Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)
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Wood Pigeons eat seeds, berries, fruits, grain, clover and bread. Sometimes they can be seen feeding on nut bags but because of their large size they generally forage on the ground and if they are disturbed when feeding they clap their wings to scare off other birds. Chicks are fed on crop milk rather than larvae or seeds.
Although it looks fat, a Wood Pigeon’s feathers actually weigh more than its skeleton! It’s the largest and most common Pigeon in the UK and is easy to spot with its long tail, white wing markings and deep belly. They have a mauve pink breast with splashes of turquoise and white, and the sides and back of the neck are glossy green with a purple sheen. Females appear slightly thinner and paler than males but both have a reddish bill with a yellow tip. Juvenile birds have adult wing markings but no other patches of colour.
Especially common in gardens, parks and other urban areas Wood Pigeons are happy with most habitats, and being very adaptable to change has allowed them to colonise all over Europe. They nest high in trees and sometimes in buildings, putting together a flimsy nest of twigs similar to that of the Collared Dove – it’s not a particularly safe haven for the eggs or young chicks! Their brood consists of 2 white eggs which incubate for 17 days.