Band-tailed Pigeon

Columba fasciata

Although this large pigeon looks a lot like the introduced Rock Pigeon, it's a native. The Band-tailed Pigeon is found in two distinct regions in the American West, as well as throughout Central and South America

Interesting Information

  • Though the species has two distinct breeding populations in the United States, individuals do move from one region to the other. One Band-tailed Pigeon banded in Oregon was shot a year later in Florida, well outside the normal range.

  • An Oregon study found that the average distance a Band-tailed Pigeon traveled from its nest to a feeding site was 5 km (3.1 mi).

  • In June, and again in the late summer, they congregate at mineral springs where they ingest salts. Unlike most birds, including other pigeons, they are able to drink without raising their head.

  • The Band-tailed Pigeon is the largest in North America.

  • The parasitic louse Columbicola extinctus, believed to have become extinct with the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon, was recently rediscovered on the Band-tailed Pigeon.


Adult Description

  • Length Range: 36-38 cm (14-15 in)

  • Weight: 354 g (12.5 oz)

  • Size: Medium (9 - 16 in)

  • Dark overall.

  • White collar on nape.

  • Tail dark gray at base, light gray across the tip.

  • Feet yellow.

Sex Differences

Sexes Similar


Juvenile lacks white crescent and iridescent patch on nape.


Photo taken from: The Sibley Field Guide by David Allen Sibley

© 2003 Cornell Lab of Ornithology


  • Breeds in wet coniferous forests along the Pacific Coast and in mixed evergreen forests.

  • Also in dry montane coniferous forests of the interior, and urban and suburban areas.


Feeds on ground and in trees in small flocks. Travels long distances to gather food.


Seeds, fruit, acorns, pine nuts, and flowers.



Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
     Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Columbiformes
Family: Columbidae
    Subfamily: Columbinae
Genus: Patagioenas
Species: Patagioenas fasciata
    Subspecies: Patagioenas fasciata albilinea
  Patagioenas fasciata crissalis
  Patagioenas fasciata fasciata
  Patagioenas fasciata letonai
  Patagioenas fasciata monilis
  Patagioenas fasciata parva
  Patagioenas fasciata roraimae
  Patagioenas fasciata vioscae

Similar Species

Rock Pigeon has pale to white rump, a dark, not light, band to tip of tail, red legs and feet, and a dark bill.

Bird Sound

Repeated deep hooting coos, rising slightly in pitch. Wing clap on taking flight.

Eggs look like this

Photo taken from: ARCTOS Collaborative Collection Management Solution