Each area has its own fauna, and the Canary Islands have one of the most beloved species of pigeons in the world, the bolle’s pigeon. You’ve never heard of her before? Well, then it’s about time you met it.
Where does this pigeon live?
It is known scientifically as columba bollii, and its common name is due to the German naturalist Carl Bolle. Together with the pigeon rabiche, it is the second pigeon endemic to the Canary Islands.
It can be found in Tenerife, La Palma, El Hierro and La Gomera, where it receives names such as torcaz, torcasa, turquoise, turquoise or black pigeon. It is much more widespread than its rabbinical relative.
So what’s it like?
It is a large pigeon, measuring between 35 – 39 cm in length and can weigh up to 500 grams. It is a bird with a sedentary and quite robust character.
The feathers on her body are grey, with a wine-coloured chest with some green and pink highlights. The wings of its body are short, and quite dark, with a tail with a dark strip at the end and a white strip before it. Its beak is reddish in colour, with an orange hue at the tip.
When they are young, they do not have the reflexes of the neck and the color of their beaks is grayish. In addition, the shades of their feathers are a little browner. Since there is no sexual dimorphism, the male cannot be distinguished from the female unless a DNA test is performed.
It usually lives in the laurel forest and Monteverde, but in summer it can be seen as it travels to pine forests and growing areas in search of food. Sometimes it can be found in urban areas, although this is more common in rock dove.
And what care does this bird need?
Its diet is composed particularly of fruits, as it feeds especially on fruits of the trees of laurasilva, like the vine, the faya or the acebiño, but it can also eat some leaves and grains, although only when the fruits are scarce.
It is quite a breeding bird, as it can lay eggs several times in the same year. Typically, 1 to 2 eggs are laid on top of trees in the Monteverde forest each clutch, which are incubated by both parents. After 20 days, the chicks are born, which are fed with pigeon milk during their first days of life and then begin to eat fruits and insects.
The chicks do not usually leave the nest until the end of the month, which is the time when they begin to fly. Their reproduction usually takes place during the months of October and July.
When it comes to their care in captivity, being a large bird, it is best to have a large loft. She lives very peacefully with her rabbits, but with other birds she may have problems, especially if they are so territorial. And although she is accustomed to living in the laurasilva forest, she may adapt well to her new surroundings.
As far as domestication is concerned, it may be more complicated than training other pigeons, as it is a bird that likes to be quiet and is not as used to contact with humans as its relative. However, it is not impossible to train it, it only takes a little patience to get the bird to sit on its arm or to get it out of the loft without worrying about it taking flight.