Backyard BirdsUncategorized

Stock Pigeons

The Stock Pigeons (Columba oenas) (formerly Stock Dove) is a member of the family Columbidae, doves and pigeons.

Distribution / Range:

In the northern part of its European and western Asiatic range, this bird is a migrant, elsewhere it is a well-distributed and often plentiful resident.


The three western European Columba pigeons, though superficially alike, have very distinctive characters;

  • The wood Pigeon may at once be told by the white on its neck and wing, but
  • the Rock Pigeon and Stock Pigeons are more alike in size and plumage.

The former, however, has a white rump, and two well-marked black bars on the wing, but the rump of the Stock is grey, and the bars are incomplete.

Its flight is quick, performed by regular beats, with an occasional sharp flick of the wings, characteristic of pigeons in general.

It perches well, and in nuptial display walks along a horizontal branch with a swelled neck, lowered wings, and fanned tail. During the circling spring flight, the wings are smartly cracked like a whiplash.

This bird is sociable as well as gregarious, often consorting with Wood Pigeons, though doubtless it is the presence of food that brings them together.

Nesting / Breeding:

The haunts of the Stock Pigeon are in more or less open country, for though it often nests in trees it prefers parklands to thick woods. It is common on coasts where the cliffs provide holes.

The nest, though it is seldom that any nest material is used, is usually in a hole in a tree, a crack in a rock face, or a rabbit burrow, but the bird also nests in ivy, or the thick growth round the boles of linden trees.

Diet / Feeding:

Most of its food is vegetables; young shoots and seedlings are favored, and it will take grain.

Call / Song:

The short, deep, “grunting” Ooo-uu-ooh call is quite distinct from the modulated cooing notes of the Wood Pigeon; it is loud enough to be described, somewhat fancifully, as “roaring”.

(Columbidae – Please see also Doves)

Pigeon InformationPigeon Intelligence & Amazing FactsSpecies / BreedsBreed Photo Gallery


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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