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White-breasted pigeon


DOVE WHITE (Columba leuconota)

or white-backed. In the high mountains of Central Asia and surrounding areas, a white-chested pigeon is found. He looks like a gray pigeon, but differs well from him and other pigeons in his very dark head and white back. Breeds in colonies. Nests are arranged in crevices, caves and on the eaves of steep cliffs and inaccessible gorges.

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White-breasted pigeon (Columba leuconota) / Nasha-Priroda.rf

Structure and dimensions

The issues of molting a white-breasted dove have not been studied. In the domestic literature there are only indications of R. N. Meklenburtsev (1951) on the approximate dates of molting of this species, based on museum materials. According to these data, molting of a white-breasted pigeon begins in May – June and ends by December. The bird, caught on June 21, 1893 at the Kara-Kazyk pass, had 8 old fly-birds in the form of stumps, tenths had not yet grown to the end. The rest of the feather is old. Shedding of this specimen, apparently, began in late May or early June. The following is an indication that the birds caught in the upper reaches of the Yellow and Blue rivers at the end of June had mostly 6 old fly-birds. Sometimes molting began later, and by this time the birds had 8 old flywheels each. Caught in December in the “country” of Kam, birds finished molting, having replaced fly-wing, alternate helmsmen and a fresh small feather.

The 26 skins of a white-breasted pigeon viewed in the ZIN RAS collection are distributed as follows: 15 copies. birds caught in March – April are in the renewed feather and no traces of molting were found in them; six specimens of birds harvested in December – January have a completely fresh feather and no signs of molting; three specimens of birds caught in June —Jule, they each have 8 old flywheels and two specimens mined at the same time, each have 6 old flywheels.

Judging by the five molting specimens, the change in the primary wing of a white-breasted pigeon proceeds in the same way as that of other pigeons, starting with the X primary fly. The change of small plumage, minor fly and tail feathers, apparently, begins with the fall of V and IV fly, since by the time of the fall of the VI primary fly feather, birds are only slightly sparse.

An analysis of these materials suggests that the molting of a white-breasted pigeon begins in May – June and ends in October – November, apparently the same as that of other settled species of pigeons (bluish, rocky pigeons).

Subspecies taxonomy

In the world fauna there are two subspecies that do not have a clear definition.

1.Columba leuconota leuconota Vigors, 1831

The western part of the range to Sikim in the east. Often referred to as western subspecies. There is no more precise definition.

2.Columba leuconota gradaria Harter, 1916

The eastern part of the range is Gansu, Sichuan, Tibet. The subspecies does not have an exact name, it is often referred to as the eastern one.

According to R.N. Meklenburtsev (1951), subspecies differ in coloration of the back, lower back, and supineuvian, as well as in size. Ecological differences between subspecies have not been clarified. It is possible that the western subspecies does not rise as high in the mountains as the eastern. It may also be that the northwestern population is migratory, while the eastern ones are sedentary or undertake only vertical migrations.

The text of the scientific work on the theme "White-breasted, or snow dove Columba leuconota in the Tien Shan and Alai"

Russian Ornithological Journal 2010, Volume 19, Express release 589: 1425-1426

White-breasted, or snow dove Columba leuconota in the Tien Shan and Alai

Second edition. First published in 1988 *

The Tien Shan and Alai lie on the northwestern periphery of the range of the white-breasted pigeon Columba leuconota Vigors 1831, covering Kunlun, the Himalayas, the Hindu Kush and the Pamir (Boehme 1975). The peripheral position, apparently, explains the special rarity and irregularity of the meetings of the species. Thus, according to the testimony of B.K.Stegman (1954), a white-breasted pigeon was observed even in Zailiysky Alatau, however, its absence in collections from all over the Tien Shan, despite the long period of work of a large number of professional ornithologists here, cast doubt on this message (Dolgushin 1962). Recently, East Alai and the entire Tien Shan are generally excluded from the species range (Vinokurov, Shchadilov 1984). The most recent reliable encounters in the Alai ridge date back to 1883, when in May and July two white-breasted pigeons were caught by Barei (Ivanov 1969).

The white-breasted pigeon in the Pamir-Alai inhabits the highlands not lower than 3000 m asl. In Hindu Kush, where its abundance is higher, it descends to 2500 m. In the eastern part of the Alai Valley in the summer of 1985, we recorded 4 birds in 5 days within a radius of 20 km, both on the southern spurs of the Alai Range (1 bird), and on northern spurs of the Canalai (3 birds). One of the encounters of the white-breasted pigeon was at an altitude of 3300 m above sea level, above cryophytic meadows, 3 others were at an altitude of 3000 to 3200 m in a forest-shrub belt in which creeping juniper and spruce were present. The latter are represented by insignificant curtains. In two cases, pigeons perched on rocks, in one - on a spruce.

June 14, 1985 in the canyon of the northern slope in the eastern part of the Chon-Alai Range at an altitude of 3200 m above sea level. a nest of a white-breasted pigeon was found in a niche of the southwestern wall of the canyon 6 m above a foamy stream. The width of the canyon at the nest level is 6-8 m. Above and below the canyon, the slopes are gravelly, rocky, with screes and clumps of shrubs (honeysuckle, dogrose, juniper, meadowsweet, mountain ash, etc.), as well as a small curtain of Tien Shan spruce. The location of the nest is more typical for the blue bird Myophonus caeruleus than for

* Shukurov E. D. 1988. White-breasted (snow) pigeon Columba leuconota in the Tien Shan and Alai // Ornithology 23: 225-226.

pigeons. The tray is lined with roots. In the clutch there are 2 eggs - white, slightly bluish, elongated-ellipsoid in shape, similar in size and shape to the Columba palumbus vyakhir eggs. The bird, flying off the nest, sat on the opposite side of the canyon, allowing itself to be clearly seen through binoculars from a distance of not more than 10 m. Then it flew away, returning after 20 minutes alone, and after an hour with another bird. Both times, snow pigeons sat on the rocks of the opposite side of the gorge.

Near the bird, the absence of bluish tones in the plumage, a dark brown head and a strip along the outer edge of the tail, a faint ocherous coating on the light parts of the plumage are noticeable. At a distance, ocher tones are less noticeable. The bird looks light, larger than the blue dove Columba livia, against a common light background, a sitting head and a flying bird have a dark head and a strip along the edge of the tail. Wingspan seems slow.

On the territory of the Tien Shan over the past decades, no reliable encounters of the white-breasted pigeon have been recorded. A.Kydyra-liev (oral communication) met in the early 1980s a white-breasted dove in the Inner Tien Shan, on the Dolon Pass, at an altitude of over 3000 m above sea level. On June 14, 1983, we recorded a solitary bird near the Akkiya pass at an altitude of 2800 m, 150-200 km in a straight line to the north-east of the find in Alai. These observations require confirmation. By the way, Zhen Zuo-hsin (1976) does not indicate a white-breasted pigeon on the territory of China adjacent to the USSR, although the species undoubtedly lives in the mountains of East Xinjiang.

Boehme R.L. 1975. Birds of the mountains of the South Palearctic. M .: 1-181.

Vinokurov A.A., Shchadilov Yu.M. 1984. White-breasted Dove // ​​Red Book

USSR. M .: 158-159. Dolgushin I.A. 1962. Squad of pigeons // Birds of Kazakhstan. Alma-Ata, 2. Ivanov A.I. 1969. Birds of the Pamir-Alai. L .: 1-448. Zheng Zuo-hsin 1976. The distribution of birds in China. Beijing (China). Shtegman V.K. 1954. About the birds of the alpine zone of Zailiysky Alatau // Tr. Le Ningre. Society natural sciences. 72, 4: 255-275.


It lives in the mountains at altitudes of the order of 3000–4500 m above sea level. seas. It is authentically known from the territory of North Asia only from the Alai ridge (Tengizbai and Karakazyk passes), only according to observations it is indicated for the upper Pyanj between Khorog and Ishkashim, the Sarykov ridge in the upper river. Shinda, Zaalaysky ridge and Zailiysky Alatau, all these indications, based on observations, are not reliable enough. Outside of North Asia: mountains of the south of Central Asia from Afghanistan to Southwest, China (Ivanov, 1976).

Figure 24. Range of White-breasted Pigeon in North Asia
a - nesting area

Figure 25. Distribution area of ​​white-breasted pigeon
a - border of the breeding range, b - insufficiently clarified border of the range. Subspecies: 1 - Columba leuconota leuconota, 2 - C. l. gradaria


White-breasted pigeon, unlike our other pigeons, nests in the highest mountain regions - from 2,700 to 5,000 m above sea level. seas. R. N. Meklenburtsev notes that the lack of finds does not make it possible to judge the confinement of this species to any particular landscape. It can be assumed that this pigeon is kept in very high mountains: at such passes as Tengizbay (about 3,300 m) or Karakazyk (about 4,750 m). In the Panj valley and at the Kum Bel pass, pigeons were recorded above 2,500 m.

The confinement to the rocks, as well as the bluish and rocky pigeons, is not in doubt, but the white-chested pigeon gravitates to the highest and coolest areas.