Laurel Pigeon (Columba junoniae)

Laurel Pigeon

[order] COLUMBIFORMES | [family] Columbidae | [latin] Columba junoniae | [UK] Laurel Pigeon | [FR] Pigeon des lauriers | [DE] Lorbeertaube | [ES] Paloma rabiche | [NL] Laurierduif

Subspecies

Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Like Long-toed and Bolle’s Laurel Pigeons (Columba trocaz, C. bollii), in size (L 39 cm), but has brown back, wine-red breast and paler tail. The White-tailed Laurel Pigeon prefers mature laurel forest, but also occurs in cultivated areas and pine stand. The nest is situated on fern-covered ground within deep canyons, on small ledges or crevices. Resident.

wingspan min.: 64 cm wingspan max.: 67 cm
size min.: 37 cm size max.: 38 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 3  

Range

Africa : Canary Islands

Habitat

The species occurs in areas with steep slopes, large escarpments and deep canyons, where it prefers mature laurel forest, but also occurs in degraded laurel forest, scrubbier areas with Myrica faya and tree heath Erica arborea (generally along the lower edges of major stands of laurel forest), in Canary pine woods Pinus canariensis, mixed pine stands (generally found along the upper edges of laurel forest) and cultivated areas.

Reproduction

Nests are constructed on the ground, on small ledges or crevices, or beneath trunks or stones always within the cover of laurel forest. The nest is built mainly of branches, twigs and ferns. The breeding season extends at least from March to September although it is quite possible that nesting actually occurs throughout the year. The clutch consists of just one egg and the incubation period lasts 18-20 days. The chick leaves the nest at 22-24 days old but at first remains nearby. This is a critical time for chicks as they are exposed to predators (rats, Sparrowhawks Accipiter nisus). Juveniles remain in the company of the adults for the first few weeks.

Feeding habits

Despite the fact that no thorough studies of its diet have been carried out, the White-tailed Laurel Pigeon is thought to be a fruit-eater feeding on Ocotea foetens, Laurus azorica, Persea indica, Apollonias barbujana, Rhamnus glandulosa and cultivated species such as apricots, cherries, etc.. In farming areas it supplements its diet with some cereals (wheat, flax, barley) and some flowers. Birds have also been observed eating pine seeds in pinewoods.

The fruit of Ocotea foetens is important in the White-tailed Laurel Pigeon’s diet (particularly on La Palma where these trees are more abundant) as it is available almost all year round. On La Gomera, the White-tailed Laurel Pigeon is restricted to laurel forest as there are no mixed pinewoods. The modified areas within the forest contain cultivated fruit trees that the pigeons occasionally use.

Conservation

This species qualifies as Endangered because it has a very small range on just four islands, within which the extent and quality of its habitats is continuing to decline.
Laurel Pigeon status Endangered

Migration

Resident and endemic to the canary islands

Distribution map

Laurel Pigeon distribution range map

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