Bird watchers from almost all of the lower 48 states and some of Alaska and Canada have found a new and quite large species of dove in their neighborhoods and yards. They are called Eurasian Collared-Doves because they are the species of collared-doves that come from the continent of Eurasia (Europe and Asia). Besides their large size, they can be identified by the distinctive black collar on the back part of it’s neck, darker wing tips, and tail that is not sharply pointed like those on Mourning Doves.
Eurasian Collared-Doves look similar to African Collared-Doves, a species sold as captive birds that escape or are turned loose. Often called Ringed Turtle-Doves, they can establish feral populations in some areas and they hybridize with Eurasian Collared-Doves making it difficult to distinguish the two species.
However, if you see the underside of their tails the Eurasian Collared-Doves have are grayish on their undertail areas with extensive black on the underside of their tail feathers, while the African Collared-Doves have white undertail areas have very limited black on the undersides of their tails. They can also readily be identified by their very different calls–listen to them on the Audubon Guides website. As I type this I can hear one calling from my backyard.
Eurasian Collared-Doves were first seen in North America in Florida in the late 1970’s to early 1980’s. They had been released in the Bahamas in the mid-70’s and established there so it is thought that the birds got to Florida by natural means. Since then they have exploded across the United States only a few populated areas in north central and northeastern states and adjacent Canadian provinces not yet reporting them. They are associated with human populations including grain elevators where spilled grain in readily available as well as backyard bird feeders.
Many backyard bird watchers complain that the Eurasian Collared-Doves chase away the Mourning Doves from their feeders. These birds are larger than any of our native doves plus they ‘are also known to be aggressive and behaviorally dominant over similar species” according to an article about them by Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I personally want to feed native species so I do my best to exclude them from my feeders (I will post on some of my efforts in a later blog after I have more time to evaluate their effectiveness).
- Do you have Eurasian Collared-Doves coming to your yard?
- If so, where do live and how long have you had them?