The three Western European Columba pigeons, Wood Pigeon, Stock Dove, and Rock Pigeon, though superficially alike, have very distinctive characteristics. The Wood Pigeon may be identified at once by its larger size at 38-44.5 cm (15.0-17.5 in) and 300-615 g, and the white on its neck and wing. It is otherwise a basically grey bird, with a pinkish breast. The wingspan can range from 68 to 80 cm (27 to 31 in). The tail measures 13.8 to 15 cm (5.4 to 5.9 in), the bill is 1.9 to 2.2 cm (0.75 to 0.87 in). Juvenile birds do not have the white patches on either side of the neck.

Habitat and Distribution

In the colder northern and eastern parts of its Europe and western Asia range the Wood Pigeon is a migrant, but in southern and western Europe it is a well distributed and often abundant resident. It breeds in trees in woods, parks and gardens. Wood Pigeons seem to have a preference for trees near roadways and rivers.


Most of its diet is vegetable, round and fleshy leaves taken from open fields or gardens and lawns. Young shoots and seedlings are favoured, and it will take grain, pine nuts, and some fruits and berries. They eat larvae and ants as well.


They lay two white eggs in a simple stick nest which hatch after 17 to 19 days.

Calls and Songs

The call is a characteristic cooing.