Wood Pigeon

Wood Pigeon

Key facts

Scientific name: Columba palumbus
Status: Resident breeding species

Breeding birds: 5,400,000 pairs

Conservation status: Green

Family: Pigeons & doves

Length: 40 – 42 cm
Wingspan: 75 – 80 cm
Weight: 480 – 550 g


Wood pigeons have blue-grey plumage which is slightly duller on their wings. Their breasts are pinkish and the belly is creamy-white. They have black flight feathers with white edges and a white band on open wings. Their tail is grey with a white terminal band.

They have iridescent purple and green feathers on the neck with a white patch on the side. Their heads are blue-grey, and they have red bills with a yellow tip. Their eyes are green or golden, and legs and feet are red.

Female wood pigeons are similar to males but with smaller neck patches and a duller breast.

Juveniles are paler with a pale rust-coloured breast. They do not have the iridescence or white patches on their necks and their eyes are darker.


Wood pigeons breed any time from February to September. They build their nests about 2 m from the ground in a fork or a tree, or a branch. It is made from twigs and lined with grass and leaves. Wood pigeons will often reuse their nests and over time the nest will become bulkier.

Wood pigeons lay 1-3 white eggs which are incubated by both parents for 16-17 days. The chicks fledge 28-29 days after hatching.


Wood pigeons eat mainly plant matter such as leaves, buds, flowers, seeds, and berries. They will also feed on invertebrates such as worms, beetles, spiders, slugs, and snails.

Wood Pigeon

Where to see them

Wood pigeons are found across the UK in fields and woods, as well as parks and gardens in towns and cities.


Andrew Harrop/xeno-canto

Did you know?

The wood pigeon’s crop can hold up to 15 acorns.

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