Long-toed Pigeon (Columba trocaz)

Long-toed Pigeon

[order] COLUMBIFORMES | [family] Columbidae | [latin] Columba trocaz | [UK] Long-toed Pigeon | [FR] Pigeon trocas | [DE] Silberhals-Taube | [ES] Paloma torqueza | [NL] Trocazduif


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range

Physical charateristics

The also called Long-toed Pigeon is an endemic species of Madeira, it once existed in Porto Santo but nowadays is restricted to Madeira Island.
It is a dark grey corpulent pigeon with big red toes, an indistinct glossy silvery patch on neck-side, a visible white strike on the tail and red bill. The female is a little smaller than the male but it is not easy to distinguish them.

wingspan min.: 72 cm wingspan max.: 76 cm
size min.: 38 cm size max.: 40 cm
incubation min.: 19 days incubation max.: 20 days
fledging min.: 28 days fledging max.: 20 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 2  


Africa : Madeira


There is strong evidence that the pigeons move from valley to valley all year round, and that they look for different areas at different times of the year. Habitat selection has been studied in summer when the pigeons show a strong preference for Laurel forest at low altitudes, especially forest with a good height of canopy on steep slopes. In places not altered by housing and agriculture pigeons may occur very near the coast. The biotopes that are preferred are those dominated by Ocotea foetens, although those with exotic vegetation are in relatively high demand all year round if compared with some of the Laurel forest habitats. Pigeons occur within the whole altitudinal range of the Laurel forest but they show a much higher preference for forest under 850 m.


Madeira Laurel Pigeons build their nest with dry twigs in a forest tree, and occasionally on the ground or in cavities in cliffs. Normally one egg is laid, occasionally two, though no nest with two chicks has ever been found. Incubation takes 19-20 days and the fledging period is up to 28 days. Captive breeding has been achieved.

Feeding habits

Food consists mainly of the fruits of Laurus azorica and Ocotea foetens, but also flowers and leaves of Sonchus spp., Apium nodiflorum, Nastasium officinale, and a wide variety of other plants. The crop contents and state of the gonads of 25 pigeons were examined in 1985 and compared to a sample of 29 birds in 1988. In 1985 only agricultural food remains were found in the pigeons and the gonads were inactive; in 1988 only berries from Laurel forest trees were found and, of the 25 birds, 19 were sexually active, three were juveniles and three had undeveloped gonads.


This species is classified as Near Threatened because it has a very small extent of occurrence, although this is not yet severely fragmented or restricted to few locations. The population has declined as a result of habitat degradation, hunting and poisoning.
Long-toed Pigeon status Near Threatened


Resident and endemic to Madeira

Distribution map

Long-toed Pigeon distribution range map

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