Band-tailed Pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata)



  • BC: Blue – S3S4 (2022)
  • COSEWIC: Special Concern
  • SARA: Special Concern (2011)
  • Global: Apparently Secure (2016)
  • Galiano Island Status: Confirmed


The band-tailed pigeon is a largish (40 cm long and 350g) pigeon. It is dark overall, with a purple-grey head and distinctive white crescent on the hind neck. In flight the tail appears dark with a lighter grey band across the tip. The bill (with black tip), feet and legs are yellow. Band-tailed pigeons are long-lived birds with low annual reproductive potential. Clutches usually contain one egg but some pairs may nest twice each year.


They nest in both coniferous and deciduous trees and prefer open sites and edges bordered by tall conifers for roosting. In the spring the birds feed on grains, peas, seeds and insects and are often found on farmland. During summer they move to breeding areas when trees and bushes provide food sources in berries, fruits and nuts. The winter distribution appears to coincide with the favoured food trees of arbutus and Garry oak.


They are migratory birds, but where areas are warm enough and have adequate food sources, such as on Galiano Island, the species can be found year-round. The Band-tailed pigeon lives along the BC coast from southern Vancouver Island to the Queen Charlotte Islands, with habitat in the Fraser Lowlands and a sparse distribution in the interior of northern and southern BC.


Threats within British Columbia include loss and degradation of breeding habitat and mineral sites through residential and industrial development, disturbance at mineral sites, chemical contamination at foraging and mineral sites, disease, and predation on nests by introduced species. Former additional threats to pigeons breeding in British Columbia but wintering elsewhere include inappropriate hunting regulations and behavioural attributes that make them vulnerable to hunters; but better regulations have removed this threat at present.

Galiano Status

A year-round population is established on Galiano Island.

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