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Eurasian Collared-Dove
Streptopelia decaocto
– Family
Authors: Romagosa, Christina Margarita

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Adult Eurasian Collared-Dove, Carmel Valley, CA, 13 July.
Figure 1. Distribution of the Eurasian Collared-Dove in North America, 2011.

One of many successful species introduced to the North American fauna in recent history, the Eurasian Collared-Dove was first released in the New World on New Providence, Bahamas, in the mid-1970s. Since its introduction, this dove has spread quickly across the North American continent. Reports of this bird continue at a rapid pace as the public is made aware of its presence in North America by several authors (Kaufman 1999, Craves 2000, Romagosa and McEneaney 2000), and as a result of public outreach by local game agencies (Low 1998, Steele 1998) and bird-watching societies.

Banding studies in Europe have documented long-distance dispersal by the Eurasian Collared-Dove in its native range. Similar movement patterns may explain its range expansion in North America, although its true dispersal movements have been obscured by multiple local releases here.

While the origins of individuals in many areas of the North American continent are unknown, the success of the Eurasian Collared-Dove here can be attributed to the wide availability of seed offered by backyard bird feeders. In addition, the increasing trend of planting trees in urban and suburban habitats provides nesting and roosting sites for this species. Although less common in rural habitats, the Eurasian Collared- Dove will populate these areas when stored or waste grain is available.

Currently little appears to be limiting the spread of this dove in North America. Year-round availability of food allows it to thrive in colder regions; some individuals have even overwintered in Canada and several northern U.S. states. Disease may be a limiting factor in dense populations, although there is little evidence of disease effects in Europe, where the species is common. In short, it seems highly likely that the Eurasian Collared-Dove will become a widespread, permanent member of the North American avifauna.

Several studies from Europe have provided much of the information about its life history, as well as models of its population expansion (Fisher 1953, Hudson 1965, Coombs et al. 1981, Hengeveld 1989). Little of this information has been gathered for North American populations, although the expansion of this species’ range has been well docu-mented here (Smith 1987, Romagosa and Labisky 2000, Romagosa and McEneaney 2000). It remains undetermined what effects the Eurasian Collared-Dove will have on native American doves such as the Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura).