Columba leucocephala Photo Fiona Sunquist ©
For birders, this species is considered a “Life Bird”. The white-crowned pigeon is about the size and shape of a rock dove, but it is a dark slate-gray bird with a white cap on the head.
The white-crowned pigeon’s breeding range is Florida Keys, Bahamas, Greater and Lesser Antilles to Antigua. Some white-crowned pigeons are permanent residents in Florida, while others only visit Florida to breed. The total breeding population in Florida is thought to be 8,000 to 9,000 pairs.
Most pigeons leave Florida between mid September and mid October for Cuba, the Bahamas and the greater and Lesser Antilles. They return to Florida in April, where they nest on mangrove Islands - from Biscayne Bay south through the Marquesas Keys. More than half the Florida population nests in Florida Bay in the upper Keys. They rarely nest on the mainland and avoid islands that have raccoon populations.
Adults will forage as far as 45 km from the nesting island. In the Florida Keys white-crowned pigeons feed on fruit of at least 35 species of trees and shrubs.
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