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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, Kari Pihlaviita, Jouko Lehmuskallio, M. & W. von Wright: Svenska fåglar (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Wood Pigeon

Columba palumbus

  • Name also: Common Woodpigeon
  • Family: Pigeons – Columbidae
  • Appearance: Larger and heavier than Stock Dove, with a longer tail. Distinctive white wing bar, and mature birds also have white neck markings.
  • Size: Length 38–43 cm (15–17 in), wingspan 68–77 cm (26.5–30 in), weight 400–600 g (16–24 oz).
  • Nest: Flattened flimsy pile of thin twigs, most often in spruce tree.
  • Breeding: 2 eggs laid from mid April, incubated by both parents for 17–20 days. Young birds able to fly within 35 days.
  • Distribution: Shy and retiring when breeding in spruce forests, but found in large flocks during migration. Today breeds in Finland almost as far north as Upper Lapland. Finnish population estimated at 250,000 pairs.
  • Migration: Winters in W Europe, leaving Finland Sept–Oct, returning in April. Migrates by day.
  • Diet: Seeds, grain, pulses
  • Calls: Multi-syllabic cooing, sometimes mistaken for the hooting of an owl.

The Wood pigeon is Finland’s largest dove. Its general colouring is pale bluish grey, but marked with distinctive white wing bars, and white patches around the neck (absent on young birds) Other patches of colour include greenish metallic markings around the white neck ring, and extensive purplish breast patches.

Mature Wood pigeons have red legs, red beaks with pale yellowish tips and pale yellow irises. Young birds have pinkish legs, blue-grey beaks with paler tips, and dark brown irises.

In flight, Wood pigeons have stocky, large-breasted silhouettes, and their tails are longer than those of Stock Doves. When taking flight they flap their wings together noisily. When flying longer distances flight is fast and direct, but in courtship flight males fly obliquely upwards before flapping their wings together and gliding downwards.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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