Belongs to: doves

Compare with: stock dove

Wood pigeon Columba palumbus

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Large pigeon with grey upperparts and white bars on wings, often seen feeding on fields and sometimes in gardens

Habitat: forests, woods, hedges, fields, towns, gardens and heaths

Very common resident


Grey upperparts, pinkish breast, white neck slash and white bars on wings; 40 cm

Forms large flocks on fields by day, often roosting in trees by night 

Eats grain, seed and crops; originally a woodland bird, has adapted to agricultural food


Up and down courtship flight with wing-clapping; female builds a flat platform of twigs usually in a tree

May lay eggs in any month, but mainly in summer to raise young when crops are ripening

Up to 3 broods of 2 white eggs; young are fed by both parents with 'pigeon's milk' from their crop

© Tony Gunton