Field Guide/Birds/Columba oenas

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

In the northern part of its European and western Asiatic range the Stock Pigeon 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.

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. 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 swelled neck, lowered wings, and fanned tail. During the circling spring flight the wings are smartly cracked like a whiplash.

The Stock Pigeon is sociable as well as gregarious, often consorting with Wood Pigeons, though doubtless it is the presence of food which brings them together.

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

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".

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 in a rabbit burrow, but the bird also nests in ivy, or in the thick growth round the boles of linden trees.