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Alaska Department of Fish and Game


Invasive Species — Rock Dove (Columba livia)
Biological Characteristics

Identification

Also known as the Rock Pigeon. Adult rock doves are 12–14½ in (32-37 cm) long with 25–28 in (64-72 cm) wingspan. This species has a bluish-gray head, neck, and chest with glossy yellow, green, and purple iridescence along its neck and wing feathers. Rock doves have reddish eyes, and their bills are grey with a conspicuous off-white cere. Their feet are also red. Adult females are almost identical to males, but the iridescence on the neck is less intense and usually only on the rear and sides. The white lower back of the rock dove is its best identification character, and the two black bars on its pale grey wings are also distinctive. The tail also has a black band on the end.

Biology

Rock doves feed in flocks or individually on seeds and grains on the ground, and they roost together in buildings or on walls. When disturbed, a pigeon in a group will take off with a noisy clapping sound. The Rock dove breeds at any time of the year, but breeding peaks in spring and summer. Nesting sites are situated along coastal cliff faces or artificial cliff faces created by buildings with accessible ledges or roof spaces. Nests consist of a platform of straw and sticks that are placed on a ledge under cover such as window ledges. Rock doves lay two white eggs, and the incubation is shared by both the male and the female. Upon hatching, the nestlings are fed crop milk, and the fledging period is usually around 30 days. Rock doves generally live less than five years in the wild. They are preyed upon by many different predators such as raptors and feral cats.

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