The Collared Dove is smaller than a Woodpigeon and more delicate in shape and structure. Collared Doves are a creamy grey-buff in colour. When seen at close range, a black half collar on the back of the neck is clearly visible (in adults). The typical call is a clear and persistent three note 'coo COO cuk'.
The spread of Collared Doves across the United Kingdom has been very rapid. From the first breeding report (in Norfolk in 1955) the species was subsequently reported breeding in Kent and Lincolnshire in 1957, with birds seen as far north as Scotland at this stage. Two years later, Ireland was colonised and by 1970, there may have been as many as 25,000 pairs in Britain and Ireland. The BTO Common Birds Census revealed a five-fold increase in their population between 1972 and 1996.
Collared Doves are a reasonable size and are quite conspicuous. For this reason, they are popular with predators and are often taken by cats and Sparrowhawks. Collared Doves have very dusty feathers. This 'dust' can produce fantastically detailed prints on a window, if they should fly into one. These can show the detail of the individual feathers, the beak and even the eyelids! They are best viewed against a dark surface and can easily be photographed. If not cleaned off the window, they can last for several months, as the dust is oily and quite sticky.
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