Eurasian Collared-Dove Life History

Habitat

Habitat TownsEurasian Collared-Doves are found throughout much of North America in urban and suburban settings with access to bird feeders and other seed sources. In agricultural areas they seek open sites where grain is available, including farmyards, fields, and areas around silos. Though evidence is mixed, they appear to avoid areas with heavy forest cover or extremely cold temperatures, which may help explain their absence from the Northeast.Back to top

Food

Food SeedsEurasian Collared-Doves eat mainly seed and cereal grain such as millet, sunflower, milo, wheat, and corn. They also eat some berries and green parts of plants, as well as invertebrates.Back to top

Nesting

Nest Placement

Nest TreeMales show females potential nest sites in trees and on buildings, giving a low- pitched, slow koo-KOO-kook call at each site. Nests are usually built 10 or more feet above the ground. In warmer regions, Eurasian Collared-Doves can nest year-round, which may help explain their success as colonizers.

Nest Description

The male dove brings the female twigs, grasses, roots and other nesting materials, which he sometimes pushes directly under her. Over 1 to 3 days she builds a simple platform nest, which may include feathers, wool, string and wire. A pair often uses the same nest for multiple broods during the year, and may renovate old nests.

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:1-2 eggs
Number of Broods:3-6 broods
Egg Length:1.1-1.2 in (2.7-3.1 cm)
Egg Width:0.8-0.9 in (2.1-2.4 cm)
Incubation Period:14-19 days
Nestling Period:17 days
Egg Description:Smooth, white, slightly glossy.
Condition at Hatching:Covered in down.
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Behavior

Behavior Ground ForagerEurasian Collared-Doves roost on utility poles, wires, and tall trees in open areas near feeding sites. Mainly ground foragers, they peck at grain and seeds scattered beneath backyard feeders and on feeding platforms, or spilled at farmyards. Flocks of 10 to several hundred doves may gather at prime spots. Although they can feed peacefully in mixed flocks, Eurasian Collared-Doves will also chase off other birds, including Mourning Doves, cardinals, and Blue Jays. The male advertises for a mate with an insistent koo-KOO-kook call from a high perch, repeating the call up to a dozen times in a bout, sometimes starting before dawn and continuing into the night. Calls are followed by a flight display in which the male flies steeply upward, clapping his wings, then descends with tail spread, often spiraling down to the same or a nearby perch. Once a pair has formed, males show females potential nest sites, usually in tall trees but occasionally on buildings. In between these “site visits” the pair vigorously preen each other. Male doves bring females sticks and other material for the simple nest, and aggressively chase away other collared-doves, as well as predators—venture too close and you risk getting hit by a flapping wing. The monogamous pair may raise up to six broods a year; the female can lay a new clutch while young are still in a previous nest.Back to top

Conservation

Conservation Low ConcernSince their introduction into Florida in the early 1980s, Eurasian Collared-Doves have spread rapidly and now occur throughout much of the U.S., especially in areas converted to agriculture and urban uses. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 8 million with 5% living in the U.S. The species rates a 5 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Eurasian Collared-Dove is not on the 2016 State of North America's Birds' Watch List. Both intentional and accidental introductions in North America have likely hastened the species' spread. Studies on interactions between collared-doves and other species have not yet shown a negative impact on populations of native birds, including Mourning Doves. As an introduced species, Eurasian Collared-Doves are not protected from hunting and have become popular game birds in rural areas of the Southeast and Texas.Back to top

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 out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

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Credits

Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin and D. Wheye (1988). The birder's handbook. A Field Guide to the natural history of North American birds, including all species that regularly breed north of Mexico. Simon and Schuster Inc., New York, USA.

Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

Partners in Flight (2017). Avian Conservation Assessment Database. 2017.

Romagosa, Christina Margarita. 2012. Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Sauer, J. R., D. K. Niven, J. E. Hines, D. J. Ziolkowski, Jr., K. L. Pardieck, J. E. Fallon, and W. A. Link (2017). The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966–2015. Version 2.07.2017. USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD, USA.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, USA.

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