- Common Name:
- Band-Tailed Pigeon
- Scientific Name:
- Patagioenas fasciata
- Length: 14.5 inches
- IUCN Red List Status:
- Least concern
- Current Population Trend:
The large, heavily built gray pigeon frequents the forests and woodlands of the West; most often seen in flocks of varying sizes in rapid flight. Wings make a loud clapping sound when flushed. Polytypic. Length 14.5".
Larger, with a longer tail than a rock pigeon; blue-gray on the upper parts with contrasting blackish gray flight feathers; a blackish gray tail with a broad, pale gray terminal band. Paler-gray greater coverts show as a broad wing stripe when in flight. Adult male: gray on the head, and breast tinged pinkish; narrow white half-collar across the upper hind neck, with iridescent greenish below. Iris pale yellow; narrow orbital skin purplish; bill yellow with a black tip; and feet yellow. Adult female: like male, but pink color somewhat subdued, and with less iridescent green. Juvenile: paler than the adults, with narrow whitish fringes on the breast and coverts; half-collar reduced or obscured.
At least 8 subspecies. Nominate fasciata breeds in the Southwest from Utah and Colorado south into Mexico; and monilis breeds in the Pacific states from British Columbia, uncommonly in southeast Alaska, to Baja California, Mexico. Subspecies are not separable in the field.
Rock pigeons have blackish tails; most have black markings on the wings and conspicuous white rumps; at close quarters the bill lacks yellow; and the feet are reddish rather than yellow.
Call: a low-pitched whoo-whoo delivered several times.
Status and Distribution
Locally common in low-altitude coniferous forests in the Pacific Northwest, and in oak or oak-conifer woodlands in the Southwest; presence dependent on availability of food; increasingly common in suburban gardens and parks. Breeding: nest is a platform of twigs lined with grasses placed in a tree well above the ground; bears 1 white egg. Migration and winter: most birds breeding in the Southwest winter in Mexico, and most breeding in the Pacific Northwest move south into California in winter. Vagrant: casual across southern Canada east to Nova Scotia and New England; also along the Gulf Coast from Texas to western Florida.
Pacific population formerly threatened by overhunting, but with the introduction of controls, population is recovering.