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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to 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.
The global population is estimated to number c.260,000,000 individuals (Rich et al. 2004). The European population is estimated at 11,000,000-22,600,000 pairs, which equates to 22,100,000-45,200,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015).
The population size is suspected to be decreasing owing to interbreeding with domestic form; declines have been recorded in Israel (del Hoyo et al. 1997).
The species's natural habitat consists usually of rock faces, ledges in caves and sea cliffs where birds nest. The feral form is commensal with man and is particularly abundant in cities. It avoids areas of tall and dense vegetation. Breeding season varies between regions. It typically feeds on grains but may also take some invertebrates. Natural populations are resident and sedentary (Baptista et al. 1997).
It is difficult to evaluate the conservation status and security of natural populations due to the confusion concerning the degree of mixing with feral birds. Natural populations are threatened by interbreeding with feral pigeons in many areas (Baptista et al. 1997).
Conservation Actions Underway
EU Birds Directive Annex II. There are no known conservation measures for this species.
Conservation Actions Proposed
Within Europe, management is needed to keep feral birds geographically isolated from natural populations and monitoring is needed to determine the extent of natural populations (Johnston et al. 1988).
Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J.
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Columba livia. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 13/10/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 13/10/2019.