The Stock Dove is a very neat, compact bird which is found commonly across most of Europe, with the exception of northern Scotland and Scandinavia. It tends to favour woods and open farmland, but it can still be found in more urban parks and gardens.
Stock Doves tend to be a little more solitary than other doves and pigeons, usually seen in pairs, but they do sometimes flock.
The Stock Dove is smaller than the Woodpigeon, with a small, squarish head, plump body and beautifully subtle plumage. It never shows the more obvious white neck patch and white wing patch of the adult Woodpigeon, and, unlike the latter, has two short dark bars across the inner wing. The two species appear quite different when seen together.
Stock Doves have a dark grey back, rump and wings, except for black on the coverts and primary feathers. The tail shows a broad black tip.
Stock Doves show a dark silvery-grey head with an emerald-green neck patch and salmonpink breast patch. The underparts are quite variable, generally looking grey, but sometimes very blue-grey. The bill is pale yellow, with a whitish ‘knob’ and reddish base.
When flying, the soft tones of the upperand underparts are offset by the broad black trailing edge on the upper wing and the double spots on the coverts. The black tail band is also very obvious. White edges on the outermost tail feathers may be seen. The underwing will appear pale grey.
Stock Doves hold their wings straighter than Woodpigeons and have a quick, direct flight, with occasional flicks.
Stock Doves like nesting in natural tree holes, or sometimes in and around derelict buildings. The male will try to woo a female with his monotonous ‘coo-oh, coo-oh’ call.