Collared Dove

Streptopelia decaocto

31-33cm

Appearance

Has quite a long tail and is more slender than the Woodpigeon. Plumage is mostly brownish grey but can appear to have a pink tinge at times, particularly on the head and upperparts. Flight feathers are dark, the tail has a white band visible in flight, there's a dark half-collar on the nape, legs are reddish, and the bill is dark. Juveniles resemble adults but they lack the dark half-collar.

Habitat

Usually lives in areas near to human population, particularly agricultural land and gardens. Towns are popular too, though these birds prefer green spaces to busy city hubs. Uncommon in mountains and moorlands.

Character

May socialise in flocks, but is usually seen alone or in pairs when breeding. Feeding occurs mostly from the ground, and it is often seen perched and in song. Performs an aerial display of acute flight upwards, a fanning of the wings before movement downwards; landing is often accompanied by calling.

Food

Diet includes wheat, barley, oats, seeds from knotgrass, bindweed, various grasses, and berries such as elder (in autumn). Occasionally eats aphids and caterpillars.

Breeding

When breeding in the region, eggs (usually 2 of them) are laid between February and October, with the peak laying month being May. Both adults incubate for 14-18 days, and the young stay in the nest for 15-19, feeding on crop milk for the initial 10 days. Multiple broods may be laid each year, usually three.

Population

There are approximately 990 000 pairs in the UK and between 20 000 and 100 000 in Ireland; populations are increasing.

Observation Tips

The call of this bird is familiar to many. It mostly avoids upland and remote areas, but is otherwise a relatively common sight. Most often seen in pairs during the winter and can become quite tolerant of humans, with some of them even becoming tame.

Voice

Has an upbeat 'kwurr' call, and a repetitive 'oo-ooo-oo' song.
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