Laurel Pigeon

Laurel Pigeon


Profile Laurel Pigeon
[order] Columbiformes |

[order] Columbiformes | [family] Columbidae | [latin] Columba junoniae | [UK] Laurel Pigeon | [FR] Pigeon des lauriers | [DE] Lorbeertaube | [ES] Paloma rabiche | [IT] Colomba di Giunone | [NL] Laurierduif

Laurierduif determination

copyright: Paul Hindess

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.

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.

Columba junoniae is endemic to Europe, where it has a very small range (An endemic species of the Canary islands (La Palma, La Gomera and Tenerife), dependent on natural laurel (Laurus) forest. Its population has dramatically declined, but seems fairly stabilised since 1970 at about 1200-1500 breeding pairs. The species remains vulnerable, however, threatened by habitat loss and illegal hunting.
Columba junoniae has an estimated population of 1,200-1,480 individuals on the Canary Islands, Spain. A subpopulation is found on La Palma with 1,000-1,200 birds, mainly in the north-east and at El Canal, Los Tilos and Barranco de la Herradura. A second subpopulation occurs on Tenerife with 80-120 birds, the highest densities occurring at Monte del Agua and Laderas de Tigaiga. A third subpopulation is found on La Gomera with 120-160 birds mainly in Garajonay National Park and its surrounds. During 1970-1990, numbers may have been stable, but there are insufficient data to confirm this and continued declines are possible. It has a small extent of occurence, estimated at just 1,240 km2.

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.

Endemic to Canary Islands, the White-tailed Laurel Pigeon has today a popualtion of about 1,300 individuals. Although stable at the moment, the species is threatened by the destruction and degradation of laurel forest, principally at privatelly owned sites, illegal hunting and predation by rats at nesting sites. [conservation status from]

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.

Resident and endemic to the canary islands


  1. Measurements
  2. spanwidth min.: 64 cm
  3. spanwidth max.: 67 cm
  4. size min.: 37 cm
  5. size max.: 38 cm
  6. Breeding
  7. incubation min.: 0 days
  8. incubation max.: 0 days
  9. fledging min.: 0 days
  10. fledging max.: 0 days
  11. broods 1
  12. eggs min.: 2
  13. eggs max.: 3
  14. Conservation Status
  15. Laurierduif status Endangered
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