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Rock Dove (Pigeon)

Columba livia

Length: 14 inches Wingspan: 24 inches Seasonality: Permanent Resident
ID Keys: Two dark wing bars, iridescent feathering on head and neck

Rock Dove - Columba liviaAlong with the House Sparrow, probably the most familiar of introduced bird species in the United States.  First introduced into the United States in the 1600's, the domesticated form of the Rock Dove is often called the "homing pigeon", due to its strong abilities in returning to a home location upon a distant release.  Perhaps less detrimental to native birds than many introduced species, the presence of Rock Doves in urban settings is largely responsible for supporting urban populations of Peregrine Falcons and Merlins.

Habitat: Primarily found around cities and other human-occupied locations and structures.  Can also be found in wild settings such as around cliffs and bluffs.

Diet: Primarily feeds on seeds. In cities, will attend feeders for most seeds, but will also take a wide variety of human foods.  In rural settings, feeds on waste grain and many types of seeds.

Behavior: Forages by walking along the ground, picking food items off the surface.   Gregarious, often feeding in flocks.

Nesting: May through August

Song: Familiar repetitive cooing.

Migration: Non-migratory throughout its range.

Interactive eBird Map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Rock Dove sightings

Similar Species: Band-Tailed Pigeon

Feeders: Will attend for most seeds, as well as a very wide variety of human food including bread, other baked goods, and popcorn.

Conservation Status: Numbers steady throughout its range, abundant in cities throughout the United States, despite eradication efforts in some areas.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Rock Dove

2) Cornell University's "All About Birds - Rock Dove"

3) Rock Dove

Photo Information: December 9th, 2011 - San Francisco, California - Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on image chips below for higher-resolution photos of the Rock Dove.


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Rock Dove - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common permanent resident throughout the state.

Additional Rock Dove Photos
Click for a higher-resolution version of these photos
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