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.
Learn more about these drawings.

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 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

White-crowned 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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