Photo: Gary Kramer/USFWS

Band-tailed Pigeon

Patagioenas fasciata

This big pigeon, larger than the familiar park pigeon, is common in parts of the west. It lives along much of the Pacific Coast and in the mountains, moving about nomadically to feed on acorns, berries, or other wild food crops. Band-tails are sociable, foraging in flocks at most seasons and often nesting in small colonies. Unlike many doves, they do much of their feeding up in trees, clambering about with surprising agility to pluck berries.
Conservation status Numbers were once seriously depleted by overhunting. With protection, made a fair comeback; in recent decades declining again, undoubtedly for different reasons.
Family Pigeons and Doves
Habitat Oak canyons, foothills, chaparral, mountain forests. Mainly in wooded or semi-open habitats; moves around to take advantage of changing food supplies. Breeds in oak woodland along the coast and in mountains, also in pine-oak woods and fir forest. May forage along streams in lowland desert. Increasingly regular in suburban areas on Pacific Coast.
This big pigeon, larger than the familiar park pigeon, is common in parts of the west. It lives along much of the Pacific Coast and in the mountains, moving about nomadically to feed on acorns, berries, or other wild food crops. Band-tails are sociable, foraging in flocks at most seasons and often nesting in small colonies. Unlike many doves, they do much of their feeding up in trees, clambering about with surprising agility to pluck berries.
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  • adult
  • juvenile
Feeding Behavior

Will forage on ground or in trees. Can climb about with great agility in small branches, even hanging upside down to reach berries. Usually forages in flocks, even during breeding season.


Eggs

1, sometimes 2. White. Incubation is by both parents, 18-20 days. Young: Both parents feed young "pigeon milk." Young leave nest about 25-30 days after hatching, are tended by parents for some time thereafter. 2 broods per year, sometimes 3.


Young

Both parents feed young "pigeon milk." Young leave nest about 25-30 days after hatching, are tended by parents for some time thereafter. 2 broods per year, sometimes 3.

Diet

Mostly nuts, seeds, berries. Diet shifts with season. Acorns are major part of diet when available. Eats many berries, including those of elderberry, manzanita, juniper, wild grape, many others. Also eats seeds, tender young spruce cones, buds, young leaves, flowers, occasionally insects.


Nesting

Several pairs may nest close together in loose colony. In courtship, male flies up and then glides in a wide circle, giving a wheezing call and fluttering wings toward end of glide. On perch, male coos with chest and neck puffed up, tail lowered and spread. Nest site is in coniferous or deciduous tree, usually 15-40' above ground, can be lower or much higher. Placed on fork of horizontal branch or at base of branch against trunk. Nest is a bulky but loosely-built platform of sticks; male brings material, female builds.

Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds

Migration

Present all year in some areas, especially on Pacific Coast; mainly summer resident elsewhere, including northwestern coast and southwestern interior. Often nomadic, flocks concentrating where food supplies are good. Strays have reached Atlantic Coast.

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Migration

Present all year in some areas, especially on Pacific Coast; mainly summer resident elsewhere, including northwestern coast and southwestern interior. Often nomadic, flocks concentrating where food supplies are good. Strays have reached Atlantic Coast.

  • All Seasons - Common
  • All Seasons - Uncommon
  • Breeding - Common
  • Breeding - Uncommon
  • Winter - Common
  • Winter - Uncommon
  • Migration - Common
  • Migration - Uncommon
Songs and Calls
A deep owl-like whoo-hoo.
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
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How climate change could affect this bird's range

In the broadest and most detailed study of its kind, Audubon scientists have used hundreds of thousands of citizen-science observations and sophisticated climate models to predict how birds in the U.S. and Canada will react to climate change.

Learn more

Read more: climate.audubon.org
Pigeons and Doves Pigeon-like Birds

Band-tailed Pigeon

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season.

More on reading these maps.

Each map is a visual guide to where a particular bird species may find the climate conditions it needs to survive in the future. We call this the bird’s “climatic range.”

The colors indicate the season in which the bird may find suitable conditions— blue for winter, yellow for summer (breeding), and green for where they overlap (indicating their presence year-round).

The darker the shaded area, the more likely it is the bird species will find suitable climate conditions to survive there.

The outline of the approximate current range for each season remains fixed in each frame, allowing you to compare how the range will expand, contract, or shift in the future.

The first frame of the animation shows where the bird can find a suitable climate today (based on data from 2000). The next three frames predict where this bird’s suitable climate may shift in the future—one frame each for 2020, 2050, and 2080.

You can play or pause the animation with the orange button in the lower left, or select an individual frame to study by clicking on its year.

The darker the color, the more favorable the climate conditions are for survival. The outlined areas represent approximate current range for each season. More on reading these maps.
Winter
Summer

Winter Range
Summer Range
Both Seasons
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