Identification

The woodpigeon is a large, stocky bird with largely grey colouration. The breast is more of a pinkish-brown and there is a white band across the wings. Adult birds also have a white neck ring.

The cooing call of the woodpigeon is quite recognisable, a familiar coo-coo-coo, coo-coo.

Size

38-43cm (15-17in) long. 68-77cm (27-31in) wingspan.

Distribution

The woodpigeon is found as a resident species all over the UK, except on the highest ground.

Status

Woodpigeons are not considered to be threatened, and indeed populations appear to be expanding. It is thought that changes in farming practices that have caused problems for other bird species are benefitting woodpigeons, increasing their abundance. They are one of the most common birds in the UK and as such have no conservation action targeted at them. Often they are considered a pest due to their crop-raiding habits.

Habitat preference

Woodpigeons are common in urban areas, such as parks and gardens and even city centre environments. They are also found in open countryside, on farmland and in woods.

Where to find them in the garden

Woodpigeons are on the increase in gardens and can be seen quite easily due to their conspicuous appearance. They may be found foraging on the lawn, perched in trees and shrubs, or taking food from the bird table.

Role in the garden

The increased use of gardens by woodpigeons has led to them being considered a pest by many. Their size means that they can eat a lot of food and scare other birds from the bird table. They feed mainly on a range of vegetation, and can cause damage to crops. Occasionally they will also eat invertebrates.