Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Least Concern

Common Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus)


French: Pigeon ramier German: Ringeltaube Spanish: Paloma torcaz
Other common names: Wood Pigeon

Columba Palumbus


, 1758,



Related to C. trocaz and C. bollii of Macaronesia and C. unicincta of Africa; probably also to C. junoniae of Canary Is. Race iranica intergrades with nominate in E Turkey and Transcaucasia. Proposed races excelsa (NW Africa), ghigii (Sardinia) and kleinschmidti (C Scotland) all currently lumped into nominate#R, and kirmanica (SE Iran) into casiotis. Four extant subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. p. azorica E. J. O. Hartert, 1905 – E & C Azores.
  • C. p. maderensis Tschusi, 1904 – montane forests of Madeira.
  • C. p. palumbus Linnaeus, 1758 – NW Africa, Europe E to W Siberia and S to Iraq; winters S to N Africa.
  • C. p. iranica (Zarudny, 1910) – S Transcaspia, N & W Iran.
  • C. p. casiotis (Bonaparte, 1854) – Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to N Afghanistan, N Oman, SE Iran, N Pakistan and Kashmir; winters E to Nepal.
  • Descriptive notes

    41–45 cm; 284–690 g. General colour bluish grey, duller on wings; ­primaries black with pale edges; breast mauve-pink merging to creamy on belly; flanks grey... read more


    Quite vocal. Advertising call a repeated rhythmic phrase involving four or five cooing notes with... read more


    Typically a species of the ecotone in deciduous or coniferous woodland. It occurs at 1500–... read more

    Food and feeding

    Takes most of food from ground, but also feeds in trees. Most of diet made up of plant matter, including green leaves, buds, flowers, seeds... read more


    Season varies with zone, ranging from late Feb to early Sept. Nest 17–23 cm in diameter, consists of twigs up to 20 cm long; lined... read more


    Northern and Eastern European birds are mostly migratory, as are West Siberian populations. The... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. The global population is very large, of the order of 51–73 million mature individuals. Europe comprises some 80% of the global geographical... read more

    Recommended citation

    Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M., Boesman, P. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Common Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 26 January 2020).