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Columba palumbus L.
Aves, Columbiformes, Columbidae .

Wood pigeon, Ring-dove

Description, Biology, Life Cycle, Damage, Common Names, Images

- Adult: 40-42 cm long; 73-76 cm wingspan; average weight: 500 g; feathers grey and black-grey with a large white stripe across the wing and distinctly visible during flight; breast pink; neck with small white spots on each side except in the current year's young; neck with green and crimson reflections; no sexual dimorphism (*) .
- Nests, which are built at different heights in the trees, in a branch fork or against the trunk of deciduous trees or conifers, are made up of small branches forming a platform (*) .
- Egg: white.

- This species is widely distributed in places with trees, groves or woods and especially in cultivated areas. It is less common in mountainous regions.
- The wood pigeon feeds mainly when on the ground. Its diet is composed almost exclusively of vegetable material, including leguminous seeds, cereals, acorns, berries, small fruits, young green shoots (mainly cruciferous ones).
- Pairs form in late winter. Small flocks are established during the summer and frequent cultivated regions. Populations reproducing in France are partly sedentary.
- Numerous migrants from Northern and Central Europe fly across France in September but mainly in October. They pass the Pyrenees to spend the winter in Spain or Northern Africa. The return migration occurs in February-March.
- Very large flocks of wood pigeons, which are present throughout the winter in the major crop regions of France, come from countries that do not extend so far in the North (Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands), the size of the migrations being small owing to food availability on the way.

[R]Life Cycle
Egg-laying starts in April-May and 2 eggs are laid. A 2nd brood usually appears in early summer and there is sometimes a 3rd in August-September.

Damage is caused by large flocks during the winter.
- Young plants of winter rape (*) , pea crops (seedlings and mature peas) (*) as well as sunflower crops (mainly seedlings) are devoured.
Cereal and maize seedlings are attacked and plantlets are cut off.

[R]Common Names
DE: Ringeltaube ES: Paloma torcaz, Torcaza FR: Pigeon ramier, Palombe IT: Colombaccio PT: Torcaz GB: Wood pigeon, Ring-dove

[R] Images

  1. Columba palumbus L. (ACTA)
    Adults at rest and flying
  2. Columba palumbus L. (ACTA)
    Damage to sunflower in the spring Seedlings have been grazed to the ground.
  3. Columba palumbus L. (Coutin R. / OPIE)
    Damage on rape in the autumn Certain seedlings have died, others have leaves cut to pieces.
  4. Columba palumbus L. (ACTA)
    Damage to pea in early summer Emptied pods pecked to pieces.
  5. Columba palumbus L. (Coatmeur J.& P. Faucheur / SPHN)

To read this page in French

HYPPZ on line : Species (scientific name), Pests (common names), Glossary, Crops.

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