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Eurasian Collared-Dove

MARC number#LocationCountyArrival dateDeparture dateObserversReport
2005-081Island Road, 1/4 mile east of intersection with Route 1A, EssexEssex5/28/055/28/05A. Richards, J. Doppler, et al.11
2005-604B. Fletcher Yard, ChathamBarnstable10/12/051/12/06B. Fletcher (ph)16
2006-371Morris Island–Dune Dr., ChathamBarnstable10/30/0610/30/06M. Iliff (ph)12
2011-0231Eel Point Rd., NantucketNantucket5/14/115/15/11S. Langer* (ph), E. Ray (ph)16
2011-0241B. Fletcher Yard, ChathamBarnstable5/12/115/22/2011 (roughly)B. Fletcher* (ph)16

Eurasian Collared-Dove is a widespread Eurasian species found from w. Europe to Sri Lanka and Myanmar and n. to Scandinavia (AOU 1998). It was introduced in the Bahamas in the early 1980s and thence spread northwestward across the country, with populations established in California by 2001. Its colonization of the East Coast has been surprisingly slow and it remains an accidental vagrant in Massachusetts. See eBird map.

 Eurasian Collared-Dove at Morris Island, Chatham 30 Oct 2006 (ph. Marshall J. Iliff)

Given its explosive expansion elsewhere in the country, it is quite surprising that Massachusetts has had just two records to date and perhaps even more surprising that there have been none since 2006. Both records were discovered at or near the coast and were present for only a short time, as though they were recent arrivals that were on the move.

Figure 3. Map showing distribution of records in Massachusetts. Counties
are outlined in yellow; towns are defined by the narrow black borders.

While vagrant Eurasian Collared-Doves could turn up almost anywhere—in urban, suburban, or rural environments—the immediate coast during spring (especially May) and fall (Aug-Nov) is probably the best bet. A breeding outpost might also appear in the more agrarian western parts of the state, since this species often settles in small towns or farm areas, especially areas with bird feeders or substantial amounts of spilled grain.

STATUS IN THE EAST: Smith (1987) and Romagosa and McEneaney (2000) provide detailed accounts of the arrival and spread of Eurasian Collared-Dove as a naturalized exotic in the New World. It is now abundant throughout much of the United States from Florida and Georgia westward to California, south to central Mexico and northward to southern Canada, and it continues to expand. Scattered outposts exist through much of the Great Plains, Great Basin, and Intermountain West and it is increasingly common on the West Coast north to Washington. Along the East Coast its spread has been more moderate. It is now established through much of South and North Carolina and occurs at scattered outposts in Virginia, Maryland (one breeding location), and Delaware (one breeding record). It an annual vagrant to New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and has xxx records from New York as of 2009. Other records from Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Maine make it all the more surprising that the species has not been found more than twice in Massachusetts.

IDENTIFICATION NOTES: Domesticated African Collared-Doves Streptopelia roseogrisea, sometimes known as Ringed Turtle-Dove, may occur as escapees from captivity and are very similar to Eurasian Collared-Dove. The vocalizations are perhaps the best way to separate the two species, as Eurasian Collared-Dove has a three-noted “who-whooooo-hu” call as well a a low, gruff “rheeew” given in flight. African Collared-Dove has a rolling, laughing call. Visually, Eurasian Collared-Dove is larger with a fuller chest, darker primary tips, darker gray body plumage, a broader black half ring on the hindneck, and more black in the tail. See Smith (1987) for more detail on separating these two species.


Romagosa, C.M., and T. McEneaney. 2000. The Eurasian Collared-Dove in North America and the Caribbean. NAB 53: 348-353
Smith, P.W. 1987. The Eurasian Collared-Dove arrives in the Americas. AB 41:1370-1379