Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.
Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.
Because fruit production varies locally and seasonally, birds are required to constantly locate new sources of fruit and must search widely. The search for a steady supply of suitable fruiting trees influences much of the biology of this species.
Most of the Florida population is migratory. Data from five years of roadside surveys indicate that up to 90% of the U.S. breeding population leaves the Keys in winter (Bancroft et al. 1994). According to evidence from band returns and radio-telemetry, white-crowned pigeons nesting in the Upper Florida Keys first migrate to the Bahamas then fly south (Bancroft 1992). Birds nesting in the Lower Florida Keys may fly to Cuba rather than the Bahamas (Barbour 1923). While a small portion of the population spends the nonbreeding season in south Florida, most return to the Florida Keys in April and early May (Bancroft 1996).
In Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, white-crowned pigeons are most common in spring and summer when visitants from other islands augment local numbers and breed. Where food is available year round birds are resident, and most localities where the species breeds have a few birds throughout the year (Raffaele 1983.) Banding recoveries indicate that birds migrate between islands in the Caribbean (between Puerto Rico, St. Croix, and Vieques) and that some may move to interior mountain forest during the nonbreeding season (Wiley 1979).
White-crowned pigeons make daily flights from nesting and roosting sites to feeding areas (Gosse 1847, Gundlach 1874, Maynard 1896, Bent 1932, Barbour 1943, Johnston 1975). Birds will travel from the keys to mainland Florida in search of ripening fruit (AOU 1998, Kale 1978). Adult pigeons may fly more than 20 kilometers on foraging trips (G. Bancroft and A. Strong, unpubl. data), and may fly farther when fruit is scarce (Bancroft et al 2000). In Puerto Rico, Wiley and Wiley (1979) observed birds to fly 1-8 kilometers from mangrove roosting and nesting areas to scrub forest to feed and drink.