One of the main differences between these species is the longer tail of the Band-tail, the white mark on its neck. The beak of the Rock Pigeon displays a white mark. Rock Pigeons, however, are know for their color variations, while the Band-tails are very consistent.

Yes, they are a common avian, but like all animals they have a couple of interesting facts about their life. Here in the Northwest we often see two species – the Rock Pigeon, also commonly called a Rock Dove, and the Band-tailed Pigeon. The Rock Pigeon, like hundreds of other animals in our country, was introduced from Europe a couple of hundred years ago. The Band-tailed Pigeon is our native breed and regular inhabitant of western Washington. From my experience the Rock Pigeons seem to love life near the coast; in fact, the pictures above were taken on the building of the Port Townsend Marine Science Center during my visit there this weekend. The Band-tailed Pigeon was photographed in my backyard, where they pop up quite often. Both of these birds possess a unique talent – they “milk” their babies! Mom and dad both do this using a secretion from their esophagus called crop milk. Not many other bird species do this but it is more common among the doves.

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