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 Columba palumbus

Key facts

Conservation listings: Europe: no SPEC category (concentrated in Europe, conservation status favourable) (BiE04)
UK: green (BoCC3)
Long-term trend: UK, England: rapid increase
Population size: 5.4 (5.1-5.7) million pairs in 2009 (APEP13: distance sampling estimate for 2006 (Newson et al. 2008) updated using BBS trend)

Migrant status Resident Nesting habitat Above-ground nester
Primary breeding habitat Farmland Secondary breeding habitat
Breeding diet Vegetation Winter diet Vegetation

Status summary

The CBC/BBS trend for this species is of a steady, steep increase since at least the mid 1970s. Since 1994, BBS has recorded significantly upward trends in the UK, and in England, Wales and Northern Ireland separately, but stability in Scotland. The BBS map of change in relative density between 1994-96 and 2007-09 indicates that increase has been very widespread, with decreases only in parts of northeastern Scotland. Numbers have shown widespread moderate increase across Europe since 1980 (PECBMS 2012a).

CBC/BBS UK graph

Population changes in detail

Demographic trends

Clutch graph
Brood graph

More on demographic trends

Causes of change

There is some evidence that the increase in this species has been due to the spread of intensive winter cereal and rape cultivation, probably by increasing food availability over winter, reflecting the species' ability to subsist on green vegetation, unlike other granivores.

Change factor Primary driver Secondary driver
Demographic Increased overwinter survival
Ecological Agricultural intensification

Further information on causes of change