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Rock Dove

About Rock Dove

This bird is a plump-bodied bird with a short neck, small head and short bill with fleshy “cere” at base around nostrils. Wild birds form bluish-gray with paler wings and back; iridescent green and purple gloss at sides of neck; wingtips darker with two black wing bars; white rump visible in flight; black-tipped tail. Their legs are purplish-red; bill black, cere whitish. Feral “town pigeon” has similar form but thicker bill with large white cere, and very variable plumage.

These birds breed mainly in the spring and summer, but often all year round, in colonies. Their nest is a sparse platform of twigs, stems or roots, and they have 2 white eggs, and both parents take care of the chicks.

Wild Rock Doves inhabit rocky, windswept cliffs and crags in remote regions on coasts and inland, where they use their agility on the wing to swoop and glide on the turbulent updrafts around the rock faces.

One thing this bird is well known for is its ability to find its way home from great distances. Wild Rock Doves never stray far from their breeding sites, so this instinct is a mystery.