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Collared Dove

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Scientific Name: Streptopelia decaocto
Size: 29-32cm
Weight: 200g
Wingspan: 51cm
Lifespan: 3 years
Breeding: March
Number of Clutches: 2-5
Number of Eggs: 2
Incubation Days: 16-17
Fledg Days: 17-19
Habitat: Open woodland, scrub, gardens
Distribution: Europe, c&s Asia, ne Africa


A small and slim bird, the Collared Dove has predominantly pale brown-grey plumage, having a slight pink flush to the breast area, dark grey wingtips, long tail, red legs, black bill and a distinguishing black and white collar to the rear half of the neck. In juvenile birds this neck collar is lacking and the plumage tends to more of a darker brown. It is thought, due to the reaction of other birds when Collared Doves fly overhead, coupled with its slim nature and the length of its tail, that their silhouette is occasionally mistaken for that of a Sparrowhawk.


The Collared Doves nest is almost incredible in its simplicity: a flimsy platform of twigs in a tree, but sometimes on a building. The white oval eggs are smooth and glossy, and about 31 mm by 23 mm in size. Both parents share the duty of incubating the eggs and feeding the nestlings.


The Collared Dove feeds mainly on cereal grain and small seeds on the ground, but will also eat berries in the autumn and, more rarely, caterpillars and aphids in the spring. In the garden, they will occasionally feed on small bird seed or bread crumbs placed on either the ground or the bird table, but are increasingly managing to feed from hanging bird feeders, especially if seed trays are fitted. The nestlings are fed on "crop milk", which is rich in protein and fat, and is secreted from the crop.

Legal Status

The colonisation of Britain by the Collared Dove is a remarkable story - no Collared Doves bred in Britain before 1955 - and so no conservation measures are necessary.


The monotonous, loud cooing song of the Collared Dove sounds like "coo-Coo-coo", but is perhaps best remembered as either "u-nit-ed" or "I don't know". The call is a harsh "kwurr".

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