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Woodpigeons have a mixed reception from people, some regard them as pests, that steal from the bird feeder, the valuable seed put out for the small birds, while others in towns and cities go out of their way to feed them in parks and gardens.

They do not do much good for farmers and gardeners. Eating plants, seeds, and anything else you care to set. However to others they are a beautiful, large bird that can be tamed, and feed from close range, showing off his shiny plumage of blues and greys and pinks. They may be seen regularly in large flocks in fields in the countryside.

They build shallow and flimsy nests, that are little more than see through platforms for the female to sit on her shiny pure white eggs. When hatched the young are called squabs, and the mother feeds them milk formed from fluid-filled cells in the crop lining and this is more nutritious than human or cow's milk.

Quick Facts

17 days

Clutch Size
2 eggs

Egg Weight
18.9 g

Egg Size
41x29 mm

First Record
7th Century

Towns, woodland


78 cm

41 cm

Status in UK
Resident Breeder, Winter Visitor

Conservation Status UK

Number in Britain
5 million

Number of broods
1 or 2

33-34 days

First clutches laid
Late Feb

Age at First Breeding
1 year

Typical Lifespan
3 years

Maximum Recorded Age
17 years, 8 months

  • The population is estimated at about 2.5 million pairs, it is by a long way the most prolific large wild bird in Britain.
  • Evidence shows that Wood Pigeons breed throughout the year, the peak month for fledglings is August.
  • The amount of food it can hold in its crop is extraordinary; as many as 200 beans, 1,000 wheat grains and 15 acorns.
  • In winter they fill their crop to fully digest the food overnight. They are almost vegetarian.
  • The babies are called squabs, and are fed by both parents on a liquid called crop, or pigeon milk.
  • Feeding flocks may number several thousands.
  • The Wood Pigeon are a very flexible bird, if there are not many trees they will build inside buildings or on the ground. The nest is an uncomplicated platform of twigs.

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