Stock dove

©Gillian Day

Stock dove

Scientific name: Columba oenas
The stock dove looks very much like the Woodpigeon, but without the white neck and wing patches. It can be spotted in woodlands and parks, and on farmland in winter, but rarely visits our gardens.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 32-34cm
Wingspan: 66cm
Weight: 300g
Average lifespan: 3 years

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as Amber under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015).

When to see

January to December

About

The stock dove is a medium-sized pigeon that nests in holes in trees and in farm buildings. It is a common bird of woodland edges and parkland during the breeding season and can be seen in small flocks on farmland in winter. Unlike the woodpigeon, it is very rarely found in towns and gardens. It feeds on seeds, leaves, grains, fruit, peas and root crops.

How to identify

The stock dove is smaller than the similar-looking woodpigeon, and slimmer than the feral pigeon. Blue-grey, with a pink chest and an iridescent green patch on its neck, it does not have the white patches on the neck and wings that the woodpigeon has.

Distribution

Widespread, but absent from the north of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Did you know?

The stock dove will even nest in rabbit warrens. Years ago, in East Anglia, occupied rabbit holes were covered up with crossed sticks so that the parents could feed the chicks, but the chicks could not leave the nest. They were then taken for the pot when they were ready

How people can help

Across town and country, The Wildlife Trusts manage nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.