[order] Columbiformes | [family] Columbidae | [latin] Columba oenas | [UK] Stock Pigeon | [FR] Pigeon colombin | [DE] Hohltaube | [ES] Paloma Zurita | [IT] Colombella | [NL] Holenduif

Holenduif determination

copyright: J. Rochefort

General color blue grey, with primaries and secondaries with black tips, conspicuous in flight. Two short black bars across upperpart of folded wing with a third shorter and fainter, though in male sometimes quite conspicuous. Breast mauve-pink, iridescent patch of green and mauve-pink on both sides of neck, in some individuals meeting across hindneck. Tail grey with terminal black band, outermost rectrices with white edges. Iris dark brown, orbital skin blue-grey, bill pink basally and yellow distally, cere white, legs red. Female duller, with legs and bill darker. Juvenile even duller, mauve-pink of breast replaced by rusty fawn, legs dark. Race yarkandensis averages paler, with slightly longer wing.

Fairly open country, often in cultivation, and extending into open woodland. Partial to borders between forest and open country, with many old trees providing breeding hollows.

Columba oenas is a widespread breeder across much of Europe, which constitutes >75% of its global breeding range. Its European breeding population is large (>520,000 pairs), and increased between 1970-1990. Although there were declines across much of its range during 1990-2000-particularly in eastern Europe-key populations in France, Germany, Netherlands and the United Kingdom all increased, and the species underwent a moderate increase overall.
This dove inhabits Mediterranean, temperate and boreal regions of Europe and western Asia, eastwards to Mongolia and western China. It is breeding in tree holes of old beach (Fagus) or pine (Pinus) forests, but it feeds largely in open areas. In some regions it is well adapted to urban habitats. The birds of western Europe and the Mediterranean regions are sedentary, but those of northern and central Europe winter in the Mediterranean regions. The population of the European Union is estimated at 390000 breeding pairs, and exhibits contrasting trends : in Germany and Greece it seems quite stable; in France and Spain it is decreasing

Main diet based on vegetation parts, like seeds, grain, green leaves, buds, flowers and some invertebrates. Mostly feeds on the ground

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 10,000,000 kmē. It has a large global population, including an estimated 1,200,000-1,600,000 individuals in Europe (BirdLife International in prep.). Global population trends have not been quantified, but populations appear to be stable so the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

Prefers to nest in holes which may be in old trees, rock crevices, rabbit burrows or buildings. Nest may found in clumps of dense vegetation of even under bushes. Nest is usually a twig platform, although sometimes eggs are laid on bare wood. 2 white eggs, incubation 16-18 days.

Northern populations, like those of Fenno-Scandia and E Europe, are almost all migratory; moving further south, populations are progressively less migratory; in S Europe and Asia Minor birds mainly resident. Birds winter in Iberia and southern half of France, as well as rest of N Mediterranean basin.