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Wood Pigeon

Wood Pigeon Identification, Nesting & Food


18th January 2021

Wood Pigeon Identification

Length: 40cm.

The Wood Pigeon is larger than other European pigeons, and is heavily built. They have uniform grey-blue plumage, with a broad white wing-bar and (in adults only) a very pronounced white patch at the side of the neck. The head and rump are darker than the rest of the plumage. Their flanks and belly are pale and their breast is a cloudy wine-red colour. The sides of the neck are an iridescent purple and green. Both tail and flight feathers are black. The legs are pink and the bill has a pink base and yellowish tip. Youngsters are paler and have no black on the neck.

Wood Pigeon

Wood Pigeon Call

A subdued, rhythmical coo, ‘coo-coooo-coo-coo-coo’, repeated several times over.


Breeding is from April to September. They nest on hedges or in trees.
They normally lay two white, smooth, slightly shiny eggs. Incubation is shared, although the female undertakes the major part. The squabs or young pigeons are fed on ‘pigeon’s milk’, secreted from the crop.

How to tell the difference between a male and female wood pigeon

It is difficult to tell the difference between a male wood pigeon and a female wood pigeon. Both have an overall grey appearance with a mauve pink breast. Their feathers also have turquoise and white, and the back of the neck tends to be greenish in colour. Both have a reddish beak with a yellow tip. Females appear to be slightly thinner and paler than their male counterparts.

How long does a wood pigeon live?

On average, wood pigeons have a life expectancy of between 3 and 5 years. However, they can live for significantly longer than this, sometimes for up to 15 years.

Where do Wood Pigeons nest?

Generally frequents areas fairly well covered with trees, such as woods, thickets and plantations. Also present in meadow, cultivated land, open country, urban parks and gardens.

Natural Food

They eat plant matter, seeds, leaves, fruit, berries, nuts and flowers. They will occasionally eat worms and insects.

Where to Feed

Feeder – Not suitable
Table Feeder – Open topped
Ground Feed – Scatter food in the open