Wood Pigeon vs Rock Dove: 14 Comparative Analysis

Wood pigeon and rock dove both belong to genus Columba. Despite having several similarities between them, both of them pose some differences too. Let us know about them.

Here we are going to do a comparative analysis of Wood pigeon vs Rock dove to understand the similarities and differences between them.

Characteristics Wood pigeon Rock dove 
Scientific nomenclature The scientific name of the wood pigeon is Columba palumbus.The scientific name of the Rock dove is Columba livia.
Taxonomic position Under bird class Aves the wood pigeon belongs to the order Columbiformes having one and only family Columbidae under it.Under bird class Aves the Rock dove also belongs to the order Columbiformes having one and only family Columbidae.
Body size and weight The body size of a wood pigeon varies between 38–44.5 cm (15–17+1⁄2 in) in length. Approximately 300–615 g (10+5⁄8–21+3⁄4 oz) in weight.The body size of a rock dove is 29 to 37 cm (11 to 15 in) in length. Approximately 238–380 g (8.4–13.4 oz) in weight.
Colour variations Having overall grey body colour with pinkish breast. It has little white patches on the side of its neck which is a distinguished characteristic of it. The wood pigeon has white bars on its wings.Overall bluish -grey body with glossy greenish, and reddish-purple iridescence in head, chest, neck areas along with wing feathers. The pure rock dove has a white lower back and two black bars in pale grey wings.
Wings and tailThe wood pigeon has a wingspan of about 68 to 80 cm (27 to 31 in) and the wing chord measures 24 to 25.4 cm (9+1⁄2 to 10 in). The tail of a wood pigeon measures about 13.8 to 15 cm.The rock dove has a wingspan of 62 to 72 cm and the wing chord measures around 22.3 cm. The tail of the rock dock measures about 9.5 to 11 cm.
LegsThe tarsus is 2.5 to 2.8 cm.The legs of wood pigeons are short, mauve pink and have long toes for perching.The tarsus measures around 2.6 to 3.5 cm. The legs are pinkish in colour and have longer toes for perching.
BillThe bill is 1.9 to 2.2 cm in length and reddish in colour with a yellow tip having white patch at the base.The bill is around 1.8 cm in length and grey or black colored with a white patch at the base.
SoundThe call of wood pigeon is a five syllable cooing phrase coo-COO-coo–coo-cooThe call of the rock dove is very soft, two syllable cooing phrases but continuous.
Distribution The wood pigeon is a widely distributed species  in southern and western Europe as well as in the United Kingdom.The rock dove is native to western and southern Europe, North Africa, and South Asian regions after the Columbian exchange they spread to the new world. 
Food habits Herbivores in nature, prefer to consume young shoots, leaves, nuts, grains, barriers, etc.Omnivorous in nature but prefer to consume plant matters including chiefly fruits, grains, etc.
Flight habitsWood pigeons take quick flight with regular wing beats. While flying, they mostly maintain the speed of 60 km/h.The rock dove can take Swift direct flight with rapid wing beats. While flying it can take the speed of 150 km/h maximum.
Eye colour The wood pigeon has pale yellowish eyes.The rock dove has orange -red eyes.
Lifespan The typical lifespan for a wood pigeon is 3 years, but the maximum recorded age is 17 years and 8 months.The typical lifespan for a wild rock dove is around 3-6 years, but the maximum recorded age of a captive specimen is 35 years.
Migration The wood pigeon is partially migratory in nature. Who live in colder northern and eastern parts of Europe and western asia migrate during unfavorable seasons to the Atlantic coast of Europe, Iberian Peninsula , northern Mediterranean shores, Turkey, etc regions.Do not show major migratory movements.
Wood pigeon vs Rock dove
Wood pigeon vs Rock dove
Image credit: Common wood pigeon (Columba palumbus) by Tristan Ferne (CC BY 2.0) from Wikimedia commons
Image credit: Rock dove (Columba livia) by Anton Croos(CC BY-SA 3.0) from Wikimedia commons 


Though wood pigeon and rock dove both are most common columba species in southern and western Europe, possess several similarities and differences between them. Here we go for a comparative analysis of Wood pigeon vs Rock dove to find out. Hope it will be helpful to you. 

Piyali Das

Hi...I am Piyali, an animal lover. I spend my spare time with my pets and also love to learn different animal behaviors. My constant learning attitude keeps me exploring new understandings of Animals.

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