Band-tailed Pigeon (Columba fasciata)
Associated Species: Other species that may use habitat in a similar way and/or respond similarly
to threats, management, and conservation activities include Virginia's Warbler and Black-headed
Distribution: Two separate populations exist: a coastal population along the West Coast from
west-central British Columbia south to northern Baja California, and an interior population from
southeastern Wyoming to north-central Utah south to west-central Mexico. In Physiographic
Area 62, populations are concentrated along the eastern edge of the Rockies and in southwestern
Colorado, with lower numbers throughout Physiographic Area 62 in appropriate habitat. Birds in
this area are of the interior subspecies (C. f. fasciata).
Habitat Requirements: In Colorado, these birds breed primarily in ponderosa pine forests and
Gambel oak shrublands, but also occasionally in pinyon pine, lodgepole pine, and spruce-fir
Ecology: Birds arrive in the region as early as late March; by mid October, most have left for
wintering areas in the southern U.S. south to Central America. The diet consists of Gambel oak
acorns, pinyon nuts, seeds, and cultivated grains.
Management Issues and Conservation Recommendations: This is a game species in
Colorado, although hunter activity and harvest are low. Detailed information on the preferred
habitat of the birds inhabiting Colorado is lacking, hampering conservation efforts and precluding
formulation of management recommendations as related to timber harvest and prescribed burns.
Obvious needs of the species include good mast and fruit crops. The most productive oak,
serviceberry, and chokecherry stands should be identified and removed from big game and
livestock range conversion projects. Retain large pines for nesting and roosting.
Status and Reasons for Concern: This species is on the national Watch List, indicating a high
conservation need throughout its range. Band-tailed Pigeons are not adequately monitored by the
BBS within Physiographic Area 62, and data collected between 1969 and 1996 are too sparse to
allow analysis of trend data (n = 5 routes). However, BBS data from 1966 to 1996 reveal a
statistically significant, survey-wide annual rate of decline (-2.7%; P = 0.01; n = 191 routes).
Band-tailed Pigeons were present on an average of 6.27% (SE = 3.01) of the BBS routes run in
Physiographic Area 62 in Colorado during 1989-1997, at an average abundance of 0.14 (SE =
0.06) individuals per route. The mean number of routes run each year was 21.1 (SE = 3.06).
This species is monitored by CDOW.
Biological Objective: Maintain or increase the species' distribution and abundance, based on
results of BBS, CDOW, or other monitoring programs.
Selected References: Andrews and Righter 1992, Braun 1994, Gutiérrez et al. 1975, Kingery