Woodpigeon

©Amy Lewis

Woodpigeon

©Gillian Day

Woodpigeon

Scientific name: Columba palumbus
The large, plump woodpigeon is a familiar sight in our gardens and parks, but can also be found on farmland and in woodlands almost everywhere. You may hear its cooing call before you see the bird itself.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 40-42cm
Wingspan: 78cm
Weight: 450g
Average lifespan: 3 years

Conservation status

Common. Classified in the UK as Green under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015). Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

When to see

January to December

About

Our largest and most common pigeon, the woodpigeon is a familiar bird of gardens, parks, woodlands and farmlands right across the country. Its husky 'hoo-hroo' call is a well-known sound of the country. It feeds on seeds, leaves, grains, fruit, peas and root crops and can become a serious agricultural pest in certain areas. The woodpigeon makes flimsy twig nests in trees, in which the female lays two eggs. Both sexes incubate and raise the young, feeding them on 'pigeon milk' - a regurgitated, milky substance from a food-storage organ called a 'crop'.

How to identify

Our largest pigeon, the woodpigeon is easily distinguished from the similar stock dove and feral pigeon by its pink breast, white neck patch and the white patches visible on its wings during flight.

Distribution

Found everywhere.

Did you know?

As well as being a common resident, large numbers of woodpigeons migrate here from the continent in the autumn and winter.

How people can help

Whether you live in town or country, you can help to look after garden birds by providing food and water for them. To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit the wildlife gardening section of the website, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started. To buy bird food, feeders and other wildlife products, visit the Vine House Farm website - an award-winning wildlife-friendly farm that gives 4% of all its takings plus £10 commission for each new customer to The Wildlife Trusts.