WatchList Species Account for White-crowned Pigeon
(Columba leucocephala)


Qualifies for the list as a Red List Species

 

Akekee
Photo: Jeremy Nicholson

With the main part of its range in the Bahamas and the Caribbean, the White-crowned Pigeon reaches the continental U.S. only in the southern tip of Florida and the Florida Keys. The bird nests semi-colonially on nearshore islands, often of mangrove, or in forests and feeds in hardwood forests with fruiting grees. Nesting success is greater in years with more abundant fruit. A short-distance migrant that is resident in some areas, most of the Florida population winters in the Bahamas and Cuba.

 

The bird faces two primary threats. First, it is an important game species outside the U.S., where poaching outside the hunting seasons and shooting of nesting adults depresses the populations. Squabs are illegally taken for food for humans and for feeding to livestock. Breeding populations in Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic have decreased dramatically because of such activities. Second, widespread destruction of habitat in much of its West Indian breeding range has meant its numbers have suffered.

 

Conservation measures in Florida include proposed acquisition of all deciduous forest fragments greater than 5 ha in the Keys. Restoration of feeding and nesting sites and relief from hunting pressure are essential measures in recovering populations of this bird.