Unlike numerous species of bird (or indeed animal) wherever you are in the United Kingdom you are likely to come across a pigeon. Found in urban centres, parks, gardens and in areas close to agriculture pigeons play a vital role in the up-keep of numerous different habitats.
However, despite the fact that many people simply think that all pigeons are the same, a number of species can often be found together and although they are in fact very closely related to one another, there are key differences between them including appearance, behaviour and their calls.
A descendant of the native Rock Dove (now confined to rocky coasts), the feral pigeon is now widespread and is particularly common in urban areas. Growing up to 33cm in length, feral pigeons can be recognised by their grey bodies, black-tipped tails and inky green feathers on their necks.
Often found feeding in large flocks particularly over fields, the stock dove has a more uniform appearance than related species with a blue-grey body and a lack of a white rump. About the same size as feral pigeons, they nest in holes in the trees and can be found as far north as Southern Scotland depending on the habitat.
One of the most common and easily-identifiable pigeons, wood pigeons can be found feeding close to farmland and are seen more and more in urban areas. One of the largest pigeons that grows to a length of 41cm, woodpigeons have a pinkish breast and blue-grey body and can often be heard taking-off with a loud clattering of their wings.
Despite having been first recorded in the UK in the 1950s, they are now common and widespread but are most often found close to urban areas. Growing to around 32cm long, collared doves have sandy coloured bodies, with pinkish heads and underparts and a distinctive black band on the back of their necks.