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Bird  Wood Pigeons

Wood Pigeon - Photo  Copyright 2003 Gary Bradley
Photo: G. Bradley

UK Safari Tip:
Get help identifying birds with the superbly illustrated "Top 50 Garden Birds" identification chart - click here

Latin name: Columba palumbus

Size: Approximately 42cm.

Distribution: Found throughout the UK.

Months seen:
All year round

Habitat: Woods, parks, gardens and town centres.

Food: Seeds and cereal crops.  Large winter flocks can cause considerable damage to crops on farmland.

Special features: The wood-pigeon can be distinguished from other species of pigeon by the patches of white feathers on the neck and wings.

When disturbed, or displaying wood-pigeons make a loud clapping noise with their wings in flight.

When most birds drink they use their beak like a cup to scoop up water and then throw their heads back to swallow it. Wood-pigeons are different.  They use their beak like a straw and literally suck up the water.

The UK population is estimated at between six and eight million.  Wood pigeon have been ringed both here, and on the continent.  No evidence has been found to prove they migrate in even small numbers.

"In the past pigeon shooters and farmers would talk about the foreigners arriving in the early autumn.  They would say that they were smaller than ours and duller, without the white patches on each side of the neck.  These birds are of course newly fledged young." - Eric Prior

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UK Safari Bird Section

  2006 G. Bradley. All Rights Reserved