Have you ever heard of pigeons that are endemic to the Canary Islands? No? And would you like to know more about them? In that case, you’re gonna start by meeting the laurel pigeon.
What’s the word on it?
The laurel pigeon, columba junoniae, is one of the two pigeon species of the Canary Islands, along with the turkey dove. According to Canarian law, this dove is considered the natural symbol of the island of La Gomera, along with the vineyard.
As established by the IUCN, it is an endangered bird that lives in specific areas of the island of El Hierro, La Gomera, La Palma and Tenerife. It is known by other names such as rabichi, yellowfin, white-tailed, tailed or rovalvo.
And what does it look like?
Within the pigeon family, it is a medium-sized bird that can measure between 37 – 38 cm and weigh up to 350 grams. There is no sexual dimorphism, so the only way to determine the sex of the specimen is to use the corresponding DNA test.
The shades of its plumage are dark winey on the body, while the head and neck are greyish, with iridescence on the sides of its neck and nape. The tail is also grey, but paler, turning whitish at the distal end.
It is true that it is quite similar to the turkey dove, however, you can distinguish it because the color of this is more reddish and the color of the wings is uniform and dark, and the tail is quite different. Both pigeons usually share the same habitat and live together.
The young have less reflections in their plumage, as well as less iridescence, and the colour of their beaks is blackish, while adults have a whitish hue. This changes with the shedding of the skin. It is a great flyer, making slow wing shakes, so it would be ideal as a bird for flying competitions.
Anything else you can learn from this bird?
As it is a bird that is in danger of extinction, it is very difficult to get a pet bird. However, although IUCN has given it the status of “endangered”, under Spanish law it is only “vulnerable”.
With this, it is possible to obtain specimens as long as their care is intended for them to have offspring. There’s not much data on whether it’s easy to play or not. To begin with, since they do not have sexual dimorphism, the only way to differentiate sex is with a DNA test, which turns out to be quite expensive. And then, being a bird that is used to the Canarian climate, it may not adapt well to the environment you have in your new home.
Their feeding is the same as that of the rest of the pigeons: seeds and a few small insects. You can give him breadcrumbs, but in smaller quantities to prevent him from getting fat. It is not as active as other pigeon species, so living in captivity makes it quite prone to fattening.
As far as its character with other birds is concerned, as it is used to living with the turkey dove, it does not usually cause many problems when living with this species, but there have not been many tests with other species of pigeons. It is neither territorial nor aggressive, but during the breeding period it could change its character a little, so it is better to have it in another module of the loft.