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Collared Dove

Collared Dove
Both sexes: Pale brown-grey with black and white neck band.

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.

At Nest
At Nest

Scientific Name Streptopelia decaocto
Length 31-33 cm  (12-13")
Wing Span 47-55 cm  (19-22")
Weight 170-240 g  (6-8 oz)
Breeding Pairs 300000
Present All Year
Status Green

Distribution map - when and where you are most likely to see the species.


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".


© Jean Roché,
Alarm Call

© Jean Roché,


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.


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


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.


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.