Yellow-eyed pigeon

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The yellow-eyed pigeon (Columba eversmanni) belongs to the family of pigeons and doves, Columbidae.

These species of pigeons are distributed in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Iran and China. The Yellow-eyed pigeons winter in Pakistan and north-west India. These birds are monotypic species. The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has listed the yellow-eyed pigeon as "vulnerable".

Yellow-eyed pigeon - Overview

  • Scientific name: Columba eversmanni
  • Species author: Bonaparte, 1856
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Columba eversmanni Bonaparte, 1856
  • Family: Columbidae › Columbiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Yellow-eyed pigeon, Chinese: 中亚鸽, French: Pigeon d’Eversmann, German: Gelbaugentaube, Spanish: Paloma del Turquestán, Russian: Бурый голубь, Japanese: ヒガシヒメモリバト
  • Other names: Eastern Stock-Pigeon, Pale-backed Pigeon, Yellow-eyed dove
  • Distribution: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Iran, China, Indian subcontinent
  • Diet and feeding habits: seeds, green shoots, grains, cereals, berries
  • IUCN status listing: Vulnerable (VU)
Columba eversmanni is closely related to Columba oliviae (Somali pigeon) and Columba oenas (stock pigeon).

Appearance, physical description and identification

The yellow-eyed pigeon (Columba eversmanni) is a medium sized bird measuring about 25 to 30 cm in length and weighing 180 to 235 grams.

The overall plumage is bluish gray. The crown, neck and chest have pale mauve-pink sheen. There is a black bar on the wing and the tail has a diffuse dark band. The lower back and rump are whitish. The underside of the wings is pale gray. The bill of the yellow-eyed pigeon is grayish with pale yellowish tip.

The bare area around the eyes is yellowish. The irises are yellowish. The feet are pale pink. Columba eversmanni can be distinguished from rock dove (C. livia) as the latter have more prominent wing bars and tail band. The hill pigeon (C. rupestris) is distinguished from Columba eversmanni by its white subterminal band on the tail anterior to the black terminal band. Their call is a faint "oo-oo-oo" sound.
Indian birds - Image of Yellow-eyed pigeon - Columba eversmanni
Birds of India - Picture of Yellow-eyed pigeon - Columba eversmanni
Birds of India - Yellow-eyed pigeon - Columba eversmanni
Indian birds - Image of Yellow-eyed pigeon - Columba eversmanni
Indian birds - Image of Yellow-eyed pigeon - Columba eversmanni
Birds of India - Yellow-eyed pigeon - Columba eversmanni

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The yellow-eyed pigeon is distributed in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Iran and China. These pigeons winter in Pakistan, Afghanistan and north-west India.

The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) of the yellow-eyed pigeon in Afghanistan are Darqad, Hari Rud valley, Imam Sahib and North-western steppe. The IBA in Tajikistan are Kayrakkum Reservoir, Sarazm, Tigrovaya Balka Nature Reserve and Dashtidjum. The IBA in Pakistan are Haleji Wildlife Sanctuary, Indus Dolphin Reserve and Kandhkot wetlands and Indus Waterfowl Refuge.

The IBA of the yellow-eyed pigeon in Kazakhstan are Zheltoranga, Topar Lake System, Ili River Delta, Arys-Karaktau State Reserved Zone, Altyn-Emel National Park and Aksu-Dzhabagly State Nature Reserve. The IBA in Turkmenistan is Garachop. The IBA in Kyrgyzstan is Tulek Valley.

The IBA of these pigeon species in China are Burqin River and Kanas Lake, Eastern Qilian Shan mountains, Gongliu spruce forest, Qapqal grassland and wetland, Minqin, Markit-Yarkant Oasis, Kunes forest, Jinta and Ili River basin. The IBA in Islamic Republic of Iran is Hari Rud valley near Sarrakhs.

Ecosystem and habitat

The yellow-eyed pigeon species do not normally occur in forest. They inhabit various ecosystems. They inhabit dry steppe, semi-desert, hot desert, temperate shrubland, tropical shrubland, inland wetlands non-aquatic caves and subterranean habitats, fallow land and abandoned agricultural fields.

Diet and feeding habits

The diet of these pigeon species is mostly seeds, grains, tender shoots, cereals and berries. They mostly forage on the ground. Sometimes they may pluck fruits from shrubs and trees.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these yellow-eyed pigeon species is from April to August. They nest in tree holes, burrows of other birds, buildings, cliffs and earth banks. The cluster contains two eggs.

Migration and movement patterns

These yellow-eyed pigeon species are mostly migratory birds. In winter they move southward of their range to Northwest India, Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. Post breeding dispersal of juveniles takes place. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding.

Conservation status and concerns

The global population size of the yellow-eyed pigeon (Columba eversmanni) is estimated to be around 15,000 to 30,000 individual birds. The overall population size is considered to be under rapid decline. Hunting for food in both breeding and wintering grounds, habitat degradation and reduced availability of feed are the main threats to the survival of these pigeon species. Their generation length is 5.6 years.

The yellow-eyed pigeon is rapidly approaching the thresholds for being "Endangered" under the range size criterion, under the population trend criterion and also under the population size criterion. The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the yellow-eyed pigeon (Columba eversmanni) and has listed it as "Vulnerable".

Taxonomy and scientific classification of Columba eversmanni
Species:C. eversmanni
Binomial name:Columba eversmanni
IUCN status listing:
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