Columba fasciata, the Band-tailed Pigeon, is a New World bird residing in the western Americas and Canada. It is found as far north as British Columbia, and extends south to Argentina. Its easternmost limit is the Rocky Mountains. (Encarta, 2001)
Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )
occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Breeding
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDING, FASCIATA group: southwestern British Columbia, Utah, north-central Colorado, south to southern Baja California, Mexican tableland, and mountains of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and north-central Nicaragua (AOU 1998). NON-BREEDING, FASCIATA group: western Washington, central California and southwestern U.S. south through breeding range, rarely north to British Columbia (AOU 1998). RESIDENT, ALBILINEA group: mountains of Costa Rica and western Panama; and in South America in mountains from Venezuela, Trinidad, and Colombia south to Peru, Bolivia, and northwestern Argentina (AOU 1998).
Of the 8 subspecies of band-tailed pigeon, only 2 native subspecies are recognized north of Mexico [1,15,43]. They are the Pacific band-tailed pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata monilis) and the interior band-tailed pigeon (P. f. fasciata). They are mutually exclusive races, breeding in areas that do not overlap [15,77]. Bird Web provides a distributional map of band-tailed pigeon, as well as photos.
The breeding range of the Pacific band-tailed pigeon occurs from southwestern British Columbia; south along the western side of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range to Baja California Norte, Mexico [1,11,19,46,64,85], and extreme western Nevada [19,52]. Pacific band-tailed pigeons may be either residents or migrants . Pacific band-tailed pigeons in the northern portion of their range are strongly migratory , although resident populations have been reported in Seattle, Washington  and Portland, Oregon . Wintering grounds are from San Francisco, California [53,64,85], south to Ensenada, Baja California Norte [15,64]. Fall migration routes to wintering grounds follow coastal mountain ranges and 2 migration corridors southward [11,84,85]. One route follows the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada, and the 2nd route is along the Coast Ranges. Both routes converge in the Transverse Range in Ventura County, California, and continue to southern California and Baja California Norte [84,85].
The breeding range of the interior band-tailed pigeon occurs east of the Sierra Nevada  in the Rocky Mountains of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah [1,15,32,33,43]. Some populations occur in southern Nevada, Wyoming, and western Texas . Wintering grounds extend from the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua south along the crest of the Sierra Madre Occidental to Michoacan, Mexico [15,46]. Fall migration routes to wintering grounds follow 2 major routes. One route is from south central Colorado southwest across New Mexico to extreme southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona. The 2nd route is from central and western Colorado to east-central Arizona, where a route from Utah converges, then south along the New Mexico and Arizona boundary. Northward migration probably takes place along the same routes .
The following lists are speculative and are based on the habitat characteristics and species composition of communities band-tailed pigeons are known to occupy. There is not conclusive evidence that band-tailed pigeons occur in all the habitat types listed, and some community types, especially those used rarely, may have been omitted. See Preferred Habitat for more detail.
States or Provinces
Regional Distribution in the Western United States
This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):
BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS :
1 Northern Pacific Border
3 Southern Pacific Border
4 Sierra Mountains
6 Upper Basin and Range
7 Lower Basin and Range
11 Southern Rocky Mountains
12 Colorado Plateau
13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont
The Band-tailed Pigeon is a medium sized bird weighing up to 340 g (12 oz) and reaching a length of 39 cm (15 in). The head is small, with a linear bill, and broad neck. The bill and feet are yellow with black markings on the tips. The coloration varies from a purplish-grey on the head and upper body, to a brownish slate blue on each side of the breast. Its underside grades from the darker purplish-grey at the top of the breast, to near white at the tail. As its name implies, the Band-tailed Pigeon has a black band across its tail feathers. A thin white band appears on the back of the neck in adults, extending to just behind the eye on each side. In direct sunlight, iridescent greens and purples can be seen on the neck and breast. Feathers are of medium length with broadly arched tips. Females are similar to males, with markings less pronounced. (Audubon, 1995; Encarta, 2001; Readers Digest, 1990)
Range mass: 340 (high) g.
Average mass: 340 g.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Length: 37 cm
Weight: 398 grams
Sierra Madre Occidental Pine-oak Forests Habitat
This taxon is found in the Sierra Madre Occidental pine-oak forests ecoregion, which boasts some of the richest biodiversity anywhere in North America, and contains about two thirds of the standing timber in Mexico. Twenty-three different species of pine and about 200 species of oak reside within the Sierra Madre Occidental pine-oak forests ecoregion.
Pine-oak forests here typically grow on elevations between approximately 1500 and 3300 meters, and occur as isolated habitat islands in northern areas within the Chihuahuan Desert. Soils are typically deep, where the incline allows soil build-up and derived from igneous material, although metamorphic rocks also form part of the soils in the west and northwest portions of the sierra. Steep-sloped mountains have shaped some portions of the Sierra, while others are dominated by their deep valleys, tall canyons and cliffs. These steep-sided cliffs have thinner soils limiting vegetation to chaparral types; characterized by dense clumps of Mexican Manzanita (Arctostaphylos pungens), Quercus potosina and Netleaf Oak (Q. rugosa). There are also zones of natural pasture, with grasses from the genera Arisitida, Panicum, Bromus and Stevis.
The pine-oak forests gradually transform into an oak-grassland vegetative association. Such communities represent an ecological transition between pine-oak forests and desert grasslands.. Here, species such as Chihuahuan Oak (Quercus chihuahuensis), Shin Oak (Q. grisea), Q. striatula and Emory Oak (Q. emoryi), mark a transition zone between temperate and arid environments, growing in a sparse fashion and with a well-developed herbaceous stratum resembling xeric scrub. Cacti are also part of these transition communities extending well into the woodlands. Some cacti species such as the Little Nipple Cactus (Mammillaria heyderi macdougalii), Greenflower Nipple Cactus (M. viridiflora), Mojave Mound Cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus), and Leding's Hedgehog Cactus (E. fendleri var. ledingii) are chiefly centered in these biotic communities. The dominant vegetation in the northernmost part of the ecoregion in the Madrean Sky Islands includes Chihuahua Pine (Pinus leiophylla), Mexican Pinyon (P. cembroides), Arizona Pine (P. arizonica), Silverleaf Oak (Quercus hypoleucoides), Arizona White Oak (Q. arizonica), Emory Oak (Q. emoryi), Netleaf Oak (Q. rugosa), Alligator Juniper (Juniperus deppeana), and Mexican Manzanita (Arctostaphylos pungens).
This ecoregion is an important area for bird richness and bird endemism. Likewise, virtually all of the ecoregion is included in the Sierra Madre Occidental and trans-mexican range Endemic Bird Area. Endemic bird species include the Thick-billed Parrot (Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha EN) which is in danger of extinction, with population estimates as low as 500 pairs; the Tufted Jay (Cyanocorax dickeyi NT), Eared Quetzal (Euptilptis neoxenus NT) and the Green-striped Brush Finch (Buarremon virenticeps). Temperate and tropical influences converge in this ecoregion, forming a unique and rich complex of flora and fauna. Many other birds are found in this ecoregion including the Green Parakeet (Aratinga holochlora), Eared Trogon (Euptilotis neoxenus NT), Coppery-tailed Trogon (Trogon elegans), Grey-breasted Jay (Aphelocoma ultramarina), Violet-crowned Hummingbird (Amazilia violiceps), Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis NT), and Golden Eagle (Aguila chryaetos). Some species found only in higher montane areas are the Gould's Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo mexicana), Band-tailed Pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata), Mexican Chickadee (Poecile sclateri) and Hepatic Tanager (Piranga flava).
The Sierra Madre Mantled Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus madrensis NT) is an endemic to the Sierra Madre Occidental pine-oak forests, restricted to southwestern Chihuahua, Mexico. The Mexican Gray Wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) and Mexican Grizzly Bear (Ursus horribilis), although considered by most to be extinct from this ecoregion, once roamed these mountains. Mammals also present include White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus), American Black Bear (Ursus americanus), Buller’s Chipmunk (Tamias bulleri), endemic Zacatecan Deer Mouse (Peromyscus difficilis), rock Squirrel (Spernophilis variegatus), Zacatecas Harvest Mouse (Reithrodontomys zacatecae) and Coati (Nasua nasua), to set forth a subset of mammals present.
Reptiles are also numerous in this ecoregion. Fox´s Mountain Meadow Snake (Adelophis foxi) is an endemic taxon to the ecoregion, only observed at the type locality at four kilometers east of Mil Diez, about 3.2 kilometers west of El Salto, in southwestern Durango, Mexico. There are at least six species of rattlesnakes including the Mexican Dusky Rattlesnake (Crotalis triseriatus), Mojave Rattlesnake (C. scutulatus), Rock Rattlesnake (C. lepidus), Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (C. atrox), Twin-spotted Rattlesnake (C. pricei), and Ridgenose Rattlesnakes (C. willardi). Clark's Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus clarkii) and Yarrow's Spiny Lizard (S. jarrovii), Bunchgrass Lizard (S. scalaris), and Striped Plateau Lizard (S. virgatus) are several of the lizards found in the Sierra Madre Occidental pine-oak forests.
Along springs and streams the Western Barking Frog (Craugastor augusti) and the Tarahumara Frog (Rana tamahumarae) are two anuran taxa occurring in the ecoregion. Other anuran taxa found here include: Bigfoot Leopard Frog (Lithobates megapoda), Northwest Mexico Leopard Frog (Lithobates magnaocularis) and the Blunt-toed Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus modestus VU). The Sacramento Mountains Salamander (Aneides hardii) is an endemic salamander found in the Sierra Madre Occidental pine-oak forests, restricted to the Sacramento Mountains, Capitan Mountains, and Sierra Blanca in Lincoln and Otero Counties within southern New Mexico, USA.
The Band-tailed Pigeon is found in the forests or coastal woodlands of Western British Colombia and America. They perch, nest and feed in coniferous trees such as pines and pinyons as well as oaks. Unlike the common pigeon which can be found in cities around the world, the Band-tailed Pigeon will avoid populated areas and any human contact. (Hogle Zoo, 2001; Readers Digest, 1990; Ehrlich, 1988)
Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; mountains
Habitat and Ecology
Comments: BREEDING: Generally found in temperate and mountain coniferous and mixed forests and woodlands, especially pine-oak woodlands, and locally in southern lowlands; also forage in cultivated areas, suburban gardens and parks (Subtropical and Temperate zones) (AOU 1983; Braun 1994). Will often forage in diverse habitats not used for nesting.
North American Coastal populations usually found below 1,000 m in a variety of forest types, especially pine-oak, spruce, fir, Douglas-fir (PSEUDOTSUGA MENZIESII), redwood (SEQUOIA SEMPERVIRENS), cedar (THUJA spp.), hemlock (TSUGA spp.) and alder (ALNUS spp.; Braun 1994). In Oregon and Washington, typically found in Douglas-fir, hemlock, cedar, and spruce (Braun 1994). In Oregon, most abundant in western third of the Coast Range in association with distribution of Pacific red elder and cascara buckthorn (Sanders 1999). Recorded occasionally foraging above timber line on LUPINUS species (Gabrielson and Jewett 1940). In northern California, found in Douglas-fir forests, spruce groves, alder thickets and redwood snags (Glover 1953, Braun 1994). May use spruce in greater proportion to availability (Glover 1953). In southern California, typically use pine-oak (Braun 1994).
Interior populations nest in mountains, with highest densities between 1,600 and 2,700 m in areas dominated by ponderosa pine (PINUS PONDEROSA) and oak (QUERCUS spp.), but are also found in lodgepole pine (P. CONTORTA), pine-Douglas-fir forests, and spruce-Douglas-fir-fir (PICEA-PSEUDOTSUGA-ABIES; Braun 1994; Keppie and Braun 2000). In Colorado, most abundant in forests between 1,800 and 3,200 m and those dominated by ponderosa pine and Gambel oak (QUERCUS GAMBELLI); also uses spruce-fir-aspen (PICEA-PSEUDOTSUGA-POPULUS), lodgepole pine (P. CONTORTA), limber pine (P. FLEXILIS), riparian habitats and agricultural areas in foothills (Braun 1973, Andrews and Righter 1992). In Utah, uses Gambel oak and pinyon pine (P. EDULIS, P. MONOPHYLLA); in Arizona and New Mexico uses oak-juniper (QUERCUS-JUNIPERUS) and pinyon-juniper woodlands (Keppie and Braun 2000).
In the neotropics, a bird of mountainous forested country, usually in deciduous broadleaf forests, broadleaf evergreen forests and scrub (Rappole et al. 1995). In Mexico and Central America, found in highland pine-oak, pine-oak-fir, and oak woodlands, between 1000 and 3000 m during the breeding season (Stiles and Skutch 1989, Hutto 1992, Howell and Webb 1995). In Panama, uses forest, forest borders and clearings with large trees between 1200 and 3000 meters (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989). In Colombia, usually found between 2000 and 3000 meters in humid mountain forest habitats, as well as clearings with scattered large trees and steep scrubby slopes (Hilty and Brown 1986). In Venezuela, recorded in northern mountain habitats, including paramos, open fields with scattered trees, savannas, second growth, and wheat fields. Occurs between 900 and 3000 meters north of the Orinoco River, between 1200 and 3000 meters south of the Orinoco (DeSchauensee and Phelps 1978). May range seasonally to areas higher or lower than 'normal' range (Hilty and Brown 1986, Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, Stiles and Skutch 1989, Howell and Webb 1995).
Mineral springs and mineral graveling sites are important for mineral intake by adults, especially during the nesting season. Pigeons show strong fidelity to mineral sites (Jarvis and Passmore 1992). Use of mineral sites is most notable in Coastal populations, and less so in Interior populations where mineral needs may instead be satisfied by abrasion of grit that is highly basic (Braun 1994). Although several authors suggested that mineral sites provided calcium in diet (March and Sadlier 1972, Jarvis and Passmore 1992), a study in Oregon revealed sites to be low in calcium but high in sodium, where principal foods (fruits of SAMBUCUS spp. and RHAMNUS PURSHIANA) were high in calcium and low in sodium (Sanders and Jarvis 2000). Site use probably depends not only on mineral content, but also vegetation structure, development, level of human activity, and traditional use by pigeons (Sanders and Jarvis 2000).
Nest habitat (e.g., nest placement, type and age of tree or shrub, elevation and aspect) varies greatly throughout range (Braun 1994). Will nest in a tree or shrub 4-10 m from the ground, usually near the bole in dense foliage, and often next to an opening or above a slope or precipice. The nest is a loose platform of twigs (Terres 1980; Braun 1994; Baicich and Harrison 1997). Birds display strong fidelity to nest area (Braun 1972, Schroeder and Braun 1993), and nest trees may be used repeatedly with new nests constructed each year (Braun 1994).
NONBREEDING: Interior populations winter primarily in pine-oak woodlands and montane coniferous forests in Mexico, along the Sierra Madre Occidental; also in tropical deciduous forests in Sinaloa (Braun 1994). Coastal populations winter from central California to Baja California in pine-oak woodlands, coastal chaparral (ADENOSTOMA, ARCTOSTAPHYLOS, CEANOTHUS, and QUERCUS spp.) and adjacent agricultural areas (Jeffrey 1977).
Stand age: Pacific band-tailed pigeons utilize early and late successional stages. Early successional stages in redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forests of Humboldt County, California, provided more food for the Pacific band-tailed pigeon than climax forests due to the large amount of fruiting shrubs . In northwestern California, Pacific band-tailed pigeons were present in a virgin Douglas-fir forest and in a 3- to 7-year old brush-stage clearcut .
Preferred roosting, resting, and nesting summer cover for Pacific band-tailed pigeons in Humboldt County, California, were 20- to 60-year old Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) groves and alder (Alnus spp.) thickets along watersheds .
Stand composition/structure: Band-tailed pigeons avoid ecotone edges [39,72]. Of 25 band-tailed pigeons detected in Douglas-fir study plots within the Six Rivers, Klamath, and Shasta-Trinity National Forests, California, none were found on plot edges .
Essential habitat elements for the band-tailed pigeon are trees and mast, especially acorns . Pacific band-tailed pigeons prefer foothill woodlands  and montane forests , chaparral with an abundance of oak (Quercus spp.), and occasionally subalpine forests [11,33].
Interior band-tailed pigeons prefer habitat dominated by Gambel oak (Q. gambelii) and ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa). Of 825 observations of interior band-tailed pigeons in Colorado, 88% inhabited elevations from 5,000 to 9,000 feet (1,524 - 2,743 m) [14,15].
Pacific band-tailed pigeons nest primarily in coniferous forests . At least 44 tree species may be used in the Pacific Coast Ranges . Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), Monterey pine (Pinus radiata) [52,53], and acacia (Acacia spp.) are used most frequently. Nests may be built in open- or closed-canopy stands, and trees range from sapling-pole to old growth. On the Oregon Coast Range, 69% of 138 nests were built in a closed-canopy forest, and pole-sized trees were used 55% of the time . In the western half of Oregon's Willamette Valley and on the Coast Ranges, Pacific band-tailed pigeons nested primarily in Douglas-fir trees within a closed-canopy (>70%) coniferous or mixed conifer-broadleaf forest .
Interior band-tailed pigeons in Colorado prefer to nest in forests dominated by ponderosa pine, Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii), Douglas-fir, lodgepole pine (P. contorta), and limber pine (P. flexilis) .
Foraging habitat: Sixty-four percent of 25 Pacific band-tailed pigeon feeding sites in the Oregon Coast Ranges were associated with moist bottomlands and creeks with open or sparse canopied forest (clearcuts, young stands, or large gaps). Eighty-four percent contained a food source <30 feet (9 m) in height. Pacific band-tailed pigeons traveled a mean distance of 3.1 miles (5.0 km) (range 0.2-32.1 miles (0.3-51.6 km)) to feeding sites and 5.2 miles (8.4 km)(range 2.2-8.7 miles (3.5-14.0 km)) to mineral sites from nests .
Major feeding sites for interior band-tailed pigeons occur in montane coniferous forest dominated by ponderosa pine and Gambel oak, evergreen woodlands, and interior chaparral where mast is available. Cultivated fields are also used .
Wintering area: Preliminary data indicate that interior band-tailed pigeons wintering in Mexico prefer oak-pine woodlands, oak woodlands, and montane conifer forests from fall to mid-winter. They also use subtropical Sinoloan deciduous forest, and thornscrub communities .
Associated Plant Communities
Pacific band-tailed pigeons are associated with the giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) community along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada in California [47,56].
During winter, Pacific band-tailed pigeons used a floodplain riparian woodland dominated by willow (Salix spp.), California black walnut (Juglans californica), boxelder (Acer negundo), Oregon ash (Fraxinus latifolia), white alder (Alnus rhombifolia), and Fremont cottonwood (Populus fremontii) in Dog Island City Park in Red Bluff, California .
Common fruiting shrubs and trees in Pacific band-tailed pigeon habitat in the Pacific Coast region are cascara (Rhamnus purshiana), huckleberry (Vaccinium spp.), cherry (Prunus spp.), elderberry (Sambucus spp.), and Pacific madrone (Arbutus menziesii) .
Habitat: Rangeland Cover Types
This species is known to occur in association with the following Rangeland Cover Types (as classified by the Society for Range Management, SRM):
More info for the terms: cover, shrub
SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES :
109 Ponderosa pine shrubland
110 Ponderosa pine-grassland
202 Coast live oak woodland
203 Riparian woodland
204 North coastal shrub
205 Coastal sage shrub
206 Chamise chaparral
207 Scrub oak mixed chaparral
208 Ceanothus mixed chaparral
209 Montane shrubland
411 Aspen woodland
412 Juniper-pinyon woodland
413 Gambel oak
414 Salt desert shrub
415 Curlleaf mountain-mahogany
503 Arizona chaparral
504 Juniper-pinyon pine woodland
Habitat: Cover Types
This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):
More info for the term: cover
SAF COVER TYPES :
110 Black oak
206 Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir
207 Red fir
210 Interior Douglas-fir
211 White fir
213 Grand fir
218 Lodgepole pine
219 Limber pine
221 Red alder
222 Black cottonwood-willow
223 Sitka spruce
224 Western hemlock
225 Western hemlock-Sitka spruce
226 Coastal true fir-hemlock
227 Western redcedar-western hemlock
228 Western redcedar
229 Pacific Douglas-fir
230 Douglas-fir-western hemlock
233 Oregon white oak
234 Douglas-fir-tanoak-Pacific madrone
237 Interior ponderosa pine
238 Western juniper
241 Western live oak
243 Sierra Nevada mixed conifer
244 Pacific ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir
245 Pacific ponderosa pine
246 California black oak
247 Jeffrey pine
249 Canyon live oak
255 California coast live oak
Habitat: Plant Associations
This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):
More info for the term: shrub
KUCHLER  PLANT ASSOCIATIONS:
K001 Spruce-cedar-hemlock forest
K002 Cedar-hemlock-Douglas-fir forest
K004 Fir-hemlock forest
K005 Mixed conifer forest
K006 Redwood forest
K007 Red fir forest
K008 Lodgepole pine-subalpine forest
K010 Ponderosa shrub forest
K011 Western ponderosa forest
K012 Douglas-fir forest
K014 Grand fir-Douglas-fir forest
K015 Western spruce-fir forest
K018 Pine-Douglas-fir forest
K019 Arizona pine forest
K020 Spruce-fir-Douglas-fir forest
K021 Southwestern spruce-fir forest
K023 Juniper-pinyon woodland
K024 Juniper steppe woodland
K026 Oregon oakwoods
K029 California mixed evergreen forest
K030 California oakwoods
K031 Oak-juniper woodland
This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES22 Western white pine
FRES24 Hemlock-Sitka spruce
FRES26 Lodgepole pine
FRES28 Western hardwoods
FRES30 Desert shrub
FRES32 Texas savanna
FRES33 Southwestern shrubsteppe
FRES34 Chaparral-mountain shrub
FRES40 Desert grasslands
Depth range (m): 0 - 0
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.
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: Yes. At least some populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.
Partial migrant. Northern Coastal and northern Interior breeding populations are mostly migratory; arrive in northern Coastal areas March-May, in northern Interior areas generally late March-May. Return southward late August-October (Terres 1980; Keppie and Braun 2000). Oregon birds probably do not begin autumn migration before late September (Jarvis and Passmore 1992).
Northern Coastal populations migrate to southern California and Baja California, but in some northern urban centers (e.g., Puget Sound, Washington; Vancouver Island, British Columbia) may be present year-round where feeders and holly orchards are available (Keppie and Braun 2000). Colorado birds migrate and winter along the Sierra Madre Occidental in western Mexico (Schroeder and Braun 1993). Due to nomadic habits, it can be difficult to distinguish migration chronology from shorter-distance travels for foraging (Keppie and Braun, in press).
Southern populations in Mexico, Central America and South America are year-round residents but considered local nomads (Hilty and Brown 1986, Stiles and Skutch 1989, Howell and Webb 1995).
An omnivore, the Band-tailed Pigeon will eat the nuts, seeds, berries, blossoms (buds of the balsam poplar) and insects found in its coastal woodland and forest habitat. When in season it is also known to eat domestic crops such as cherries, berries, oats, barley and wheat. (Hogle Zoo, 2001; Encarta, 2000; Readers Digest, 1990; Ehrlich, 1988)
Comments: Diet varies by season and location; 98% vegetarian (Keppie and Braun 2000). Feeds on new buds, flowers, nuts, seeds, grain and berries (e.g., acorns, hazelnuts, pine seeds, waste oats, barley and corn, wild grapes, elderberries, mulberries, blueberries, etc.); also eats some insects (Terres 1980; Braun 1994; Keppie and Braun 2000). In Oregon, red elder and cascara buckthorn are primary foods during nesting season (Jarvis and Passmore 1992). Will readily exploit stored or waste agricultural grains, and will use bird feeders (Braun 1994). In Pacific Coast states, congregates at mineral springs to consume minerals from mid-June to mid-September; may be essential for sodium intake (Jarvis and Passmore 1992; Sanders and Jarvis 2000).
Food plays a major role in band-tailed pigeon ecology. It influences distribution  and the initiation and duration of the nesting season [43,64]. Band-tailed pigeons are highly mobile [46,52,85] and locate food easily . More than 98% of the band-tailed pigeon diet is vegetarian . Band-tailed pigeons feed on more than 97 plant species, and food choices change seasonally ; however, feeding is usually restricted to 1 abundant food item even when other foods are available [46,85].
Across the band-tailed pigeon's range, acorns are a staple food year-round . Principal foods eaten by band-tailed pigeons during spring and early summer  are field grains (Poaceae) [46,63,65] and tree buds . During summer [43,46], fruits such as wild and cultivated cherry [14,46,57,63], blackberry, raspberry (Rubus spp.) and elderberry [14,57,61,63] are eaten. During autumn and winter , acorns [12,24,46,55,57,61,63,85,86] and leaves  are the main foods consumed. The interior band-tailed pigeon also consumes Mexican pinyon (Pinus cembroides) seeds . Band-tailed pigeons require a steady source of fresh water [83,85] and grit or gravel for grinding food [75,85]. Salt water [40,85], and dietary minerals [43,46,52,54,66,74,75] are sometimes used (see Mineral sites).
While nesting, Pacific band-tailed pigeons in western Oregon feed almost exclusively on red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa var. arborescens), blue elderberry (S. nigra ssp. cerulea) and cascara (Rhamnus purshiana) [43,54]. Principal foods eaten during fall migration of Pacific band-tailed pigeons in Humboldt County, California, include California black oak (Q. kelloggii) and Oregon white oak (Q. garryana) acorns .
Mineral sites: The band-tailed pigeon uses mineral sites [43,46,66,75]; however, the use is not a universal trait among band-tailed pigeons , and the availability of mineral sites is not a limiting factor in the population size of Pacific band-tailed pigeons . Mineral site use is uncommon for interior band-tailed pigeons in Colorado . Mineral sites are used primarily during the nesting season [43,53,54,66] and may be used in response to social stimuli .
Mineral sources may be natural or man-made. In western Oregon, mineral sites are often naturally occurring and may be dry or wet. Dry sites include landslides or livestock salt blocks. Wet sites include saltwater bays and estuaries, mineralized springs, abandoned artesian salt wells, or waste water from pulp mills .
Important components of mineral sites used by band-tailed pigeons include the presence of specific minerals, adequate perch sites, a tradition of congregation at a particular site, and the amount of human activity and development . Mineral sites and estuaries used by Pacific band-tailed pigeons on the Oregon coast contained a series of coniferous perch sites within 984.0 feet (299.9 m) . In western Oregon, the average distance for all nests (n=138) to the nearest mineral site ranged from 1.2 to 13.2 miles (2.0-21.3 km) and averaged 6.2 miles (10.0 km) (s=4.57) .
The consumption of minerals at mineral sites was previously thought to supplement the low sodium and calcium content of blue elderberry, red elderberry, and cascara, which are heavily depended on by Pacific band-tailed pigeons in western Oregon during the breeding season [43,54]. Sanders  found that mineral sites provide an inconsistent source of calcium and are not as important during the breeding season as previously thought.
Band-tailed pigeon predators include western scrub jay (Aphelocoma californica) , Cooper's hawk (Accipiter cooperii) [43,46], sharp-shinned hawk (A. striatus) , northern goshawk (A. gentilis) [55,70], common raven (Corvus corax), prairie falcon (Falco mexicanus), peregrine falcon (F. peregrinus), great horned owl (Bubo virginianus), and tree squirrels (Tamiasciurus and Sciurus spp.) .
10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Comments: Coastal population was estimated at 2.4-3.1 million individuals in 1992 (USFWS 1996).
Gregarious year-round; size of foraging and migrating flocks may range from tens to many hundreds of birds (Keppie and Braun 2000). In Colorado, fairly discrete subpopulations occur in rather well-defined areas (Braun 1972). Nomadic in response to food availability. See Jarvis and Passmore (1992) for detailed ecological study in Oregon. Also see Jackman and Scott (1975), Braun (1994), and Keppie and Braun (2000) for more extensive ecological and life history summaries.
Habitat-related Fire Effects
Following fire, modifications in the food supply and habitat of band-tailed pigeons may occur, as well as changes in the abundance of competitors and predators . According to Finch and others , the effects of fire on birds and their habitat vary with: 1) the severity and extent of the fire; 2) temporal scales; 3) life history characteristics of the bird species; and 4) whether or not salvage logging occurs following fire. Severe fires alter the forest structure more than low-severity fires, and a stand-replacing fire may result in the replacement of a bird species with a different bird species. Large, severe fires may greatly alter bird habitat in the short term but may be necessary for long-term maintenance of some forest types . Fire may be beneficial to grain-collecting birds such as the band-tailed pigeon due to increased nesting habitat and food supplies [10,13,16,37,39,42,87,92]. Salvage logging may reduce the benefits of fire to birds, including the band-tailed pigeon, that utilize snags for perching .
Very little information is available on the effects of fire on the band-tailed tailed pigeon.
Of several developmental stages studied following severe wildfires in a western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla)/Douglas-fir forest in Olympic National Park, Washington, band-tailed pigeons bred only in a 110-year postfire stage. Study areas included a stand-initiation stage (postfire years 1 to 3 and 19), a stem exclusion stage 110 postfire years, an understory reinitiation stage (postfire year 181), and an old-growth stage (515 postfire years). The 110-year postfire forest, where band-tailed pigeons were found breeding, consisted of a dense stand of relatively uniform-sized trees, numerous but small snags, and a lack of vertical tree structure, characterized as a 1-layered canopy .
Wildfires in Humboldt County, California, may diminish suitable habitat for band-tailed pigeons in the short term; however, an abundance of food producing plants consumed by the band-tailed pigeon becomes available 2 to 5 years later .
Research offers no information on band-tailed pigeon's response to fire in habitats preferred by the species, but limited information is available on the Pacific band-tailed pigeon's frequency in burned fir forests (not preferred habitat) in Yosemite National Park, California. One and two years after an October prescribed burn in white fir (Abies concolor)-mixed-conifer forest, 1% of Pacific band-tailed pigeons were found in burned areas during the breeding period, and no Pacific band-tailed pigeons were found in unburned areas. One year after a June wildfire in red fir (Abies magnifica), 1% of Pacific band-tailed pigeons occurred in burned areas and none in unburned areas; none were found during the breeding period in the 2nd postfire year. The same study indicated that Pacific band-tailed pigeons were slightly more frequent in fir habitat during the late-breeding and post-breeding periods (5-11% relative frequency in unburned habitat, 3-5% in prescribed burned habitat, and 0-4% in habitat burned by wildfire). The results were not statistically significant (P>0.05) .
The following table provides fire return intervals for plant communities and ecosystems where the band-tailed pigeon is important. For further information, see the FEIS review of the dominant species listed below.
|Community or Ecosystem||Dominant Species||Fire Return Interval Range (years)|
|silver fir-Douglas-fir||Abies amabilis-Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii||>200|
|grand fir||Abies grandis||35-200 |
|California chaparral||Adenostoma and/or Arctostaphylos spp.||<35 to <100|
|desert grasslands||Bouteloua eriopoda and/or Pleuraphis mutica||<35 to <100|
|California montane chaparral||Ceanothus and/or Arctostaphylos spp.||50-100|
|juniper-oak savanna||Juniperus ashei-Quercus virginiana||<35|
|western juniper||Juniperus occidentalis||20-70 |
|Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir||Picea engelmannii-Abies lasiocarpa||35 to >200 |
|pinyon-juniper||Pinus-Juniperus spp.||<35 |
|Mexican pinyon||Pinus cembroides||20-70 [59,90]|
|Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine*||Pinus contorta var. latifolia||25-340 [7,8,91]|
|Sierra lodgepole pine*||Pinus contorta var. murrayana||35-200 |
|Colorado pinyon||Pinus edulis||10-400+ [23,27,45,68]|
|Jeffrey pine||Pinus jeffreyi||5-30|
|Pacific ponderosa pine*||Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa||1-47 |
|interior ponderosa pine*||Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum||2-30 [3,6,50]|
|Arizona pine||Pinus ponderosa var. arizonica||2-15 [6,17,80]|
|quaking aspen (west of the Great Plains)||Populus tremuloides||7-120 [3,30,58]|
|Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir*||Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca||25-100 [3,4,5]|
|coastal Douglas-fir*||Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii||40-240 [3,60,71]|
|California mixed evergreen||Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii-Lithocarpus densiflorus-Arbutus menziesii||<35|
|California oakwoods||Quercus spp.||<35 |
|oak-juniper woodland (Southwest)||Quercus-Juniperus spp.||<35 to <200 |
|coast live oak||Quercus agrifolia||2-75 |
|canyon live oak||Quercus chrysolepis||<35 to 200|
|Oregon white oak||Quercus garryana||<35 |
|California black oak||Quercus kelloggii||5-30 |
|interior live oak||Quercus wislizenii||<35 |
|redwood||Sequoia sempervirens||5-200 [3,22,88]|
|western redcedar-western hemlock||Thuja plicata-Tsuga heterophylla||>200|
|western hemlock-Sitka spruce||Tsuga heterophylla-Picea sitchensis||>200 |
Timing of Major Life History Events
Migration: The arrival of Pacific band-tailed pigeons onto their breeding grounds occurs from March to June and peaks in April and June [11,26,84,85]. Fall migration into southern California and Mexico occurs from early August to mid-October and peaks in September [11,64,85], depending on weather conditions and food availability [11,64,85]. Migrating flocks of Pacific band-tailed pigeons in Arcata, California, were composed of 12 to 35 birds, and occasionally up to 200 birds .
Interior band-tailed pigeons arrive on their breeding grounds from late March to early May, peaking in late April. Fall migration to Mexico peaks in mid-September for populations in Colorado and Utah, and in mid-October for populations in Arizona and New Mexico .
Interior band-tailed pigeons display fidelity to the same general breeding areas each year. Of 2,314 interior band-tailed pigeons banded in central and western Colorado from 1969 to 1981, 92% returned to within 31 miles (50 km) of their previous breeding areas .
Mating: Band-tailed pigeons are monogamous  and pair bonds may last a lifetime . Pacific and interior band-tailed pigeons breed from May to September [14,33,52], but because they are opportunistic , the breeding season may be extended or delayed, based on environmental conditions such as large masts of berries or other crops or favorable weather [32,43,54]. The breeding season of band-tailed pigeons is also dependent upon photoperiod length. The testes of captive Pacific band-tailed pigeons held in outdoor aviaries regressed with decreasing day length from September until December. After December, testes size began to increase again until March, when full breeding capability was reached. Female band-tailed pigeons kept in aviaries with males experienced no ovarian follicle growth until March [32,33].
Nesting: In California, nesting of Pacific band-tailed pigeons occurs from February until October [53,61], peaking from May to July [26,53,61]. Interior band-tailed pigeons nest from May to September .
Nests are composed of a loose platform of sticks [26,46,53,61,64] and forest litter  and are usually built on a strong horizontal branch of a tree or shrub [26,46,52,53]. Nest measurements for a Pacific band-tailed pigeon taken in Humboldt County, California, were: outside diameter, 7.8 inches (19.8 cm); inside diameter, 5.0 inches (12.7 cm); bowl depth, 1.3 inches (3.3 cm); and thickness under the bowl, 2.1 inches ( 5.3 cm) .
In the Oregon Coast Ranges, the mean height from the ground of 138 nests was 33.8 feet (10.3 m) in conifers, 33.5 feet (10.2 m) in deciduous trees and 14.4 feet (4.4 m) in shrubs . Of 26 nests observed in shrubs and trees in Monterey County, California, nest height from the ground ranged from 12 to 95 feet (4-29 m), with an average height of 36 feet (11 m) . Nesting may be semicolonial [64,83], with up to 17 nests in a single tree .
The band-tailed pigeon has the lowest breeding potential of any game bird in the United States [40,52,53]. Clutch size is typically 1 egg [32,33,40,46,52,53,64], but 2-egg [32,33,53,64] and 3-egg clutches have been reported. Of 219 interior and Pacific band-tailed pigeon clutches examined, 85% to 95% contained 1 egg [32,33,40,46,52,53,64]. Band-tailed pigeons typically nest once a year , but may complete up to 3 nest cycles per year during favorable weather conditions [32,33,46]. Of 134 radio-marked adult Pacific band-tailed pigeons, 60% initiated 2 to 3 nests during 1 breeding season, and 15% of all nesting birds produced 3 fledglings. Pacific band-tailed pigeons eliminated nesting intervals by overlapping nesting cycles (caring for 2 sets of offspring at different developmental stages) 78% of the time. This allowed for raising 3 broods in a 150-day nesting season. In western Oregon, the mean number of Pacific band-tailed pigeon nests initiated per year was 1.69/adult (n=137). Fifty-four percent initiated >2 nests/year and 10% produced 3 successful nests/year .
Incubation lasts 18 to 21 days [46,53,61,64]. Adult male and female band-tailed pigeons share brooding responsibilities of incubation and feeding [53,64,65]. Both parents incubate continuously, with males attending nests from mid-morning until mid-afternoon and females taking over from late afternoon to the following morning [53,61,64]. Young are altricial  and are fed "crop milk" produced in the crop of both parents [43,46,53,61] for the first few days after hatching, followed by a mixture of crop milk and regurgitated food .
Fledging: Juvenile band-tailed pigeons fledge between 20 and 28 days after hatching [53,61,64,65]. Fledging of Pacific band-tailed pigeons in western Oregon peaks in late August and early September .
Of 299 banded immature female interior band-tailed pigeons in Colorado, the mean dispersal distance from the nest to the recapture site the following year was 22.8 miles (36.7 km) (range 19.1 to 26.5 miles (30.7-42.7 km)). Of 298 males, dispersal distance from the nest was 16.2 miles (26.0 km) (range 13.1 to 19.2 miles (21.1-30.9 km)) .
Survival: Of 1,008 banded adult Pacific band-tailed pigeons recovered between 1965 and 1972, mean annual survival ranged from 44.5% to 85.3% and averaged 63.7% (95% confidence interval=7.6%) . Mean annual survival rates for adult Pacific band-tailed pigeons were as follows:
|State||Years||Mean annual survival rate (%)||n|
|California ||1952 to 1965||61.1||126|
|Oregon ||1952 to 1965||70.9||262|
|Washington ||1950 to 1965||62.2||128|
Home range: The breeding home range of 70 radio-marked adult Pacific band-tailed pigeons on the Oregon Coast Ranges was 27,480 acres (11,121 ha Â±60,040 acres (24,298 ha) (range 776-446,800 acres (314-180,800 ha)) ; however, the breeding home range in this geographic location may be less than 27,180 acres (11,000 ha) due to high mobility of band-tailed pigeons, as well as the limited range of variability in the distribution of habitats needed, and the high quality of habitat .
Pacific band-tailed pigeons are highly mobile during the breeding season, traveling an average of 3.1 miles (5.0 km) (s=4.6 miles (7.4 km)) to feeding areas . Nesting territories of interior band-tailed pigeons in Humboldt County, California, ranged from a 0.10 mile (0.16 km) radius to a 0.50 mile (0.80 km) radius from the nest with a mean territorial radius of approximately 0.25 mile (0.40 km). Variability of territory size was attributable to irregularity of the terrain, proximity to a water source, and the abundance of forest cover .
Population trends: As of 2006, population monitoring techniques for the band-tailed pigeon needed further development for better accuracy [46,52,84,85]. In the western United States and Canada, band-tailed pigeon populations have experienced a significant (P<0.10) negative trend of -3.5% total, according to Breeding Bird Surveys conducted from 1968 to 1991 . The population index of band-tailed pigeons in the late 1980's was only 30% to 50% of that in the 1960s .
The population index of Pacific band-tailed pigeons indicated an average rate of increase of +2.4% per year from 1950 to the early 1960s, a downward trend of -10.4% per year from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, an increase of +7.1% per year from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s, and another decrease of -11.1% per year from the mid- to late 1980s .
Direct Effects of Fire
Life History and Behavior
Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical
Status: wild: 222 months.
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
The breeding season for Band-tailed Pigeon begins in March and lasts through late spring. During courtship, the male brings food for the female, who beats her wings in a food begging posture similar to the display by nestlings during food delivery to the nest. The female builds a flat, loose nest on the ground, in low brush, or in the fork of lower tree branches. Nesting materials are provided by the male and consist mainly of twigs and pine needles. One, or in rare cases two, eggs are laid per season with both male and female responsible for incubation. Eggs range in color from white to light yellow or bluish, with small white spots at the larger end. Eggs hatch within 18 - 20 days, and chicks fledge 28 - 30 days after hatching. (Hogle Zoo, 2001; Skutch, 1991; Audubon, 1995; Ehrlich, 1988)
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; oviparous
Average time to hatching: 19 days.
Average eggs per season: 1.
Breeding season is prolonged, beginning in March in south to early May in north; breeding reported well into fall in some areas, probably in response to food availability (Gutierrez et al. 1975, Jarvis and Passmore 1992, Braun 1994, Baicich and Harrison 1997). Timing of breeding less a factor of latitude or photoperiod than of food availability (Gutierrez et al. 1975, Jarvis and Passmore 1992). Two broods per season not unusual, and three broods possible (Keppie and Braun 2000). In Colorado and New Mexico, breeds in spring and summer, sometimes in fall in New Mexico if acorns are abundant (Gutierrez et al. 1975).
Clutch size usually one (85-95%), infrequently two. Incubation by both sexes, about 18-20 days. Nestling altricial and downy. Young leaves nest in 25-30 days. (Terres 1980, Baicich and Harrison 1997; Keppie and Braun 2000).
Will defend nest area and there is evidence of territorial flight displays and defense (Peeters 1962, Jackman and Scott 1975), but territoriality is not well-studied (Keppie and Braun 2000). Based on second-hand reports, Neff (1947) suggested that this species is a communal nester in New Mexico, but this has not been corroborated by any other subsequent research. Braun (1994) suggested that repeated use of nest tree with a new nest constructed each year may give the appearance of communal nesting and asserts that birds of Interior populations are solitary nesters.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Patagioenas fasciata
Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.
-- end --
Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Patagioenas fasciata
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
Although hunted to low numbers in the early 1900's, the Band-tailed Pigeon is beginning once again to flourish. Hatching only one egg each season, the Band-tailed Pigeon population can be quickly devastated through over-hunting. With the help of the Federal Migratory Game Bird Act of 1918, and recent changes in hunting limits, the Band-tailed Pigeon should make a full recovery. (Ehrlich, 1988)
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N3B - Vulnerable
Rounded National Status Rank: N4B,N4N : N4B: Apparently Secure - Breeding, N4N: Apparently Secure - Nonbreeding
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: Still widespread and relatively common from British Columbia to Peru and Argentina, but long-term declines have occurred in most parts of its range.
Global Short Term Trend: Decline of 10-30%
Comments: North American populations plummeted in early decades of the twentieth century, but gradually recovered after legal protection (Bent 1932, Grinnell and Miller 1944). More recently, long-term population trend estimates indicate significant declines over the past 15-30 years in Pacific Coast populations. Surveys are insufficient to accurately assess status and trends of Interior populations. Oregon Mineral Site Surveys and Washington Call Counts both indicate long-term declining trends in Coastal populations. Oregon Mineral Site surveys show an average annual change of -2% between 1968 and 1997 (95% C.I. -4% to 2%; N=8 sites; Casazza et al. 2000). Likewise Washington Call Counts show a long-term average annual decline of -1.5% between 1975 and 1998 (90% C.I.: -5.5% to 2.4%; N=65 survey routes; not significant; WDFW 1999). Call Count data showed a significant increase in the early 1990's which has since somewhat leveled off (WDFW 1999). Harvest rates have likewise declined dramatically. In the three Coastal states harvests dropped from 550,000 birds in 1968 to 70,000 in 1988, and in British Columbia from 14,000 in 1967 to fewer than 500 in 1991 (Braun 1994). In the four Interior states (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah), estimates from available hunting surveys for 1968 to 1999 show declines by an order of magnitude: total number of hunters declined from 1129 to 161, and number of pigeons harvested declined from 2585 to 283 (Four Corners Band-tailed Pigeon Subcommittee 2000). Reduced harvests are due in part to more restrictive limits and seasons, but also likely reflect smaller populations (Braun 1994, Four Corners Band-tailed Pigeon Subcommittee 2000). North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data show significant long-term declines survey-wide and for Coastal populations, but sample sizes for Interior populations are too small for reliable trend estimates (Sauer et. al 2000). Between 1966 and 1999, populations declined significantly survey-wide by an average -2.9% per year (P = 0.00, N = 194 survey routes), which translates to a total decline of 62% in 34 years. Long-term declines were also significant for the Pacific Coast region as a whole (-2.4% annually, P = 0.04, N = 146) and in the analysis regions of British Columbia (-3.9%, P = 0.01, N = 22), Oregon (-1.8%, P = 0.01, N = 27), and the Sierra Nevada (-4.2%, P = 0.04, N = 17). Between 1980 and 1999 declines were significant in these same analysis areas (Survey-wide: -5.8%, P = 0.00, N = 171; Pacific Coast region: -4.1%, P = 0.05, N = 131; British Columbia: -10.6%, P = 0.01, N = 18; Oregon: -7.3%, P = 0.01, N = 27; Sierra Nevada: -8.3%, P = 0.04, N = 16). In the past ten years, 1990-98, broad regional trends are not statistically significant, but show a declining tendency (survey-wide: -6.29%, P = 0.068, N = 138; British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California inclusive: -6.08%, P = 0.115, N = 123; Sauer et. al 2000). Partners in Flight lists the species as a priority for conservation in oak woodlands of the Sierra Nevada region and in coniferous forests of the Southern Pacific Rainforests region (Pashley et al. 2000). For southwestern ponderosa pine habitats, Hall et al. (1997) list the species as of moderate conservation concern in Arizona and high concern in New Mexico. No detailed information available for neotropics, but has declined in Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia (Stiles and Skutch 1989, Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, Hilty and Brown 1986).
Degree of Threat: B : Moderately threatened throughout its range, communities provide natural resources that when exploited alter the composition and structure of the community over the long-term, but are apparently recoverable
Comments: Habitat degradation and destruction, and overhunting have been cited as the primary threats. Declines in early twentieth century due to overhunting, and populations rallied with hunting regulation. Recent Pacific Coast population declines thought to be related to widespread habitat alteration due to forestry practices in the latter part of the twentieth century, in particular replacement of old-growth forests by even-age monocultures of fast-growing conifers, but this needs more empirical study (Braun 1994, Sanders 1999). In Costa Rica, large flocks were greatly reduced by shooting in many areas in past years (Stiles and Skutch 1989). In Panama, has decreased in recent decades due to forest destruction and shooting (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989). In Colombia, has declined because of habitat loss (Hilty and Brown 1986). Natural threats include predators (mainly raptors), egg loss and squab mortality, and trichomoniasis (TRICHOMONAS GALLINAE). A Pacific Coast strain of trichomoniasis is particularly virulent, and caused the deaths of 15-16,000 pigeons in 1988 (Braun 1994).
Restoration Potential: Restoration will require a better understanding of population status, threats to the species, and landscape relationships. Management that maintains a combination of closed-canopy mature to old-growth forest, open-canopy forest with abundant food plants (e.g. oaks and fruiting shrubs), mineral sites and open water across the landscape should benefit the species.
Preserve Selection and Design Considerations: Nomadic, and uses large areas for foraging. Little information is available on home range, territory, and extent of movements, although fidelity to nesting areas, foraging areas, and mineral sites is strong (Braun 1972, Jarvis and Passmore 1992, Schroeder and Braun 1993).
In the Oregon Coast Range, mean home range recorded for radio-tagged adults was 11,121 ha (SD +/- 24,298 ha, N = 70; Leonard 1998, cited in Keppie and Braun 2000). In northern California, nesting territories were reported to range from 0.16 to 0.81 kilometer (0.10 to 0.5 mile) in radius, but unclear how territory size was determined (Glover 1953). Size of nesting territory may vary with topography, forest cover, and proximity to water (Glover 1953). In Colorado, banding returns revealed that regular movements during breeding season were restricted to a range less than 40 air miles in distance (< 65 kilometers; Braun 1972).
Little information exists on relationship to landscape patterns, such as fragmentation effects or use of corridors. In northwestern California, avoided forest edges created by clearcuts (Rosenberg and Raphael 1986). Nests are usually more than 20 meters from openings and more than 365 meters from human habitations (Glover 1953). Movements between nesting, roosting, and feeding sites have a tendency to follow stream courses (Glover 1953, Kautz and Braun 2000).
Management Requirements: POPULATION MANAGEMENT: Nomadic nature complicates study, and the lack of standardized population surveys hampers management. Birds tend to concentrate foraging in one area during times of local food abundance and then move on (Keppie and Braun, in press). However, there is considerable evidence of strong fidelity to breeding areas (Braun 1972, Schroeder and Braun 1993) and it should be possible to manage on a sub-population basis (Braun 1994). For example, separate hunting regulations could be established for different populations within a state.
See Braun (1994) for a summary of annual survival estimates from various sources. Estimates of adult annual survival rates range from 60% to 73% in Colorado, and from 60% to 77% for coastal populations (Braun 1994). Jarvis and Passmore (1992) concluded that maintenance of a stable population (with the mean adult survival rate of 64% observed in their study) required a production rate at or near the estimated biotic potential (40.8%). But a stable population could also be maintained with the estimated rate of recruitment observed (23%) and high rates of survival (83% for adults, 68% for juveniles).
HABITAT MANAGEMENT: Important habitat components include closed-canopy forests for nest sites, open-canopy forests for foraging, and presence of mineral springs and licks (Sanders 1999). Close proximity to free water (< 400 meters) is also important (Glover 1953). Food availability apparently greatly influences breeding and flock movements (Gutierrez et al. 1975), and any management activity that reduces mast production or the availability of fruiting shrubs and other primary foods would be detrimental.
There is no information available on how changes in agriculture and land-use practices may have affected the species (Keppie and Braun 2000). Bandtails use various forest successional stages for various purposes, but there is little quantitative information available on relationship to forest management activities and landscape patterns to aid the manager. Given the widespread landscape changes over the past 50 years these relationships need much further investigation, particularly at landscape scales.
In Northwestern California, Hagar (1960) observed bandtails both in virgin Douglas-fir forest and in brush successional stages of harvest units, but not in 'weed' successional stages. Glover (1953) found nests chiefly in 'dense' (undefined) canopy cover, and 21 to 365 m from habitat openings. Birds used spruce (PICEA sp.) in greater proportion to its availability; spruce groves (20-60 years) and alder thickets (ALNUS; 20-40 years) provided dense nesting and roosting cover; and redwood snags (SEQUOIA SEMPERVIRENS) provided prominent perches (Glover 1953). Glover (1953) concluded that logging was detrimental to pigeons: he found only one of 53 nesting territories located in an area that had been logged within 10 years; all of eight observed nests were more than two miles from logging activities; and no migrating pigeons were observed within 800 meters of logging operations or near clearcuts less than three years old. However, he also noted that succession of plants in harvest units and burns can also increase abundance of food plants (e.g. RUBUS spp, SAMBUCUS spp., RHAMNUS PURSHIANA).
A study in the southern Oregon Coast Range found bandtails more abundant in mature (80-120 years old) and old-growth (200-525 years) Douglas-fir forests (PSEUDOTSUGA MENZIESII) than in young stands (40-72 years; Carey et al. 1991). In southern Washington Cascades Douglas-fir forests bandtails were more abundant in mature stands (95-190 years old) than in wet old-growth (250-700 yrs) or young stands (55-80 years; Manuwal 1991). In Oregon, Pacific red elder (SAMBUCUS RACEMOSA var. ARBORESCENS) and cascara buckthorn (RHAMNUS PURSHIANA) are especially important for forage during the nesting season (Jarvis and Passmore 1992, Sanders 1999).
Marcot (1984) found them in relatively high densities in young post-harvest shrub stands of northern California Douglas-fir forests, and concluded that they have probably increased since extensive clear-cutting began in the area in the 1950s. However, Raphael et al. (1988) found them in highest densities in saw timber and mature stands of northern California Douglas-fir forests, and concluded that future population trends would be positive as harvest units matured. (Though see 'Trends' section below.)
In a giant sequoia forest (SEQUOIA GIGANTEA), density declined after a treatment that removed the brush/sapling understory of white fir (ABIES CONCOLOR) and incense cedar (LIBOCEDRUS DECURRENS), removed standing dead trees, and burned the remaining slash (Kilgore 1971).
Mineral sites are important for supplementary sodium intake and should be included in management strategies, particularly for the Coastal population. In Oregon, scarcity of sites apparently is not a limiting factor for population size; however most known sites are located on private lands and are thus vulnerable to changes in land use (Sanders and Jarvis 2000).
Easily attracted to grain at bait stations, livestock feeding sites, storage areas, etc. and will continue to use such sites throughout the season (Curtis and Braun 1983a, Braun 1994). Bait stations may be used to supplement food and increase production where food is limiting.
Management Research Needs: Research is needed on specific habitat requirements through all life stages and seasons for both Coastal and Interior populations. Especially need a current understanding of response to forestry and land management practices (e.g. natural and prescribed fire, herbicide applications, and various silvicultural prescriptions). Details of relationships to landscape patterns are virtually unknown. Most details of life history in Meso-American populations have been little studied, as are the species' needs at stopover and wintering areas. See Jarvis and Passmore (1992), Braun (1994), and Keppie and Braun (2000) for extensive list of research needs, including monitoring, management, habitat relationships, effects of hunting mortality, recruitment and survival rates, and effects of habitat alterations, management activities, and virulent disease.
Biological Research Needs: Virtually all aspects of the species' life history need further study, particularly habitat relationships across the species' range and throughout the seasons, and ecological details for wintering and resident populations in Meso-America. Seasonal nutritional requirements, migration patterns, philopatry, territoriality, intraspecific behavior, productivity and survivorship all need further study.
Use of Fire in Population Management
Very few studies have examined the effects of wildfire or prescribed burning on the band-tailed pigeon, and more data are needed to make management recommendations. The limited data currently available suggest that during the breeding season, band-tailed pigeons may use prescribed burned white fir habitats 1 and 2 years following fire. Band-tailed pigeon populations may increase several years following fire due to increased shrub density, which provides an important food source [26,40,74]. In general, band-tailed pigeons appear to be adaptable to habitat disturbance and/or alteration . Survival following fire may be possible for the band-tailed pigeon due to high mobility [46,52,74,85], the ability to locate food easily , and large home ranges [52,74]. Band-tailed pigeons provide a mechanism of seed dispersal, colonization, and gene flow for plant species following disturbances such as fire due to their diverse diet, mobility, and ability to pass seeds intact , which may be important for habitat recovery following fire.
Oak species, including Gambel oak, Oregon white oak, and California black oak, are particularly important species for Pacific and interior band-tailed pigeon populations [11,14,15,33,46,61,63,83,85,86]. Fire management recommendations in these habitats include frequent low- to moderate-consumption prescribed surface fires to inhibit conifer growth [36,44,48,89,93]. For more detailed suggestions on the fire management of oaks important to the band-tailed pigeon, see Gambel oak, Oregon white oak, and California black oak.
Band-tailed pigeon populations have been declining for several decades [39,63,69,79,83] (see Population trends). Causes for decline are conjectural, but are suspected to be due to habitat loss and/or degradation, inadequate recruitment, overharvest due to hunting, and/or disease .
Currently, a need for a regional, landscape-based approach to the management of band-tailed pigeons is needed to assure an adequate network of suitable habitats . Population inventories on the band-tailed pigeon are difficult to perform due to erratic migration . Keppie and Braun  stress the importance of implementing reliable survey methods to monitor the population size of band-tailed pigeons over large geographic areas. The impact of hunting needs to be examined, as well as monitoring of disease outbreaks, changes of food availability in relation to forest management, and long-term changes of winter and year-round areas used by the band-tailed pigeon . An annual postbreeding season census in known nesting and fall assemblage areas needs to be established to determine annual production. Silovsky  suggests establishing a program to band Pacific band-tailed pigeons during July and August to determine differences in mortality, vulnerability, and migration by age and sex classes.
Pacific band-tailed pigeon populations have been declining at a rate of -5.7%/year in California. Band-tailed pigeons are a focal species of California Partners in Flight in oak woodlands, requiring special attention in a multispecies conservation effort. Causes of decline in the Sierra Nevada are difficult to assess, but may be due to a decreasing winter food supply of acorns caused by drought, natural attrition, and poor oak productivity. Because band-tailed pigeons may breed semicolonially [64,83], decreasing populations may stimulate decreasing impetus to breed. Hunting pressure may present a minor risk to the band-tailed pigeon . For additional information about the California Partners in Flight bird conservation plans in oak woodlands and in the Sierra Nevada, see the California Partners in Flight Bird Conservation Plan.
Hunting: As of 2006, California, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Mexico had band-tailed pigeon hunting seasons . Occasional band-tailed pigeon food shortages in California have caused large numbers of birds to concentrate in restricted areas, which could lead to over-hunting. Opinions concerning the effects of hunting band-tailed pigeons differ. Houston  suggests that very flexible hunting regulations are necessary, as well as routine checking of hunters' bags for sex and age ratios of band-tailed pigeons . Keeley  indicates that in California, a combination of a high life expectancy of 22 years and low hunting mortality have little effect on band-tailed pigeon populations; however, this is speculative .
Silviculture: Little is known about the distribution of the Pacific band-tailed pigeon and the availability of habitat in the Pacific Northwest; however, current forestry practices may potentially cause substantial impact to the Pacific band-tailed pigeon . Logging operations increase cover and successional development of food-producing shrubs such as cascara, red elderberry, and blue elderberry from early  to intermediate  successional stages; however, these plants are considered undesirable during intensive reforestation and are typically suppressed . Forest managers might consider retaining some fruit-producing shrubs for Pacific band-tailed pigeons .
Management recommendations made by Glover  for Pacific band-tailed pigeons in Humboldt County, California, include maintaining existing cover and water resources in known nesting areas, leaving forest strips along riparian corridors, and preserving and maintaining Sitka spruce groves for nesting, resting, roosting, and escape cover.
Mineral sites: Regulation of forest management activities is suggested around mineral sites [52,75]. Mineral sites are a scarce resource in the northwestern United States. Pacific band-tailed pigeons are very sensitive to the distribution and disturbance of trees surrounding mineral sites [43,54]. Changes in the vegetation structure around mineral sites may reduce their usefulness to Pacific band-tailed pigeons  (see Mineral sites).Agriculture: Most cultivated crop damage by Pacific band-tailed pigeons in California occurs in late winter, spring, and early summer. Band-tailed pigeons do not dig, scratch, or pull out sprouted grain, as previously suspected , but eat grain spilled on top of the ground as a result of planting operations [40,85].
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
In addition to their regular diet, the Band-tailed Pigeon will feed on seasonal crops such as cherries, wheat, and barley. However, due to their relatively low numbers, the impact is negligible (Gamebird Alliance, 1999)
The Band-tailed Pigeon has been a source of food for humans throughout history. (Gamebird Alliance, 1999; Audubon, 1995)
Comments: From 1957 to 1983, harvest in California, Oregon, and Washington averaged 414,000, with 55% of the harvest in California (Jarvis and Passmore 1992). The 1995 harvest was an estimated 2074 in Oregon and 10,428 in California (season closed in Wasington) (USFWS 1996). Harvest in the Four Corners region was 1518 in 1995, down from 6000 in earlier years (USFWS 1996).
Stewardship Overview: A bird of montane coniferous forests and oak woodlands. Of seven subspecies occurring in the Americas, only one occurs in North America, in two distinct geographic areas: an Interior population in the Southwest Four Corners region and a Coastal population in the Pacific Coast states and provinces. Gregarious year-round and nomadic; move with the availability of food, often showing up in towns and agricultural areas.
Bandtails have been the object of a long history of market and sport hunting, and sport hunting continues to a limited extent in six western states and Mexico. Pacific Coast populations have declined steeply, losing an estimated 60% of the population in the last 34 years. Causes of declines are mostly unstudied, but may be associated with widespread changes in forest landscapes. A low reproductive rate contributes to concern for the species' recovery. The current lack of consistent and standardized population surveys throughout the range of the two populations hampers effective management.
Species Impact: Suggestions that pigeons carry agricultural diseases are unsubstantiated (Keppie and Braun 2000). Many early reports of crop damage by pigeons (e.g., soft fruits and grain crops) and these justified the institution of regulated hunting seasons in the 1930s. Assumptions that they cause crop damage by digging grain or pulling sprouts unfounded as birds mostly feed on unsprouted grain, waste or shattered grain from ground surface. Do not alight on standing grains, but will feed on cut barley before harvest and shocked wheat (Neff 1947, Braun 1994, Keppie and Braun 2000). No recent reports of major crop damage (Gabrielson and Jewett 1940, Keppie and Braun 2000).
The band-tailed pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata) is a medium-sized bird of the Americas. Its closest relatives are the Chilean pigeon, passenger pigeon and the ring-tailed pigeon, which form a clade of Patagioenas with a terminal tail band and iridescent plumage on their necks. Some authorities split this species into the northern band-tailed pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata) and the southern band-tailed pigeon (Patagioenas albilinea).
It ranges from British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, and southern Arizona south in higher elevations through Mexico and Central America to northern Argentina. In autumn it migrates out of its permanent resident range into northern California, New Mexico, and parts of Utah and Colorado. Populations from Costa Rica south are sometimes considered a separate species, the white-naped pigeon (P. albilinea). It is found at altitudes from 900 to 3,600 m (3,000 to 12,000 ft), generally in oak, pine-oak, and coniferous forests. It feeds on seeds, notably acorns.
It is the biggest pigeon in North America, measuring 33 to 40 cm (13 to 16 in) long and weighing 225–515 g (7.9–18.2 oz). The coastal subspecies P. f. monilis (averaging 392 g (13.8 oz)) is larger than the inland subspecies (averaging 340 g (12 oz)). The plumage is gray, somewhat darker above. The head and underparts have a faint pink cast, especially in the adult male; the belly is nearly white. The distal half of the tail is also pale (except in the subspecies of Baja California), whence the English name. The bill and feet are yellow, good identification marks at sufficiently close range. Adults have green iridescence on the back of the neck, adjacent to a thin white collar on the nape. Juvenile birds have white feather edges above, giving a scaly appearance.
Behavior and ecology
It builds a rudimentary platform nest out of twigs, in which it lays one or two eggs. Outside the breeding season it forms flocks, sometimes over 50 birds, and often becomes nomadic, following the acorn crop or moving to lower altitudes or other areas outside its breeding range. Toyon berries are a food consumed by the band-tailed pigeon. This species often visits bird feeders.
The parasitic louse Columbicola extinctus, believed to have become extinct with the extinction of the passenger pigeon, was recently rediscovered on the band-tailed pigeon. The band-tailed pigeon is the closest genetic relative of the passenger pigeon and has been investigated for being used in efforts to bring back that extinct species.
- BirdLife International (2014). "Patagioenas fasciata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
- Sibley, David Allen (2000). The Sibley Guide to Birds. New York: Knopf. p. 260. ISBN 0-679-45122-6.
- Johnson, Kevin P.; de Kort, Selvino; Dinwoodey, Karen; Mateman, A.C.; ten Cate, Carel; Lessells, C.M.; Clayton, Dale H. (2001). "A molecular phylogeny of the dove genera Streptopelia and Columba". Auk 118 (4): 874–887.
- "Species factsheet: Patagioenas fasciata". BirdLife International. 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
- "Species factsheet: Patagioenas albilinea". BirdLife International. 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
- Not to be confused with the African species Columba albinucha.
- Dunning Jr., John B., ed. (1992). CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses. CRC Press. ISBN 978-0-8493-4258-5.
- "Band-tailed Pigeon". All About Birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
- Mahler, Bettina; Tubaro, Pablo L. (2001). "Relationship between song characters and morphology in New World pigeons". Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 74 (4): 533–539. doi:10.1006/bijl.2001.0596.
- Hogan, C. Michael (2008). last=Stromberg, N., ed. "Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia)". GlobalTwitcher.
- Rich, Nathaniel (27 February 2014). "The Mammoth Cometh". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- Howell, Steven N.G.; Webb, Sophie (1995). A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-854012-4.
- Jiménez, Mariano II; Jiménez, Mariano G. (2002–2003). "Paloma Encinera". Zoológico Electrónico (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 15 December 2006. Retrieved 27 November 2006.
- Aguilar, Héctor F. (2000). "La paloma torcaza o gargantilla Columba (fasciata)) fasciata Say 1823 (Aves:Columbidae) algunas notas sobre su historia natural en venezuela" [The Band-Tailed Pigeon Columba (fasciata)) fasciata Say 1823 (Aves:Columbidae) Some Notes About His Natural History in Venezuela]. Revista de Ecología Latinoamericana (in Spanish) 7 (3): 29–44.
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: On the basis of studies by Johnson and Clayton (2000) and Johnson et al. (2001) of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA, and a review of morphological (Ridgway 1916), serological (Cumley and Irwin 1944), and behavioral (Johnston 1962) characters, we place New World pigeons formerly included in Columba in a separate genus, Patagioenas Reichenback, 1853 (AOU 2003).
a member of the Columbidae family [2,46]. Eight subspecies are currently recognized in the
United States, Mexico, and South America [1,46], although taxonomic revision is
Patagioenas fasciata albilinea (Bonaparte)
Patagioenas fasciata crissalis (Salvadori)
Patagioenas fasciata fasciata (Say), interior band-tailed pigeon
Patagioenas fasciata letonai (Dickey and Van Rossem)
Patagioenas fasciata monilis (Vigors), Pacific band-tailed pigeon
Patagioenas fasciata parva (Griscom)
Patagioenas fasciata roraimae (Chapman)
Patagioenas fasciata vioscae (Brewster)