Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Eurasian Collared-Dove - Streptopelia decaocto
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General Comments The Eurasian Collared-Dove is the latest of the relatively few species (along with Rock Pigeon, European Starling, House Finch, and House Sparrow) that have been introduced into eastern North America that have spread into North Carolina and become established here as a breeding bird. This Eurasian species escaped from an aviary in the Bahamas in the 1970's and quickly spread to neighboring Florida (thus, not directly released in the United States). It has fairly rapidly spread northward and northwestward, and the first record for North Carolina came in 1994 on the Outer Banks at Salvo. By 2000, a few breeding populations were established in scattered south coastal towns, and there were widely scattered reports farther inland. However, even by 2023, the range is still mostly along the southern coast and nearby mainland, and in the southwestern part of the Piedmont and southern Coastal Plain near the South Carolina border. There are very few established nesting populations yet in the Piedmont or mountains, nor along the northern coast. Why it has yet to colonize urban and suburban areas in the northern Piedmont -- such as Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem -- is hard to understand. The species occupies habitats utilized by both the Rock Pigeon and the Mourning Dove, in that it is found in towns and residential areas, mostly open with only scattered trees, preferably near the coast (so far). It is not normally found in agricultural areas (unlike the Mourning Dove), nor is it seen in areas away from man. It is commonly seen on telephone wires and other high perches, typically in yards or along streets.
Breeding Status Breeder; Introduced
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SE
Global Rank G5
Coastal Plain Breeding, permanent resident; nonmigratory though possibly nomadic; increasing. Locally uncommon to fairly common along and close to the coast from Carteret southward; common in a few places (all in Carteret), such as Harkers Island, Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, and Morehead City. Very rare to rare farther northward near and along the coast (such as at Nags Head and Kitty Hawk). Farther inland (including Tidewater), rare and local in small to large towns, mostly north to Goldsboro and west to Hoffman (Richmond), but seemingly absent from many counties, especially northward. Peak counts: 233, Morehead City CBC, 18 Dec 2016; 152, Ocracoke Island CBC, 31 Dec 2015; 90+, Atlantic Beach, 31 Oct 2015; 60, Morehead City CBC, 14 Dec 2008; 38, Ocracoke Island CBC, 31 Dec 2010; 28, Nags Head (Dare), 23 Nov 2010; 20, Goldsboro, fall and early winter 2000.
Piedmont Breeding permanent resident, but mainly in the southern and western Piedmont. Surprisingly scarce in the province, considering its abundance in many states farther to the west and northwest of North Carolina. Absent to very rare in most areas (such as in the northeastern Piedmont), but locally uncommon in a few southwestern counties, particularly in Cleveland. First record apparently in 1999. Few records (as of 2023) in some major birding areas, such as Raleigh and Durham. The expected boom in numbers and range simply has not happened in the last 10 years. Peak counts: 30-40, Marshville (Union), 23 Dec 2008; 6, summer-fall 2000, Conover.
Mountains Scarce and poorly documented breeding permanent resident in low elevations. Relatively few records, all since 1997 -- mostly in Henderson, Transylvania, Buncombe, and Haywood. Peak count: 5, Henderson, 7 Jan 2006.
Finding Tips Not hard to find by driving around side streets of Morehead City, Beaufort, and Harkers Island -- all in Carteret. The Carolina Beach and Kure Beach areas of southern coastal New Hanover can also be good for finding them.
Attribution LeGrand[2023-02-25], LeGrand[2018-02-01], LeGrand[2017-10-24]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.
NC Breeding Season Map
Map depicts assumed breeding season abundance for the species.