Spotting a Collared Dove
Collared doves are a type of pigeon. They have creamy grey feathers with a black half ‘collar’ around their neck and quite long tail feathers. You’ll normally see them on their own or in a pair.
The number of collared doves in Britain has fallen slightly since 2005. This is thought to be because of competition for food and nesting space from wood pigeons. It could also be because of disease.
Collard doves have been in Britain since 1955 when the first breeding pair was spotted in Norfolk.
Males are territorial and will fight a fierce and long battle with competing males.
They mate for life and look after their young together. Females can breed many times a year, so long as the weather is mild.
Nests are made from sticks, forming a loose platform, in trees or shrubs. You may also spot them nesting on the ledges or guttering of buildings. They’ll lay two eggs at a time and will raise up to six broods a year!
Their young are ready to leave the nest at just 17 days old and as soon as they do their parents will start a new family. The young then move away, usually in a westwards direction. They live for around 3 years. The oldest recorded collared dove lived until 17 years old!
Collard doves have a mainly vegetarian diet of grain and seeds. In the spring they may eat caterpillars and aphids and in the autumn they’ll eat berries.
Did you know…
The collard dove can travel huge distances. Before 1930 collard doves were only found in Asia. After 1930 they began to spread westwards and the first breeding pair reached Britain in 1955.
No one knows why they suddenly began moving west from Asia.
By the 1970’s they could be found living all over Britain. Since then they have reached as far west as America and as far north as the Arctic circle, north of Norway!
Feeding Collared Doves
They will feed from a bird table but prefer to feed from the ground. Leave out a seed mix for them.
Collard doves do not use a nest box.
Visit an RSBP Reserve
Visit somewhere with loads of birds! There are hundreds of nature reserves – find one near you on the RSPB website. (Takes you to an external site).