Snow Pigeon

Snow Pigeon
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Columbiformes
Family: Columbidae
Genus: Columba
Species: C. leuconota
Binomial name
Columba leuconota
Vigors, 1831

The Snow Pigeon (Columba leuconota) is a species of bird in the Columba genus in the Columbidae family.



Snow Pigeon has a blackish head contrasting with white neck collar and white underparts shading into ashy on the abdomen. Back is brownish grey with a white patch on the lower back. Wing is pale grey with three brown bands. The black tail has a clear white band in the middle which narrows and curve forward to reach the tip of outermost tail features. Young birds have narrow pale buff margins to the feathers of the upper parts and wings. The white of the underparts is sullied with buff.[1][2]

Taxonomy and systematics

Two races are recognized:

  • leuconota described by Vigors in 1831 is found in Himalayas from West Afghanistan to Sikkim; summer visitor to Alay Mts and Pamir.
  • gradaria described by Hartert in 1916 is found in mountains of East Tibet and from East Nan Shan (Qinghai) to Yunnan and extreme N Myanmar.

Distribution and status

They are resident birds in rocky hills of Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.[3]

Behaviour and ecology

They frequent rocky hill sides and sequestered valleys, seen up to the snow line. They frequently feed in the fields during the day, but roost in the cliffs. They are generally shy and wary. Gatherings of 150 or more occur in winter, often in company of Hill Pigeon and in some areas with Rock Pigeon too.[4]

In the summer, they descent to lower heights and are found in pairs or small flocks. They breed in colonies. The nests are placed in crevices or caves in the face of cliffs or ledges of rock. Nest is an untidy interlaced structure made of sticks, grass, straw, feathers etc. The nests are generally reused every year with minor repairing. Generally two eggs are laid.[2]

They feed on berries, grain, buds and shoots.[2]


  1. ^ Rasmussen PC & JC Anderton (2005). Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Volume 2. Smithsonian Institution & Lynx Edicions. p. 204. 
  2. ^ a b c Baker, ECS (1928). Fauna of British India. Birds. Volume 5 (2 ed.). Taylor and Francis, London. pp. 224–225. 
  3. ^ "Columba leuconta: The Red List of Threatened Species" (Web article). The World Conservation Union. Retrieved 2008-02-09. [dead link]
  4. ^ Gibbs, David; Eustace Barnes, John Cox. Pigeons and Doves: A Guide to the Pigeons and Doves of the World. United Kingdom: Pica Press. pp. 624. ISBN 1873403607. 

External links