Common wood pigeon
Вя́хирь, витю́тень (ру.)
Paloma torcaz, torcaz (es.)
Order — Columbiformes.
Family — Columbidae.
Genus — Columba.
Species — Columba palumbus.
In the colder northern and eastern parts of its Europe and western Asia range the common wood pigeon is a migrant, but in southern and western Europe it is a well distributed and often abundant resident.
The Common Wood Pigeon is found in almost all natural habitats, and also in man-altered areas.
They favour well-wooded agricultural fields in lowlands and deciduous woodland edges, and usually avoid rocky and alpine habitats, treeless steppes and exposed coasts.
However, the N African races occur in mountainous areas and breed in wooded ravines.
This species is now common in urban areas, city parks and large avenues.
Length: 40-42 cm.
Wingspan: 75-80 cm.
Weight: 450-550 g.
Plumage is bluish grey, slightly duller on the wing.
Breast is pinkish.
Neck shows iridescent purple-pink and green feathers close to a white patch on the neck side..
Bill is pinkish-red at base and yellow at tip, with white cere.
Tail has a black tip and.
Wings have a prominent white patch.
Eyes are greenish white to pale golden, with narrow grey eye-ring.
Legs and feet are reddish.
Juvenile birds are browner and duller and lack the white patch on the neck. They can be confused with the smaller Stock Dove.
Wood Pigeons waddle when they walk, which adds to their general appearance of being overweight. In fact, the Wood Pigeon's feathers weigh more than its skeleton and it is Europe's largest pigeon.
In flight the bold white bar across the middle of the wing is very prominent.
Wood Pigeons feed on seeds, grain and crops, but will feed on almost anything that is placed on a bird table.
They also drink a lot, mainly because they do not get sufficient moisture from their food, unlike birds that eat earthworms, etc. An interesting feature about how they drink is that they use their beak like a straw, whereas other birds scoop the water up and throw their heads back to let it flow down their throats.
Doves and pigeons are very hardy birds. Seldom do they get sick if they are well cared for. Many are very cold hardy but they do not handle being in an environment that is wet, cool, and drafty.
Some of the signs of illness to be aware of are abnormal behavior such as sitting for longer than usual or being abnormally quiet, closed eyes, fluffed feathers, head nodding or head to one side, balance problems, sharply protruding breast bone, dirty vent, and slimy droppings.
Some of the more common illnesses your dove or pigeon could contract are pigeon pox, internal parasites such as threadworm, roundworm, or tapeworm, external parasites such as mites or ticks, wounds, salmonellosis, and parrot fever also known as psittacosis. An ailing dove or pigeon should be taken to a avian veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.
It breeds in trees in woods, parks and gardens, laying two white eggs in a simple stick nest which hatch after 17 to 19 days. Wood pigeons seem to have a preference for trees near roadways and rivers. Males exhibit aggressive behaviour towards each other during the breeding season by jumping and flapping wings at each other. Their plumage becomes much darker, especially the head, during hot summer periods.
The nests are vulnerable to attack, particularly by crows, because they live in the countryside, the more so early in the year when the leaf cover is not fully formed. The young usually fly at 33 to 34 days; however, if the nest is disturbed, some young may be able to survive having left the nest as early as 20 days from hatching.