Common Woodpigeon Columba palumbus


Justification of Red List category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The European population is estimated at 20,500,000-29,000,000 pairs, which equates to 40,900,000-58,000,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c. 80% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 51-73 million mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.

Trend justification
The population is increasing in many parts of its range as it can exploit human-modified habitats; it has expanded its range northwards to Fenno-Scandia and Faeroe Islands (del Hoyo et al. 1997). The population trend in Europe increased moderately between 1980 and 2013 (EBCC 2015).

Distribution and population

This species has a wide distribution across the western Palearctic. It occurs in the United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Andorra, France, Monaco, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy, Germany, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan, India and Nepal (del Hoyo et al. 1997). The Madeiran subspecies maderensis went extinct in the early 20th century (Fuller 2000).


The species is found in a mosaic of woodland and open ground, notably farmland, parks and suburban gardens (Tucker and Heath 1997). It is typically a species of ecotone in deciduous or coniferous woodland. Its breeding season varies between regions, ranging from late February to early September. It normally lays two eggs. The nest is built of twigs and lined with more twigs, grasses and leaves usually 1.5-2.5 m above ground in trees and on building ledges or occasionally in thick vegetation or under a hedge. It takes food from the ground and also feeds in trees, mainly taking plant matter such as green leaves, buds, flowers, seeds, berries, grain and occasionally invertebrates. It is mainly migratory in northern and eastern Europe and partially migratory or resident in the rest of Europe (Baptista et al. 1997).


There are currently no known significant threats to this species.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
EU Birds Directive Annex II and III; C. p. azorica on Annex I. There are no known conservation measures for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
No conservation measures are currently needed for this species.


Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Khwaja, N., Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Columba palumbus. Downloaded from on 29/11/2023.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 29/11/2023.