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The Eurasian Collared-Dove, A Non-Indigenous Species

Updated on November 20, 2012
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Eurasian Collared-Dove | Source

Historical Information

Not only are the European Starling and the House Sparrow non-indigenous, but we must add the Eurasian Collared-Dove to that list, as well. This large dove was introduced to the Bahama Islands in 1974 from the Eurasian continent. By the time that the end of the 1970’s rolled around, this bird had made it to Florida. It was common to see feeding in parks, backyard feeders, and small towns. By the time 2000 had come, the Collared-Dove was well-established, meandering up the Atlantic coast to North Carolina, across the Gulf to Texas, and up the Mississippi to Tennessee. There were records of it in Pennsylvania and Oklahoma. Now, I believe it is a fixture in most states.

Oddly enough, it first bred in Great Britain in 1955 and within ten years, it was thought that there were probably at least 20,000 birds in the country. It is highly likely that the original colonists were further augmented by other birds.



The most distinguishing characteristic about the Eurasian Collared-Dove is that it has a black half-moon shape trimmed with white on the nape of the neck.

This bird is similar to other doves, a little less shy around people, and prefers to live around humanity. It continually coos hoo-HOOOOOO-hoo. It is generally a solitary bird, but also pairs and stays with family groups, but never becomes involved with large flocks. They will feed near homes, enjoying seed and grains. The dove feeds on farms, lawns, roadsides, and agricultural areas.

This monogamous and gentle dove is fairly common and still spreading. They are attracted to feeding stations, birdbaths, and garden pools.

Specifics on the Species

The male will display for the female and will also coo to her while perched on a roof, power lines, or in a tree. The nest is made from dry stalks and twigs, located in shrubs, trees, eaves of houses, and on balconies, about six to seven feet from the ground. The male collects the materials, and the female builds the nest. The young are fed and tended by both parents, and they can have up to six broods per year in Europe, as well as Florida.

The Eurasian Collared-Dove is non-migratory, weighs about five ounces, and it is impossible for us to tell male from female apart at first glance. Luckily, the birds can handle that!


All Their Own...

All birds in this family(pigeons and doves) have a rather unique way to feed their young. Both sexes produce what is called “pigeon’s milk.” During breeding season, cells that line their crops thicken and become filled with nutrients. These cells are then sloughed off, and regurgitated for the young.

My Experiences with Doves and Pigeons

When I did volunteer work for Tri-State Bird Rescue, I found that both pigeons and doves as youngsters were very sweet and friendly toward anyone that was willing to hold and cuddle them. They both had yellow pinfeathers and enjoyed putting their heads between one’s fingers and cooing while they did so. Even when they were put in the outdoor cages to acclimate to the outdoors, they used to climb onto my shoes. If they were on rope perches, they would also come as close as they could to where my head was. Then suddenly, they would reach that inevitable day where they were “grown up,” and wanted nothing more to do with people, even though they nuzzled the day before. They all must grow up sometime!

Do You Feed Doves and Pigeons with Your Songbirds?

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    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks for sharing, Kris. I never met the collared dove until I arrived in OK.

    • KrisL profile image


      6 years ago from S. Florida

      Good to know more about them . . . they often come to the feeder at the old age home my father as it, apparently in a small flock, though it may be a temporary group of couples.

      I didn't see the bird in New England or Texas where I lived before, but in my small South Florida city they are as common as pigeons, although they have not driven the mourning doves out completely.

      They also have a loud wheezy call the Cornell bird lab calls a "loud hwaah." It's the only ugly thing about them.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Mycee. I do so enjoy all the surprises at the lake.

    • unknown spy profile image

      Not Found 

      6 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      fantastic and detailed hub Deb. beautiful birds.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Tri-State was fantastic. I learned so much, free of charge.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Johan, you know that I will always do that.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      6 years ago from Western NC

      Beautiful birds and beautiful hub! Tri-State Bird Rescue sounds like a dream for you. Awesome! :)

    • Johan Smulders profile image

      Johan Smulders 

      6 years ago from East London, South Africa

      You are keeping me interrested and informed about the birding scene in the USA. Thanks!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, summerberrie, they are on their way north. Great little birds, though.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I remember seeing these doves in Fla many years back. Then just a few years ago we have them here near Charleston. I think they are traveling up I95 with the armadillos. Thanks for providing all the great information about these interesting birds.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      suziecats, they are nice little birds. Glad that they are in the area so you can enjoy them.

    • suziecat7 profile image


      6 years ago from Asheville, NC

      I love the sound of doves and have seen these here in North Carolina. Enjoyed this Hub - thanks..

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, James, it is pretty amazing. Most times, people do the work for them, then leave them to their own devices.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      So you knopw exactly that I'm talking about, Nettlemere. Glad to hear it.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, girishpuri! Glad that you found it useful, thanks.

    • JKenny profile image

      James Kenny 

      6 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Interesting hub Deb! Of course we have Collared Doves here in Britain, but they're relatively recent arrivals having gradually colonised Britain all by themselves. Apparently prior to the fifties, they were mostly confined to India, so they're one of the few animals that have colonised new territory without any sort of human involvement. Fascinating!

    • Nettlemere profile image


      6 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Collared doves are a non native but now naturalised and ubiquitous species in the UK too. Nice to read about your experiences of them in rescue. I hand reared one once and it was very sweet natured, like you describe.

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 

      6 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      Great share about birds, this adds to my knowledge, useful hub.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      You are very welcome, Mhatter. I do so enjoy doing this.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this information

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      You are passing Bird School with flying colors, Billy. Thanks, once again.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Your hubs are always fascinating and very informative. Thanks for taking me to bird school once again.


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