Columba livia (JF Gmelin, 1789)
Family: Columbiformes > Columbidae
If you were searching for Feral Pigeon you have been redirected to our Rock Dove page because this species is the ancestor of the Feral Pigeon.
- You can find information about both Rock Doves and Feral Pigeons on this page.
- You can learn more about both birds in our blog, Wild Rock Doves: solving a genetic enigma.
A deep-red eye, pale-grey plumage, two black wingbars and a white rump make the Rock Dove a beautiful bird.
The Rock Dove is the ancestor of the Feral Pigeon, but truly wild birds occupy a very different setting to their urban cousins. Wild Rock Doves are confined to our northern rocky coasts and islands and nest in sea caves and on steep cliff ledges, whilst Feral Pigeons use a range of human structures, from windowsills to the underside of bridges.
Wild Rock Doves are ringed as part of the Ringing Scheme, results from which reveal that they can live to over seven years of age and, unlike their racing relatives, rarely move very far.
Select a topic for more facts and statistics about the Rock Dove
Rock Dove identification is often straightforward.
Listen to example recordings of the main vocalisations of Rock Dove, provided by xeno-canto contributors.
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Status and Trends
Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.
This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.
Pure Rock Doves are thought to be restricted to remote coastlines of north and west Scotland and north, west and south Ireland. Elsewhere, birds resembling Rock Doves occur in many Feral Pigeon flocks. Owing to the difficulty of assigning such individuals to each form the maps here combine Rock Doves and Feral Pigeons. The resulting maps show this resident species to be widespread in Britain, though largely absent from the uplands of central Wales, northwest England, the Southern Uplands and Scottish Highlands. In Ireland it is found mostly in the east and south, and is absent from large parts of the midlands.
Occupied 10-km squares in UK
|No. occupied in breeding season
|% occupied in breeding season
|No. occupied in winter
|% occupied in winter
European Distribution Map
Change in occupied 10-km squares in the UK
|% change in range in breeding season (1968–72 to 2008–11)
|% change in range in winter (1981–84 to 2007–11)
Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.
Lifecycle and body size information about Rock Dove, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.
View number ringed each year in the Online Ringing Report
|Maximum Age from Ringing
|7 years 8 months 25 days (set in 2010)
|3 years with breeding typically at 1 year
|0.57 (in first year)
|229.3±7.1 | Range 218–241mm, N=58
|360±43.06 | Range 299–441g, N=57
Feather measurements and photos on featherbase
|2-letter: DV | 5-letter code: ROCDO | Euring: 6650
For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name
Links to more information from ConservationEvidence.com
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