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White-crowned Pigeon

Patagioenas leucocephala

Length: 13 inches Wingspan: 24 inches Seasonality: Non-resident in South Dakota
ID Keys: Dark gray overall, white crown, dark pinkish bill with paler tip, iridescent greenish back of neck with scaled appearance, pinkish legs and feet

White-crowned Pigeon - Patagioenas leucocephalaThe White-crowned Pigeon is a large pigeon with a range that mostly covers the Caribbean.  However, they also will nest in the summer in coastal areas of southern Florida.  They are a fruit-eating species, and the presence of the birds typically depends upon the presence of large fruit or berry crops.  When fruits and berries become less available in a certain area, the White-crowned Pigeon will often relocate to more favorable habitats.   While they nest in coastal mangroves, they often move to inland areas to feed.

Habitat: Found nesting in mangrove areas along the coast.  They will use different forest habitats outside of the breeding season, but are usually found in lowland, tropical hardwood woodlands.

Diet: Feeds on fruits and berries, as well as seeds.  They may occasionally feed on small invertebrates such as insects or snails.

Behavior: Forages in the canopy of trees and shrubs, searching for fruit.

Nesting: The nest of a White-crowned Pigeon is a loose platform of twigs and grasses, placed in a tree or shrub.  They also sometimes build their nest directly on the ground, mostly in areas such as small islands where predators are not an issue.  The female usually lays 2 eggs, and both parents help to incubate them.  After the eggs hatch, both parents help to feed the young.  The young leave the nest after about 3 weeks.

Song: The song of a White-crowned Pigeon is a series of slow cooing notes.  Also has a higher pitched and hoarser call of multiple phrases, with the last phrase emphasized.

Migration: Movements aren't completely understood and appear to be somewhat erratic.  At least some birds that summer in Florida winter in the Caribbean.  Birds also evidently move around in response to availability of adequate fruit or berry supplies.

Interactive eBird map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of White-crowned Pigeon sightings

Similar Species: Rock Dove

Conservation Status: The White-crowned Pigeon is listed as a "Near Threatened" species by the IUCN.  Populations have been in decline, as suitable habitat for them is limited, and hunting pressures have taken a toll in some areas.

Further Information: 1) National Park Service - Everglades - White-crowned Pigeon Species Profile

2) WhatBird - White-crowned Pigeon

3) Audubon Field Guide - White-crowned Pigeon

Photo Information: Photo by Natsuko - Photo licensed under Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.


Click below for a higher-resolution map
White-crowned Pigeon - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Non-resident in South Dakota

Additional White-crowned Pigeon Photos (coming soon!!)