Woodpigeon, Columba palumbus

Other Names:
Clatter Dove in Yorkshire coming from the clattering of the male’s wings in courtship flight. Cow Prise from the north country and Culver in the south-east. Woodie among shooters
Habitat: Parks, gardens, woodland, farmland.
Distribution: Worldwide: Europe and Asia with eastern populations going west in the winter. British birds do not migrate.
UK: All except small parts of the highlands and islands.
Numbers: Worldwide:
U.K. : 2.5 – 3 million territories.
Food: Crops such as cabbages, peas and grain, certain fruit and berries. Also buds, nuts and seeds.
Breeding: Two white eggs in a simple nest built of sticks on tree branches or buildings. Hatching after 17 – 19 days and usually flying after 33 – 34 days although, where a nest has been disturbed, the young may leave as early as twenty days. Three broods a year are not uncommon.
Bill: Small long slender bill
Length: 40 – 42 cm.


With a loud cooing call “look at the moooon”
The Wood Pigeon is the largest UK pigeon and its long six-phase call is well known. It is a member of the dove family and can be seen all over the UK. It is a migrant of the colder parts of Europe and Asia and a resident in the warmer climes. The three Western European pigeons – Wood Pigeon, Stock Pigeon and Rock Pigeon – are superficially alike in appearance but the Wood Pigeon has characteristic white patches on the sides of its neck as an adult. Juveniles start to develop the patches at about six months and they gradually get larger as the bird matures.
Young Wood Pigeons become very fat as they are fed on a rich ‘milk’ that is produced from the adults crop during the breeding season. This is known as crop milk.
In display flights the wings give loud cracks on the climb and the bird then glides down on stiffened wings. The male also displays by puffing out its neck, lowering its wings and fanning its tail whilst walking along a branch.
It is a legal quarry species as it is seen as an agricultural pest in most European countries, here in Britain it can be sold throughout the year and is a very tasty dish. The breasts need to be cooked quickly and best rested and not over done or the meat tightens up and becomes tough.

Woodie Woodpigeon rear view Ferral Pigeon
Wood Pigeon photo
5 x 7 photo of Woodpigeon Wood Pigeon rear view, photography Ferral Pigeon photo of Wood Pigeon by Paul Cumberland
7” x 5” image for licensing
Rear Woodpigeon feather detail Photographed
by Paul Cumberland
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