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Pigeons and doves

Pair of turtle doves foraging

Image: RSPB - Frank Vargas

There is no strict division between pigeons and doves, which share certain features, including small, rounded heads, small, slim bills with a small fleshy patch at the base, rounded bodies with dense, soft feathers, tapered wings and short, scaly legs, and cooing or crooning calls. The wild rock dove has long been domesticated and ‘escaped’ to live wild as the familiar town pigeon. There are many species all over the world.

Collared dove

Collared doves are a pale, pinky-brown grey colour, with a distinctive black neck collar (as the name suggests). They have deep red eyes and reddish feet. Their monotonous cooing will be a familiar so... More...

Collared dove

Rock dove

The rock dove is the wild ancestor of domestic pigeons the world over, domesticated originally to provide food. Feral pigeons come in all shades, some bluer, others blacker - some are pale grey with d... More...

Rock dove

Stock dove

Stock doves are similar in plumage and size to rock doves/feral pigeons. They are largely blue-grey with an attractive iridescent bottle green band on the back of the neck. In flight they show black e... More...

Stock dove

Turtle dove

The turtle dove is a dainty dove, smaller and darker than the collared dove and slightly larger than a blackbird. Its upperparts are distinctively mottled with chestnut and black and its black tail ha... More...

Turtle dove

Woodpigeon

The UK's largest and commonest pigeon, it is largely grey with a white neck patch and white wing patches, clearly visible in flight. Although shy in the countryside it can be tame and approachable in ... More...

Woodpigeon