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Wood Pigeon

Columba palumbus


This pigeon is generally gray in color, with a pinkish breast and a green, white and purple patch on the neck. The tail has a black tip, and there is a prominent white patch on each wing. The eyes are bright yellow, and the legs and bill are pink. Juveniles are browner and duller, and lack the white neck patch.

adult wood pigeon
adult wood pigeon

juvemile wood pigeon
juvenile wood pigeon

One of the larger species of pigeon, the adult wood pigeon is about 16 inches long, has a wingspan of 30-32 inches, and weighs 1-1 pounds.

Distribution and Habitat

The wood pigeon is found throughout most of Europe and western Asia. Generally a tree-dwelling bird, it is common in wooded areas but also inhabits agricultural areas and suburban parks.


Wood pigeons are strictly vegetarian. Most of the diet consists of seeds, grains and crops, but they will also eat leaves, shoots, seedlings, and some fruits and berries. Because their food contains little moisture, wood pigeons must drink frequently. Unlike most birds, which scoop up water and then throw their heads back to let it flow down the throat, wood pigeons use their beak like a straw and literally suck up water.


No specific breeding season has been observed in this species, but it is likely more common in the spring. The nest, which is a platform of twigs in a tree or on a building, is built by both parents. The typical clutch consists of 2 white elliptical eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 17-19 days. Both parents also share feeding duties, and the squabs can fly at 30-36 days.

Scientific Classification

phylum Chordata
subphylum Vertebrata
class Aves
order Columbiformes
family Columbidae
genus & species Columba palumbus

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The Robinson Library >> Science >> Zoology >> Birds >> Order Columbiformes

This page was last updated on March 22, 2018.