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Collared Dove

Eurasian Collared Dove Collared Dove Both Sexes
Pale brown-grey with black and white neck band.
Distribution map - when and where you are most likely to see the species.
Streptopelia decaocto
Length: 31-33 cm  (12-13")
Wing Span: 47-55 cm  (19-22")
Weight: 170-240 g  (6-8 oz)  
Breeding Pairs: 300 000
Present: All Year
Status: Green

Description

The Collared Dove is small, slim dove with quite a long tail - it is much smaller than a Wood Pigeon.

The plumage of this elegant dove is mostly a pale brown-grey but the breast is a pinkish buff colour. Adults can be distinguished from juveniles by the narrow black and white band round the back of the neck (which juveniles lack).

In flight, the length of its tail in proportion to its body can make its silhouette look like that of a Sparrowhawk, and sometimes other birds make the same mistake, giving alarm calls and dashing for cover.

Voice

Choose from Quicktime and mp3. Song Call
  Quicktime mp3 Quicktime mp3

The monotonous, loud cooing song of the Collared Dove sounds like "coo-Coo-coo", but is perhaps best remembered as either "u-nit-ed" or "I don't know".

The call is a harsh "kwurr".

Feeding

The Collared Dove feeds mainly on cereal grain and small seeds on the ground, but will also eat berries in the autumn and, more rarely, caterpillars and aphids in the spring.

In the garden, they will occasionally feed on small bird seed or bread crumbs placed on either the ground or the bird table, but are increasingly managing to feed from hanging bird feeders, especially if seed trays are fitted.

The nestlings are fed on "crop milk", which is rich in protein and fat, and is secreted from the crop.

Nesting

The Collared Doves nest is almost incredible: a flimsy platform of twigs in a tree, but sometimes on a building.

The white oval eggs are smooth and glossy, and about 31 mm by 23 mm in size. Both parents share the duty of incubating the eggs and feeding the nestlings.

Breeding Data
Breeding Starts Number of Clutches Number of Eggs Incubation (days) Fledge (days)
March 2-5 2 14-16 18-21

Movements

Collared Doves are sedentary, though young often move westwards on becoming independent, which helps to explain its relentless spread across Europe and Britain in such a short time.

Conservation

The colonisation of Britain by the Collared Dove is a remarkable story - no Collared Doves bred in Britain before 1955 - and so no conservation measures are necessary.

My Garden

Graph of garden visits.

Collared Doves are now such common visitors to the garden, imagining that this bird did not live in Britain before the early 1950s is difficult. One reason for this is their long breeding season: March to October.

The chart shows that Collared Doves visit the garden throughout the year, but more so in the winter months, probably because food is scarcer in the parks and woodlands.


Last revision: 21 Feb 2015
Copyright © David Gains 1999-2017.
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