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Eurasian Collared-Dove

Streptopelia decaocto ORDER: COLUMBIFORMES FAMILY: COLUMBIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

With a flash of white tail feathers and a flurry of dark-tipped wings, the Eurasian Collared-Dove settles onto phone wires and fence posts to give its rhythmic three-parted coo. This chunky relative of the Mourning Dove gets its name from the black half-collar at the nape of the neck. A few Eurasian Collared-Doves were introduced to the Bahamas in the 1970s. They made their way to Florida by the 1980s and then rapidly colonized most of North America.

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Keys to identification Help

Doves
Doves
Typical Voice
  • Size & Shape

    Eurasian Collared-Doves have plump bodies, small heads, and long tails. They’re larger than Mourning Doves but slimmer and longer-tailed than a Rock Pigeon. The wings are broad and slightly rounded. The broad tail is squared off at the tip, rather than pointed like a Mourning Dove’s.

  • Color Pattern

    Eurasian Collared-Doves are chalky light brown to gray-buff birds with broad white patches in the tail. The bird’s collar is a narrow black crescent around the nape of the neck. In flight and when perched, the wingtips are darker than the rest of the wing.

  • Behavior

    Eurasian Collared-Doves perch on telephone poles, wires, and in large trees and give incessant three-syllable coos. Their strong flight pattern features bursts of clipped wingbeats and looping glides. When walking these doves bob their heads and flick their tails. Eurasian Collared-Doves often feed at backyard seed feeders and on spilled grain in stockyards and around silos.

  • Habitat

    Eurasian Collared-Doves live in urban and suburban areas throughout much of the U.S. except the Northeast. In rural settings look for them on farms and in livestock yards where grain is available. In cooler months, flocks may roost together in large trees.

Range Map Help

Eurasian Collared-Dove Range Map
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Field MarksHelp

  • Adult

    Eurasian Collared-Dove

    Adult
    • Large, heavy-bodied dove
    • Black collar visible on sides and back of neck
    • Mostly tan or gray above, paler gray below
    • Unmarked wings and squared tail
    • © Carlos Escamilla, Lake Casablanca State Park, Laredo, Texas, January 2011
  • Adult

    Eurasian Collared-Dove

    Adult
    • Heavy-bodied dove with squared tail
    • Black collar visible on back of neck
    • Mostly pale gray and tan
    • Gray undertail
    • © Gary Tyson, Cedar Key, Florida, June 2010
  • Adult pair

    Eurasian Collared-Dove

    Adult pair
    • Heavy-bodied with squared tail
    • Black collar usually visible
    • Mostly gray and tan
    • Unmarked wings
    • © Carlos Escamilla, Laredo, Texas, July 2010
  • Adult

    Eurasian Collared-Dove

    Adult
    • Large dove with squared tail
    • Black collar on sides and back of neck
    • Gray and tan body
    • Unmarked wings
    • © Tripp Davenport, Deep Creek Ranch, Uvalde County, Texas, February 2010
  • Adult

    Eurasian Collared-Dove

    Adult
    • Large, heavy-bodied dove
    • Squared tail
    • Thin black collar around back of neck
    • Gray undertail
    • © Stephen Ramirez, Lajitas, Texas, March 2010
  • Adult

    Eurasian Collared-Dove

    Adult
    • Heavy-bodied dove with thin black collar
    • Gray and tan body, paler below
    • Unmarked wings
    • Squared tail
    • © Ganesh Jayaraman, Moss Landing, California, February 2010

Similar Species

  • Adult

    African Collared-Dove

    Adult
    • Smaller and paler than Eurasian Collared-Dove
    • White under-tail
    • Feral populations established in Florida, Texas and California, but expanding
    • © Raymond Lee, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, May 2011
  • Adult

    Mourning Dove

    Adult
    • Similar to Eurasian Collared-Dove but smaller and more slender
    • Long, pointed tail
    • Black spots on wings
    • © Laura Erickson, Merritt Island NWR, Florida, February 2010
  • Adult

    Mourning Dove

    Adult
    • More slender and darker than Eurasian Collared-Dove
    • Long pointed tail
    • © Mary Fran, New Hampshire, April 2007
  • Adult

    White-winged Dove

    Adult
    • Stockier and darker than Eurasian Collared-Dove
    • Bold white patch on wings
    • Small black mark below cheek
    • © Ned Harris, Sabino Canyon, Tucson, Arizona, May 2010

Similar Species

Mourning Doves are smaller and richer brown than Eurasian Collared-Doves, with a pointed tail and black spots on the back. Mourning Doves lack a black half-collar on the neck. The White-winged Dove is a deeper brown than the pale, chalky brown of a Eurasian Collared-Dove. White-winged Dove has large white patches on the wings that are visible even when the wing is folded; they also have a shorter tail. African Collared-Doves are very similar to Eurasian Collared-Doves and are hard to distinguish in the field. They are far less common than Eurasian Collared-Doves; except for small populations in a handful of southern cities, African Collared-Doves seen in North America are usually escapees. If you think you’ve seen an African Collared-Dove, look for a slightly paler, smaller bird with pale wingtips that don’t contrast sharply with the rest of the wing. The undertail coverts are white (not gray) and there is only a limited amount of black at the base of the tail.

Backyard Tips

Eurasian Collared-Doves readily come to seed and grain, particularly millet, strewn on the ground or placed on platform feeders. They often nest near houses and other developed areas where food is easily available.

Find This Bird

Eurasian Collared-Doves continue to expand their range and can now be found across much of the country. If you live in this species’ range but haven’t yet identified it, take a second look at your Mourning Doves: look for the collared-dove’s prominent white patches in the tail, dark-tipped wings, and the black collar at the nape of the neck, as well as the overall chunkier size. The collared-dove’s mournful koo-KOO-kook call is shorter, more impatient, and more frequent than that of the Mourning Dove.

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