Columba oenas, Linn. Faun. Suec. p. 75 (1761) ; Gmel. Syst. Nat. i. p. 769 (1788) ; Naum. vi. p. 215, Taf. 151 ; Hewitson, i. p. 273, pl. lxvii. fig. 2 ; Gould, B. of E. iv. pl. 244 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. iv. pl. 2 ; Dresser, vii. p. 23, pl. 458 ; Salvadori, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxi. p. 261 ; Saunders, p. 481 ; Lilford, iv. p. 85, pl. 40.
Colombe, French ; Paloma zura, Span. ; Colombella, Ital. ; Hohltaube, German ; Kleine-Boschduif, Dutch ; Skovdue, Dan. and Norweg. ; Skogsdufva, Swed. ; Sinikyyhka, Finn. ; Klintuch, Russ.
Male ad. (England). Head, neck, and upper parts generally blue-grey with a slate tinge, the rump, upper tail-coverts and wing-coverts paler and bluer ; sides of and hind-neck glossed with metallic green ; a patch of blackish grey on some of the inner secondaries and wing-coverts ; tail at base bluish grey, then light grey, the terminal portion dark plumbeous ; under parts blue-grey, the. breast vinous red ; bill red at the base, becoming yellow towards the tip, the soft portion at the base of the upper mandible greyish ; iris red ; legs pinkish red. Culmen 0.85, wing 8.45, tail 4.7, tarsus 1.1 inch. The female is somewhat smaller, and duller in colour.
Hab. Europe generally, up to about 61° N. lat. ; North-west Africa ; Asia Minor, and Asia east to Turkestan.
In habits it differs from the Rock-Dove in that it affects woods and groves inland. It feeds on grain and seeds of various kinds, beech-nuts, acorns, and blueberries. Its note is a loud guttural, rumbling note. Sometimes two broods are reared in the year, the first eggs being deposited late in March or early in April, and it nests in hollow trees, holes in the ground, old ivy, and even in old buildings. The eggs, 2 in number, are pure white, and measure about 1.51 by 1.6.
887. Columba oenas