Backyard Birds: Eurasian Collared-Dove

For the past two weeks I’ve had two Eurasian Collared-Doves, likely a breeding pair, coming to my yard every day.  They feed on the lawn (lately, on the snow), eating sunflower seeds that have spilled from the bird feeders.


Eurasian Collared-Doves are not yet a common backyard bird in Calgary, but that may change.  They were introduced to North America in the Bahamas in the 1970’s and have rapidly spread across the continent.  I think they were first reported in Alberta in 2003, and in Calgary in 2004.  I know of two pairs that have nested in the SE quadrant of the city in each of the past two years:  one pair in Shepard, and another in Dover. 

This bird has an odd broken feather sticking out on its left side, so I know it’s the same bird returning each day.

Eurasian Collared-Doves are pale buff-grey to pinkish-grey in colour.  They are about the same length as a Rock Pigeon, but slimmer and with a longer tail.  On the back of their neck they have a narrow black half-ring, edged with white, from which they get their name.


This preening bird shows off its black collar…


Eurasian Collared-Doves are becoming more common in the rural areas south and east of Calgary, and are being seen regularly in the city as well.  They seem to occupy an ecological niche between that of the Rock Pigeon and Mourning Dove.  It remains to be seen if they will become a common backyard bird like the Rock Pigeon, or primarily a rural one like the Mourning Dove.  If you see any in your yard, please let Birds Calgary know!

Posted by Bob Lefebvre

28 thoughts on “Backyard Birds: Eurasian Collared-Dove

  1. My sister has a pair in her back alley at Parkvalley Drive S.E.. She thought they were common ringneck doves like we used to raise as aviary birds. Now I am in Brooks and there is a pair in our back alley here. Amazing to see them wild in Alberta. They should be very territorial so I hope they are not crowding out the mourning doves.

    • I have been told by a wildlife biologist that the Eurasian doves do tend to displace the mourning doves. I’ve also heard that the Eurasian’s tend to prefer rural habitats, so I’m hoping their population won’t explode in Calgary. I love my mourning doves!

  2. This morning I awoke to a Collared Dove on the railing of My upper Deck! What a surprise! They are so beautiful!
    I live in Two Hills Alberta, North of Edmonton.

    • They are beautiful birds. They’ve now been reported as far north as The Yukon, so I think they’re here to stay!

  3. I had actually found one in forest lawn with tags on it case i am sure it was someones pet and i phoned wildlife and they told me to just let it go… my friend kept it in her house for a few days before it decided to fly away and they are actually very nice calm birds.. i think they are very beautiful and can sing amazingly

    • I think you might have found an Oriental Turtle Dove, which look very similar to Eurasian Collared Doves. Turtle doves are popular caged birds, so if your bird was used to humans, I’m guessing he was probably an escaped pet. Hopefully he found is way back home!

  4. It’s possible I saw a Eurasian Dove today in Herronton, Alberta, a half hour east of High River. It had a dark stripe on it’s wing, and was sandy colored, only one but I would love to see more. Love Lou

  5. March 31, 2012
    Have seen what we believe for the last week, in Okotoks, Alberta two Eurasian Collared Doves, always seen together so we assume a male and female, and we hoping their are building a nest! Very excited considering we are not bird watchers!
    The Brockerville’s

    • Eurasian Collared-Doves are becoming more and more common in the city, and they do usually stay year-round near where they breed. There is a house in the south part of Deer Run where about 20 of these birds came regularly to the feeders this winter. The bird you saw could be from this group, which should be dispersing to breeding areas about now. In my neighbourhood, one pair of Eurasian Collared-Doves has nested in the same location in each of the last two years, but I never see them in the winter. Perhaps they hang out with the group in Deer Run in the winter. Last year they showed up in my yard on April 9, exactly one year ago today. I had a look around the area for them today but didn’t find them.

  6. we had a pair here west of Wetaskiwin all last summer and they raised one young one… now the pair is back again!

    • I am in Zihuatanejo, Mexico and I saw some Eurasian Collared Doves down here. Heard them before I saw them. They will soon be all over the Americas.

  7. I live between Aldersyde and High River Alberta and just notice a pair of these beautiful doves eating out of my bird feeder. I have never seen them before… They are very sweet

  8. We have a pair of Eurasian doves in our yard visiting for about a week now. We live in Big Valley 100 km east of Red Deer

  9. I think we have a pair in the Mayland Heights area in Calgary – hear them for a couple of weeks, thought it was an owl.

    • The Eurasian Collared-Dove call is three notes, with a pause after the first two: “Whoo-Whoo, whoo.” Mourning Doves make a long slow series of “whoo” sounds that are also often mistaken for an owl.

      • I

        Hi I live in Didsbury AB and I have a breeding pair of Eurasian Collard-dove that come to my ground under my birdfeeder everyday and i love to hear them sing

  10. One or two of these birds are in North Haven, I live on Norquay Dr in Calgary. We heard them last year as well and thought there was an owl around.

  11. We have at least one collared-dove living in our neighbourhood here in Cochrane for the past few weeks. Not sure if he has a girlfriend, as we’ve only ever seen/heard the one. Hearing him call brings back so many memories of Italy! 🙂

  12. Hi there, so far I’ve seen 2 pairs of Eurasian Collared Doves. They seem to like the seeds I leave out for the birds and they also drink from the water. I live in Forest Lawn. I’ve tried to take pictures but no luck. I will keep trying

  13. We were wondering whether the collared doves would compete with the mourning doves.Here in Brooks I have heard 3different collared dove males calling this spring.One uses a tall weeping birch in the neighbour’s yard as a lookout post-
    . The mourning doves nested successfully on a basketball backboard in the yard just below this birch. Seems to be little conflict.

  14. We live in Spirit River, AB. (close to Grande Prairie) & we’ve had a family of Eurasian doves in our backyard & the alley all summer! This is the first year we’ve been Blessed with these beautiful birds.

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