Eurasian Collared Dove

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I’ve resisted photographing Eurasian Collared Doves during the decade that I’ve been doing nature photography in southern Arizona.  They are an invasive species.  As their name implies, their native habitat lies in Europe and parts of Asia.  However, they’ve established themselves here and their presence is a fact of life.  So, recently, I set reservations aside and photographed this bird.

A Eurasian Collared Dove is easily identified by its “collar,” a black horizontal line of plumage lying at the base of the bird’s neck.  These doves are intermediate in size between Mourning Doves, their smaller cousins, and White-winged Doves.  They are extremely abundant in farm lands.  I see them also in Tucson’s urban parks.  In these locations they have either displaced or appear to be in the process of displacing the native Mourning Doves.  Eurasian Collared Doves do not seem to like desert habitat. There, the Mourning Doves and White-winged Doves continue to dominate.

This species is an example of how quickly an invasive species can colonize an area, even as one as large as the North American continent.  These birds are descendants of individuals that escaped from a pet shop in the Bahamas in the 1970s and from captivity on the island of Guadeloupe, at about the same time.  Within a couple of years they showed up in Florida and from there they expanded their range across the continent at lightning speed.  If you reside anywhere in the United States there’s a good possibility that you have this species in your community.  The next time you see a dove look for the tell-tale collar.

Image made with a Canon 5Div, 400mm f4 DO II lens+1.4x telextender, M setting (auto ISO), ISO 500, f6.3 @ 1/1600.

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