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Columba livia

warning Data Missing

The Rock Dove is classified as Data Deficient (DD). The main factor threatening the species is interbreeding with domesticated pigeons, but we lack sufficient data to assess the proportion of hybrid pigeons in the population or the effect of hybridization on the future of the species. In the previous edition of the red book (2002), it was classified as critically endangered (CR), due to an evaluation that most of the Rock Dove-like pigeon flocks in Israel are contaminated with hybridization.
DD Current Regional Assessment | CR Previous Regional Assessment | LC World Assessment

Habitats Desert Cliffs, Mediterranean Cliffs, Rural Areas
Presence In Israel Resident
Nesting In Israel Breeder
Migration Types Resident
Zoography Zones Mediterranean, Irano-Turanian, Saharo-Arabian, Sudano-Zambezian
Landscape Formations Mountainous, Rural Area, Urban, Cliffs
Vegetation Densities Low
Nest Locations Cliffs, Buildings
Diet Types Herbivore
Foraging Grounds Ground
Body Sizes Small (up to 500g)
Threat Factors Inbreeding with Feral

The Rock Dove is a common resident throughout Israel, but most of the populations are apparently mixed with feral pigeons. Until the mid-20th century, the Rock Dove was a very common resident species. Flocks of thousands (of the pure wild morph) could be seen throughout the country. The expansion of settled areas, from the mid-20th century was associated with expansion of domesticated pigeons that intermingle with flocks of Rock Doves and produce hybrid offspring. In the 1980s, it was still possible to see large uniform (tens and hundreds) flocks of pure Rock Doves. These untainted populations became ever rarer as settled and agricultural areas expanded, and domestic and feral pigeons spread. In recent years, almost no uncontaminated Rock Dove populations remain. In addition to the problem of genetic contamination in Rock Doves, there is also a general decline in their number compared to the late 19th century, when giant flocks were seen in eastern Judea, Samaria and the Galilee (Tristram 1864).

Rock Doves nest in mountainous, rocky and cliff areas throughout Israel, mainly east of the national watershed. They wander and forage in agricultural fields and grazing lands as well. The hybrid doves also nest in settlements throughout Israel.

  • פז, ע. 1986. עופות. מתוך אלון, ע. (עורך), החי והצומח של ארץ ישראל. כרך 6. הוצאת משרד הביטחון, ישראל.
  • פרלמן, י., שוחט, א. ולבינגר, ז. 2009. סקר אטלס ציפורים בערבה סיכום שנת 2009. דו"ח מרכז הצפרות של החברה להגנת הטבע.

Distribution maps

The maps presented here provide visual information on the distribution of species in Israel in the past and present, and the changes in occupancy and nesting density during the comparison period. For further reading

Relative Abundance 2010-2020

Breeding density values as calculated from observation records and expert opinions.

Relative Abundance 1980-1990

Breeding density values are based mainly on the book Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996).

Occupancy difference 1990-2020

A map that expresses differences in the breeding distribution between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative value - species previously present but is currently absent, positive value - species has not been recorded previously and is currently present, zero - no change in occupancy.

Relative abundance difference 1990-2020

A map that reflects the changes in the relative abundance of the species between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative values - decline in abundance, positive values - increase in abundance, zero - no change in abundance.

Red number

IUCN category

() districts
% of protected sites

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