Rock Dove

Rock Dove, Rotsduif, Felsentaube, Pombo-doméstico, Paloma Bravia

Spotted at the cliffs on the west coast  in the Alentejo region of Portugal.                         Rock Dove sound

Rock Dove Birding Portugal
Rock Dove

The species includes the domestic pigeon (including the fancy pigeon), and escaped domestic pigeons have given rise to feral populations around the world.

Wild Rock Doves are pale grey with two black bars on each wing, although domestic and feral pigeons are very variable in colour and pattern. There are few visible differences between males and females. The species is generally monogamous, with two squeakers (young) per brood. Both parents care for the young for a time.

Habitats include various open and semi-open environments. Cliffs and rock ledges are used for roosting and breeding in the wild. Originally found wild in Europe, North Africa, and western Asia, feral Pigeon have become established in cities around the world. The species is abundant, with an estimated population of 17 to 28 million feral and wild birds in Europe.

The adult of the nominate subspecies of the Rock Dove is 29 to 37 cm (11 to 15 in) long with a 62 to 72 cm (24 to 28 in) wingspan. Weight for wild or feral Rock Doves ranges from 238 to 380 grams (8.4-13.4 oz), though overfed domestic and semi-domestic individuals can exceed normal weights. It has a dark bluish-gray head, neck, and chest with glossy yellowish, greenish, and reddish-purple iridescence along its neck and wing feathers. The iris is orange, red or golden with a paler inner ring, and the bare skin round the eye is bluish-grey. The bill is grey-black with a conspicuous off-white cere, and the feet are purplish-red. Among standard measurements, the wing chord is typically around 22.3 cm (8.8 in), the tail is 9.5 to 11 cm (3.7 to 4.3 in), the bill is around 1.8 cm (0.71 in) and the tarsus is 2.6 to 3.5 cm (1.0 to 1.4 in).

The adult female is almost identical to the male, but the iridescence on the neck is less intense and more restricted to the rear and sides, while that on the breast is often very obscure.

The white lower back of the pure Rock Dove is its best identification character, the two black bars on its pale grey wings are also distinctive. The tail has a black band on the end and the outer web of the tail feathers are margined with white. It is strong and quick on the wing, dashing out from sea caves, flying low over the water, its lighter grey rump showing well from above.

Young birds show little lustre and are duller. Eye colour of the pigeon is generally orange but a few pigeons may have white-grey eyes. The eyelids are orange in colour and are encapsulated in a grey-white eye ring. The feet are red to pink.

When circling overhead, the white underwing of the bird becomes conspicuous. In its flight, behaviour, and voice, which is more of a dovecot coo than the phrase of the Wood Pigeon, it is a typical pigeon. Although it is a relatively strong flier, it also glides frequently, holding its wings in a very pronounced V shape as it does. Though fields are visited for grain and green food, it is nowhere so plentiful as to be a pest.

Pigeons feed on the ground in flocks or individually. They roost together in buildings or on walls or statues. When drinking, most birds take small sips and tilt their heads backwards to swallow the water. Pigeons are able to dip their bills into the water and drink continuously without having to tilt their heads back. When disturbed, a pigeon in a group will take off with a noisy clapping sound.

Pigeons, especially homing or carrier breeds, are well known for their ability to find their way home from long distances. Despite these demonstrated abilities, wild Rock Doves are sedentary and rarely leave their local areas.


Other synonyms

Afrikaans: Tuinduif
Asturian: Palomba
Breton: An dube, dubet, Pichon
Catalan: Colom roquer, Colom salvatge, Xixella
Catalan (Balears): Colom salvatge
Valencian: Xixella
Czech: holub domácí, Holub skalní
Welsh: Colomen ddôf, colomen y graig, Colomen y Graig/Colomen Ddôf
Danish: Klippedue
German: Felsentaube, Felsentaube/Verwilderte Haustaube, Haustaube, Strassentaube
Greek: aurioperistero
Emiliano-romagnolo: Clumbela
English: Carrier Pigeon, Common Pigeon, Domestic Dove, Domestic Pigeon, Feral Dove, Feral Pigeon, Feral Rock Pigeon, Homing Pigeon, Rock Dove, Rock Dove / Feral Pigeon, Rock dove pigeon, Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon, Rock Pigeon, Rock-Pigeon
Esperanto: Kolombo
Spanish: Paloma, Paloma bravia, Paloma Bravía, Paloma Casera, Paloma Común, Paloma de castilla, Paloma Doméstica
Spanish (Argentine): Paloma doméstica
Spanish (Chile): Paloma
Spanish (Colombia): Paloma Doméstica
Spanish (Costa Rica): Paloma Doméstica
Spanish (Dominican Rep.): Paloma Bravía, Paloma Doméstica
Spanish (Honduras): Paloma de castilla
Spanish (Mexico): Paloma Doméstica
Spanish (Nicaragua): Paloma Común
Spanish (Paraguay): Paloma casera
Spanish (Uruguay): Paloma Doméstica
Spanish (Venezuela): Paloma Doméstica
Estonian: kaljutuvi, Kodutuvi
Basque: Colom roquer, haitz-uso, Haitz-usoa
Finnish: Kalliokyyhky, Kesykyyhky
Faroese: bládúgva, Bládúva
French: Pigeon biset, Pigeon biset domestique, Pigeon de ville, Pigeon domestique
Friulian: colomp salvadi
Irish: colm aille, colu’r aille, pomba brava
Gaelic: Calman Creige
Galician: Colom roquer, Pombo das rochas
Guarani: Pykasu óga
Manx: calmane creggey, Calmane ny Creggey
Haitian Creole French: Pijon
Hindi: Mada pura
Croatian: Divlji Golub, Gradski Golub
Hungarian: Parlagi galamb, Szirti galamb
Indonesian: Merpati Batu
Icelandic: Bjargdúfa, Húsdúfa
Italian: Piccione, Piccione domestico, Piccione selvatico, Piccione selvatico semidomestico, Piccione terraiolo, Piccione torraiolo
Japanese: Dobato, kawarabato, Kawara-bato, kawarabato(dobato)
Cornish: Colom carrek, Colom wyls, kolomm an garrek
Latin: Columba livia
Ladino: colomba salvaria
Lithuanian: Balandis, Kieminis, Naminis karvelis, uolinis karvelis
Latvian: Klinšu balodis
Malagasy: Voromailala
Macedonian: div gulab
Malay: Merpati
Dutch: Postduif, Rotsduif
Norwegian: Bydue, Klippe-/Bydue, Klippedue, Klippedue (bydue), Klippedue (Domestisert: Bydue), Klippedue / Bydue, Klippedue bydue, Klippedue/Bydue
Portuguese: pombo da rocha, Pombo o pombo-doméstico, Pombo-das-rochas, Pombo-doméstico
Portuguese (Brazil): Pombo-doméstico
Romansh: columba da chasa, Columba da chasa selvadia, columba selvadia
Romanian: porumbel de stânca
Romany: bareski-golumbaika, baresko-golumbo
Russian: Sizy Golub, sizyj golub’
Sardinian: agreste, Columbu agreste, columbu aresti, columbu de is arrocas, didu, tidori, tidu, tzidu
Scots: Calman creige, calman-creige
Northern Sami: bákteduvvá, Duvvá
Slovak: holub divý , holub skalný
Slovenian: domaci golob, skalni golob
Albanian: pëllumbi i egër i shkëmbit
Serbian: divlji golub, Golub pecinar, Golub pecinar, divlji golub, pitomi golub
Sotho, Southern: Leeba-la-sekhooa
Swedish: Klippduva, Tamduva
Swahili: Njiwa-mjini
Turkmen: kaya güvercini
Turkish: Güvercin, Kaya güvercini


Birdwatching in the Alentejo region of Portugal Guided Birdwatching tours and Trips.

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