The Common Wood Pigeon

The Common Wood Pigeon

The Columbiforms

Brief Background

The Common Wood Pigeon is known in Ornithology as Columba palumbus . This study will cover all the necessary parts of Ornithology in order to have a better view concerning this bird.

Appearance and Behaviour

length: 41 cm (16 inches); wing: 235-256 mm (9-10 inches); wingspan: 73 cm (29 inches); tail: 139-156 mm (5-6 inches); tail: 23 mm (0.90 inches). Weight: 350 to 570 g.

Adults

bluish gray head, neck, upper abdomen and tail; ashy-gray brown upper-wing; purple throat, chest and belly; blackish flight feathers; white wing bars; neck spotted with green with oily reflections and white; blackish barred tail; yellow eye; orange-yellow beak at the tip, pinkish at the base; pink paws.

The Columbiforms

The common wood pigeon wears a much more elegant outfit than its city cousins, which it exceeds in size and weight. It is in fact the largest columbid in Europe and North Africa. With its mauve chest, its bluish gray livery, its large metallic green and white spots superimposed on each side of the neck, the common wood pigeon, cannot be confused with any other species. As for the white wing bars, so obvious in flight, they definitely identify it.

Its rowing flight, powerful, fast and enduring, allows it to cross long distances. In summer, the birds soar almost vertically, flapping their wings at the peak of their climb, then gliding back down.

The common wood pigeon’s voice is low, even sounding muffled from the meadows. Yet it carries far. Birds mostly manifest lightly rolled calls and repeated in sets of 2 to 5 ending in a muffled end call. In private, it also gives low intensity sounds.

The Common wood pigeon's voice sample

Country or city dwellers, the common wood pigeon needs trees for sleeping, nesting and foraging. The fields represent also a great importance in its life, the common wood pigeon is therefore the usual host of semi-wooded regions where the crops, varied if possible, are crisscrossed by a network of hedges and have many groves and hedges. Large forests are avoided; the common wood pigeons prefer to stay on the edge of these dangerous places. As for the city birds, their favor is oriented to parks, gardens and cemeteries.

Food

The common wood pigeon feasts on cereal seeds, corn, acorns and beechnuts. It also eats berries and other small fruits of all kinds, supplementing its diet with 3-4% worms and large insects.

Common wood pigeon‘s eggs

Reproduction

It is in the ivy climbing against trees, at the forks of large branches or on the contrary at the end of twigs, in tall and thick bushes, or in thickets, that wood pigeons settle. The nest is a simple platform of dry short twigs collected by the male and arranged by the female. Often visible through the nest because it is rudimentary, the 2 eggs are laid from April to September, the female can have up to 3 broods per year. The eggs are smoothly white with pinky scale. Medium size of egg: 30 x 41 mm (1-1.5 inches); weight: 18 g. incubation and feeding of the chicks is carried out by the two adults. The young chicks leave the nest when they are 1 month old.

Migration

While only a small quantity of British birds have a reputation for deserting their native islands in the fall, at this time extremely large number of European birds head southwest. They travel very high, in small groups or in huge flocks crossing long distances, many reach the Iberian Peninsula by crossing the Atlantic Pyrenees.

Distribution

The common wood pigeon breeds from the Iberian Peninsula to the Baltic Sea and from Ireland to Asia Minor. Further east, the range extends to the entrance to Siberia. Other subspecies inhabit northwest Africa, the Azores, Madeira and are seen as far away as Nepal.

A final word

We hope that this article helped you to get a better understanding of birds. For more articles retated to  Ornithology in specific or animals in general please visit our Animal Category.

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