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Woodpigeons in Ireland


The woodpigeon is one of Ireland's top 20 most widespread garden birds. It is the largest and most common Irish pigeon. Woodpigeons are mostly grey with a white neck patch and white wing patches that are clearly visible in flight.

Although they are timid in the countryside it can be relatively tame and approachable in urban areas. It's cooing call is a familiar sound in wooded areas as is the loud clatter of it's wings as it flies away.

Irish Name for Woodpigeon

The Irish term for woodpigeon is Colm coille.

Woodpigeon Feeding

Like other members of the pigeon family Woodpigeons mainly feed on plant material, green leaves, seeds, berries, buds, flowers, and grain and root crops. The will also take food from bird tables in domestic gardens

Wood pigeons also drink a lot as they don't get adequate amounts of moisture from their food. Other birds that eat earthworms etc. extract moisture from the bodies of their prey. Woodpigeons can't do this.

An fascinating aspect about how they drink is that they use their beak in a manner similar to using a straw. Other birds scoop the water up and throw their heads back to let it flow down their throats.

Woodpigeons Nesting

Woodpigeon nest with egg

Woodpigeons breeder throughout Ireland and it is only in the higher regions and mountains that they are absent. As it's name suggests it was originally a woodland bird however it is now found in parks and urban areas.

Woodpigeons are very adaptable and they have been recorded breeding in heather and bushes in the windswept areas of the West of Ireland.

A Woodpigeon's nest is a platform made from twigs and built by both sexes most usually in a tree or on a building. The white elliptical eggs are smooth and glossy, and about 41mm X 29m in size. Both parents share the duty of incubating the eggs and feeding the nestlings.

Interesting Facts About Woodpigeons

Woodpigeons don't feed their young insects or other invertebrates. Instead they feed their chicks a type of milk formed from sloughing off fluid-filled cells in their crop lining. Woodpigeon milk is more nutritious than human or cow's milk.


Scientific Name:
Columba palumbus



Irish Status:

Length: 41cm Wingspan: 78cm Weight: M & F: 450g

Call: Song has five notes sounding like 'ru-hoo ru ru-hoo'.

Habitat: Woodland and urban areas.

Diet: Seeds, leaves, fruit, buds and root crops.

From April
Breeding Age:
From 1 year
Number of Eggs:
No. of Clutches:
Incubation (days):
Fledging (days):
3 years

Conservation Status in Ireland: Green

Woodpigeon Range in Ireland

The woodpigeon is resident throughout Ireland.

Map of the range of Woodpigeons in Ireland.

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