Wood Pigeon - Origin, Characteristics and Feeding

Wood pigeon: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. The wood pigeon (Columba palumbus) is the largest of the pigeons and it...

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The wood pigeon (Columba palumbus) is the largest of the pigeons and it usually inhabits wooded areas. Unlike the domestic pigeon, which can have a wide variety of feather color shades, the wood pigeon's color pattern is always the same, and can be distinguished by its white patches on its neck.

It is more and more common to see this species of the order of columbiformes in our cities, which is why in this PlanèteAnimal sheet, we wanted to tell you about this beautiful bird.Find out everything you need to know about the wood pigeon below: origin, habitat, characteristics, diet and reproduction.


  • Asia
  • Europe

Origin of the wood pigeon

The wood pigeon is native to Europe and Western Asia. They reside all year round in Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Greece, Morocco and other countries in the Mediterranean basin. They breed in northern Europe, but in winter they migrate to warmer areas in the south.

Several subspecies are known, one of which is extinct:

  • Columba palumbus azorica, occupies the Azores islands.
  • Columba palumbus casioti, is present from southeastern Iran to Nepal.
  • Columba palumbus iranica, extends from southern Iran to Turkmenistan.
  • Columba palumbus maderensis, extinct, lived in Madeira.

Characteristics of the Wood Pigeon

Compared to other columbiform species, the wood pigeon is quite large, its wings and tail are longer than those of other pigeon species. They are about 40 centimeters long and their wingspan can reach 80 centimeters. Its body is mostly greyish, with a pinkish chest and a characteristic white spot located on both sides of the neck and shoulders. When they fly, you can see a transverse white band on their wings.

Habitat of the Wood Pigeon

The wood pigeon is above all a pigeon found in the countryside. He likes to live in forests where he can easily find holes to shelter from bad weather. Over time, as the woods gradually disappeared, the wood pigeon moved closer to agricultural fields, where they could find plenty of food.It was not common to see this pigeon in the city, as they are very discreet animals, but nowadays they have become the main species of pigeon in some gardens in some cities.

Feeding the Wood Pigeon

As we said before, this bird is typical of forests where there are pines, oaks and cork oaks. Throughout the year, these pigeons feed on the pine nuts that are in the tops of the trees and those that are on the ground. In autumn, when groves of cork and holm oaks blossom, these animals feed on acorns that they are able to swallow whole.

In winter, they also feed on small shoots that lie dormant on the branches of trees waiting for spring. Also, in the morning, they go to the fields to find grass seeds.

Reproduction of the wood pigeon

The wood pigeon breeding season occurs between the months of April and August.During this period, a couple of pigeons can have between 3 and 4 youngsters. In its natural environment, the male courts the female by diving from the top of a tree to the ground and once on the ground, he begins to jump after the female spreading his tail feathers. In town, it will unfortunately not be possible to see the nose-down flight from a tree.

The nests of these pigeons are usually located high in a tree or in the lowest part of the branches. Several days after mating, the female will lay up to two eggs which will incubate for 15 to 18 days. Both parents will incubate the eggs, the female usually from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. and the male the rest of the time.

Once the chicks are born, they will be fed crop milk produced by their parents and some seeds. After 3 or 4 weeks during which they will be fed by their parents, the babies leave the nest so that the couple can nest again.

Pictures of Wood Pigeon

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