Aliens Among Us: the Eurasian Collared-Dove


The Eurasian Collared-Dove is one of the most spectacularly successful introduced species in North America. From a few released birds on New Providence, Bahamas, in the mid-1970s, this dove has spread quickly across the North American continent.

Eurasian Collared-Dove, Boise, Idaho, January 2016

Eurasian Collared-Dove, Boise, Idaho, January 2016

Other introduced species have a wider range – Eurasian Starlings and Rock Pigeons, for example – but no species has gone so far so fast. In just 45 years, it has established itself all across North America. Here, a Collared Dove is helping itself to cracked corn scattered for other birds.

Eurasian Collared-Dove, Boise, Idaho January 2016

Eurasian Collared-Dove, Boise, Idaho January 2016

The bird is native to the Indian subcontinent. In the last several hundred years, it has established itself across Asia and Europe.

But nothing in the Eurasian range expansion implied the wildfire spread of the species across North America. The reasons for its success in North America are mostly a matter of speculation. It is a prolific breeder with an average of three kids per nest, and breeds an amazing three to six times a year. It feeds on a wide variety of grains and fruits.  But still.

Eurasian Collared-Dove, Maclaren River, June 2009

Eurasian Collared-Dove, Maclaren River, June 2009

WC’s life Eurasian Collared-Dove was a vagrant spotted at, of all places, Maclaren River Bridge, on the Denali Highway, more than a thousand miles outside of its usual range. One data point doesn’t make a line, but it does suggest the Collared-Dove’s range expansion and population growth isn’t yet completed.

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