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I'm assuming that the location makes Rock Dove the more likely species, but how does one tell true rock doves apart from the feral pigeon of our town centres? And to what extent is feral pigeon confined to urban areas?
Entomologist and biological recorder
Thanks for that, it was my mistake I uploaded the wrong photo's I have deleted those photo's. This is the best I have at the moment of a Rock Dove.I will get some better photo's when they return this morning.
I feel sure they a true Rock Dove.
1. They are have light grey body with two black wing bars
2. When they fly away you see a white patch on rump just in front of the square tail
3. the neck is an irridescent Green
Also we usually see 5-10 at a time and they appear to be all identical and we are on the north west coast of Scotland
Wildlife of Assynt
I am agreeing with this identification based on where you are but I can not rule out ferral pigeon, or cross-breed, there is just about nowhere in Britain now where you can be absolutely sure of identifying pure rock dove. The irridecent upper chest/neck patch should change from green to a purple colour depending on the light angle.
Another identification feature is the white forehead, just above the bill.
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This is an odd one; your identification is definitely correct, but they may still be feral rock doves rather than pure-breeding wild birds. What we're trying to establish here is not a specific or even racial identification but what population these birds belong to! The rock doves I've seen on Mull did look very different in flight as their wings were significantly shorter than feral pigeons. More like stock doves but "stockier"
We have been watching two of the birds this morning and they do have irridecent upper chest/neck patch that changes from green to a red/purple colour.
and both have a distinct white patch at the top of the bill.
Typically because we want to look at them only these two have visited the garden in the last two days. Up till then we have had anything up to 9 at a time.
I will talk with our local Highland Council Ranger who is also chair of the local Assynt Field Club, he may have more information
When a larger group of birds return would it help the Feral Rock Dove question to note whether they are all identical in appearance?
It might be more useful for you to look at birds in different habitats to see if yours resemble the wild rock doves, which are more likely to be on sea cliffs, although on Mull I often saw them in ploughed fields. I never saw any in gardens though...
Ten birds return this evening, I have uploaded a photo to show that they appear to be identical in appearance.
Thanks for the extra picture. I think ten identical birds are as definate as you could get with rock doves. I lived on the outskirts of Stornoway for six months and we used to get rock doves feeding round our bird table.
Good point Graham! The wild population of rock doves will never show the amount of variation that is in the feral population. So a group of 10 identical birds must be true wild ones. I wonder how many identical birds you need to declare?
Lat/Lng: 58.1, -5.3
OS grid ref: NC0720