Photo: Paula Cannon/Vireo

White-crowned Pigeon

Patagioenas leucocephala

A strong and fast flier, the White-crowned Pigeon regularly undertakes long flights over water, and it has been able to colonize islands almost throughout the Caribbean. It occurs commonly in parts of southern Florida, but most of its Florida nesting colonies are on small offshore islands. Flocks are usually seen flying swiftly overhead, or perching in treetops, feeding on berries.
Conservation status Florida population estimated at about 7,500 pairs, and considered vulnerable because of continuing habitat loss on the Florida Keys and elsewhere. Numbers apparently declining on many islands in Caribbean, owing to overhunting and habitat loss.
Family Pigeons and Doves
Habitat Mangrove keys, wooded islands. Moves about freely among wooded habitats in south Florida. Usually nests in mangroves on small offshore islands, sometimes in outer fringe of mangroves along mainland, but generally avoids areas having raccoons (apparently a major nest predator). Feeds in tropical hardwood groves on islands and mainland.
A strong and fast flier, the White-crowned Pigeon regularly undertakes long flights over water, and it has been able to colonize islands almost throughout the Caribbean. It occurs commonly in parts of southern Florida, but most of its Florida nesting colonies are on small offshore islands. Flocks are usually seen flying swiftly overhead, or perching in treetops, feeding on berries.
Photo Gallery
Feeding Behavior

Forages almost entirely in trees, clambering about with an agility surprising for size of bird, leaning and stretching and sometimes hanging upside down momentarily to reach berries. Seldom comes to the ground to feed.


Eggs

2, sometimes 1. White. Incubation is by both parents, mostly by female at night and male by day; incubation period not well known. Young: Both parents feed young "pigeon milk." Young leave nest at about 3 weeks. In parts of range, may raise 3 broods per year.


Young

Both parents feed young "pigeon milk." Young leave nest at about 3 weeks. In parts of range, may raise 3 broods per year.

Diet

Mostly fruits and berries. Feeds on the fruits and berries of a great variety of native trees and shrubs of the Caribbean region, also sometimes those of introduced plants. May eat seeds at times, and perhaps rarely insects or snails.


Nesting

In Florida, breeds most commonly during July and August. Often nests in colonies. Male calls to attract female while perching erect, chest puffed out. In courtship, male struts and nods. Nest site is usually on fork in horizontal branch, low (below 15') in mangroves or other shrubs, sometimes on cactus; may be up to 30' above ground or water, or on ground on small islands. Nest (probably built by both sexes) is loosely-constructed platform of twigs, lined with grasses or other fine material.

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

Migration

Somewhat nomadic, moving about in Florida (and in Caribbean) with changing food supplies. Banding returns show that some Florida birds winter in West Indies, but many also winter on Florida Keys and some on southern Florida mainland.

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Migration

Somewhat nomadic, moving about in Florida (and in Caribbean) with changing food supplies. Banding returns show that some Florida birds winter in West Indies, but many also winter on Florida Keys and some on southern Florida mainland.

  • All Seasons - Common
  • All Seasons - Uncommon
  • Breeding - Common
  • Breeding - Uncommon
  • Winter - Common
  • Winter - Uncommon
  • Migration - Common
  • Migration - Uncommon
Songs and Calls
An owl-like coo-coo-co-wooo.
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the White-crowned Pigeon

Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.

Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.

Climate threats facing the White-crowned Pigeon

Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.

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