Woodpigeon (Colm coille) Columba palumbus
Around a million pairs of Woodpigeon breed in Ireland every year but just around this time of the year (winter) their numbers are boosted by the arrival of hundreds of thousands more from the continent.
A common and widespread bird, the Woodpigeon is Ireland's largest pigeon at 42 cm and is found throughout the country. Although most closely associated with farmland but also at home in woodland, parks and gardens.
Easily identifiable by its plump build, uniform blue-grey head, back and belly, pink breast, dark-tipped grey tail and the very obvious white patches visible on each side of the neck and on the open wings. The pale bill and yellow eyes are also distinctive, and the neck shows a metallic green and purple iridescent sheen. Young birds are similar, but lack the white neck patches.
Particularly fond of grain, leading to their persecution as an agricultural pest, Woodpigeons also eat a variety of leaves, buds and seeds, and enjoy ivy berries when in season; they also sometimes eat small insects and other invertebrates.
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