number in Britain: 5.3 million Pairs (Summer)
Conservation Status:
European: Not a species of concern
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Resident Breeder, Winter Visitor
Subspecies: palumbus recorded in Britain (of 5 subsp. in the world)
Length: 41 cm Wingspan: 78 cm Weight: M/F: 450 g    
Scientific name from: L.: columba=a pigeon or dove and L.: palumbes=woodpigeon
World Distribution: Europe, se&c Asia, nw Africa
Habitat: Towns, woodland
Diet: Seeds, leaves, fruit (esp. of Ivy), buds and root crops
TitBit: Rather than feed their young insects, pigeons feed them a milk formed from sloughing off fluid-filled cells in the crop lining and is more nutritious than human or cow's milk.  
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: BirdTrends   
Regional Trends: Scotland   Wales   England   English Regions
Distribution: Atlas Mapstore    BBS Maps
British Population Size:
    Summer: 5.3 million Pairs in 2009
    First Record: Recorded in Anglo-Saxon times [Fossil evidence from Devensian (last) glaciation, 10-120,000 yr ago]
    Latest Survey: Newson, S.E. et al. (2008) Journal of Applied Ecology 45:1330-1338
    Conservation Status: GREEN
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 GREEN     1996-2001 GREEN  
   Races of Concern: palumbus GREEN
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    Most frequent in: Deciduous Wood
    Also common in: Scrub, Arable Farmland, Pasture Farmland, Villages, Towns
    And found in: Coniferous Wood
Relative Frequency in Each Habitat:
Migration routes: Map of foreign ringing recoveries
European Population Size:
    Summer: 8 to 14 million pairs   (Trend in Numbers)
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WCA(III),WBD(I*,II*, III*)
Survey Results: Results from BirdTrack
Results from Garden BirdWatch
Results from GBW Factsheet

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 41 x 29 mm Egg Weight: 18.9 g (of which 7 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 757
Clutch Size: 2 eggs
Incubation: 17 days   by the: Male + Female
Fledging: 33 - 34days as: Altricial, downy
First Clutches Laid: 30 Apr (22 Feb - 20 Aug)
Number of Broods: 1-2
See trends in Breeding Productivity
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.607 ± 0.016       
Juvenile Survival: 0.520 (to age . )  
Age at First Breeding: 1 year Typical Lifespan: 3 years
Maximum Recorded Age: 17 years 8 months 19 days (set in 1999)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: F
Wing Length Adult: 252.2 ± 8.2 Range 238 - 265 mm, N =1881
Juvenile: 239.9 ± 16.1 215 - 257 mm, N =408
Male: 258.7 ± 7.3 243 - 268 mm, N =75
Female: 250.4 ± 8.0 235 - 260 mm, N =84
Weight Adult: 507.4 ± 71.37 Range 400.0 - 612.5 g , N =1180
Juvenile: 401.7 ± 76.98 295.0 - 548.0 g , N =314
Male: 528.6 ± 72.68 420.0 - 620.0 g , N =38
Female: 487.8 ± 76.53 269.0 - 580.0 g , N =55
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Ringing Scheme data

Other Names

Common Wood Pigeon
Gaelic: Calman-coille Welsh: Ysguthan
Danish: Ringdue Dutch: Houtduif
Finnish: Sepelkyyhky French: Pigeon ramier
German: Ringeltaube Hungarian: Örvös galamb
Icelandic: Hringdúfa Irish: Colm Coille
Italian: Colombaccio Norwegian: Ringdue
Polish: Grzywacz Portuguese: Pombo-torcaz
Spanish: Paloma torcaz Swedish: Ringduva
Local Names: Ring Dove

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Goodwin, D. 1983 Pigeons and doves of the world (3rd ed) Cornell University Press, Ithaca [598.623 GOO]
   Murton, R.K. 1965 The wood-pigeon Collins, London [598.523 MUR]
   Colquhoun, M.K. 1951 The wood-pigeon in Britain HMSO, London
See Also:
Find scientific papers on Google Scholar or Scirus by clicking the icon
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides