Knowledge of the feeding habits of a bird species is necessary to
evaluate how food availability can affect its population status. The Woodpigeon
Columba palumbus is a
granivorous-frugivorous species that is widely distributed throughout Europe.
However, there is little information about its feeding habits both in Spain and
Mediterranean region. The diet of Woodpigeons in a mountain area of southern
Spain was quantitatively assessed on a monthly basis during 2011 and 2012. The
birds were sampled on their way to roost sites after they had finished feeding
and the contents of their crops were subsequently analysed. Twenty plant
species and five snail species were identified in the diet. The consumed items
varied significantly between seasons. Thus, acorns of Quercus sp. were the most consumed item during winter, cereals
dominated the summer diet and tree fruits predominated in spring and autumn.
The Woodpigeons showed a preference for cereals and acorns rather than tree
fruits and pasture vegetation. Woodpigeons showed considerable plasticity in
their feeding habits, since they were able to change the main food item
consumed over a short period of time and fed on most of the typical
Mediterranean tree fruits.