Status: Resident. Wild Rock Doves are restricted to remote areas of Counties Mayo, Galway, Kerry and Cork.
Conservation Concern: Green-listed in Ireland. The European population has not been assessed.
Identification: A typical small pigeon, which can appear identical to Feral Pigeons seen in and around towns. Adult birds have a lead grey head, neck and underparts. There is a small white patch just above the rump, while the wings are pale grey with broad black stripe on the primaries and the secondaries. The tail also has a thick black band on the tail. Juveniles are nearly identical to adults, but lack the colourful neck patch.
Similar Species: Virtually identical to some Feral Pigeons. Could also be confused with Stock Dove.
Call: As for Feral Pigeon, a soft "druuuu".
Diet: Cereal grain, seeds and fruits of herbs and grasses, sometimes green parts and invertebrates.
Breeding: Breeds in remote aeas, usually on cliffs near the sea. Very shy and difficult to observe.
Wintering: As far as is known, Rock Doves are resident within their breeding territories. Young birds most likely disperse to new areas.
Where to See: Very difficult to see in Ireland. A few may be seen around Termoncarragh Lake Nature Reserve on the Belmullet Peninsula in County Mayo. In many areas the situation is complicated by Feral Pigeons reverting to ancestral habits and nesting in similar areas to Rock Doves.
Monitored by: Countryside Bird Survey.