Monday, May 28, 2012

Invasive Species: Eurasian Collared Dove

A Eurasian collared dove (Streptopelia decaocto) in Polland
Though not as nasty as some of the invasives I have featured on this blog, the Eurasian collared dove is still an invasive species. Their native range includes a wide swatch of Eurasia, including countries such as Afghanistan, Korea, Italy, Morocco, and Finland. The introduced range of the species now includes countries such as the United States, Canada, Japan, Cuba, and the Caymen islands just to name a few. Interestingly enough, many of the areas that are considered part of the species' native range have historically lacked these birds, and natural migration has led to the wider geographic distribution than what was seen around 1930.

The main source of introduced birds has been through the pet trade. For example, birds are believed to have escaped from a breeder in Bahamas in the 1970's. These escapes are believed to be the sources of the birds now seen in the Bahamas, as well as the Caribbean and the North America.

There are several major concerns involved with having these birds become an invasive species. For one, they compete with native species such as the turtledove and mourning dove. They are also known for fouling and eating grain crops and products, and are thus an agricultural nuisance. They are also known to carry West Nile virus, and are believed to be possible amplifiers that, as carriers, could cause outbreaks of the disease. They also carry another virus, pigeon circovirus, which has the potential to kill dove and pigeon species that the collared dove may come in contact with. 

This is a species that I have seen in my area. It's hard to miss that black collar. As with any invasive, it concerns me greatly whenever I spot one. In certain parts of the bird's introduced range, they are popular with hunters. Hunting can be one of the most effective methods of controlling an invasive species, so I see this as a positive thing.

Source is the Global Invasive Species Database. Image is from Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.


  1. Back when I lived in Phoenix Arizona, there was this pair of doves that showed up in our tree one day. We fed them, and they stuck around. The male was like the one in the picture, the female was brown and white piebald.
    Well, the next year they came back in the spring, with about three young doves. The young doves were either sandy brown or tan and white piebald, and the next year, they came back with even more young doves. Over the years they had multiplied until there were about 30 of them. I don't know just how big the flock got, we moved before we saw a stop or decrease in their numbers.
    They were cool, pooped allover our sidewalk, but were still neat to have hanging around our house.

    Another interesting invasive species in the Phoenix area is the Peachfaced Lovebird. Have you ever read about those? There was only a few that someone let loose, and like the doves, over the years they multiplied and now there are thousands of them. The climate in Phoenix matched their native habitat very well, so they were able to easily adapt to living in Phoenix without human aid.

    1. Wow, that's really insane, and also not an uncommon occurrence in animals that are fed.

      I have heard of lovebirds becoming invasive, but on the peachfaced ones specifically. There are a number of exotic birds that have set up residence in the United States, Florida especially. Florida has countless invasives at this point, partly thanks to having a major international airport that frequently handles animal imports so close to a large expanse of good habitat (the Everglades).

  2. I live in the coastal area of Southern California and have seen what looks like a cross between these and mourning doves. They have the mourning dove call and markings but a collar as well. Have you heard of this possibility?

    1. From what I can find, this particular species hasn't been found to hybridize with the mourning dove. However, another species that has black neck markings can: the ringneck dove (though the offspring from this pairing are apparently infertile).

  3. How do I get rid of these things? They have taken over nearly EVERY tree in my yard. Not only that, There is an INCESSANT, and LOUD might I add, chorus of 'coo COO coo-ing' from about 6am-9am and then again around 10pm-midnight. EVERY NIGHT...ON SCHEDULE...WITHOUT FAIL! It is SUPER ANNOYING. Not to mention all of their, LITERAL, crap! These things are an absolute NUISANCE! They have run every other bird out of the area!

  4. I first saw these doves show up when I lived in Gillette, WY, around 2005 or so, as I recall. There used to be lots of mourning doves in my neighborhood, but as the collared doves increased, I saw less and less mourning doves, until it was very rare to see (or hear one) at all. I read an account that these doves were released in "Dances with Wolves", during the making of the movie, which also helped them to spread. I moved back to Nevada where I lived previously, where there also used to be lots of mourning doves. Same story, now there are tons of collared doves and the mourning doves are pretty much non existent where they used to be plentiful. Once in a great while I do hear a mourning dove, which is a rare treat, especially after having to listen the constant, loud monotone of the collared doves, not to mention their harsh crow like cry they also do. In Nevada, they're classified with the other invasive birds such as house sparrows, starlings, but hard to hunt since they live around houses. I have read they make good eating though. Even though they are an attractive bird, I think they are rapidly are being a pest and nuisance, similar to pigeons.