The band-tailed pigeon, Patagioenas fasciata, is also known as the wild pigeon, the white-collared pigeon, and the blue pigeon.
Bird length varies from 12 to 16 inches and the average weight is 11 to 12 ounces. The head, neck, breast, and underparts of the male are purplish-gray fading to white toward the vent. A narrow white crescent forms a prominent half collar on the nape of the neck. The back is dark greenish gray grading to bluish-gray on the rump. The upper tail is dark gray with a wide, pale gray terminal band. The bill and feet are yellow. The bill has a black tip. Females and juveniles are similar to the male, but lack the prominent white crescent on the neck.
The band-tailed pigeon is a native bird whose typical habitat is coniferous forests. Main concentrations in Utah are in the southern pine forests from the Pine Valley Mountains in the west to the La Sal and Blue Mountains in the east.
These birds are usually paired for the breeding season. Nesting in Utah takes place in May, June, and July. Normally only one egg is laid. The egg is pure white. The nest is usually a frail platform of dead twigs eight to 20 feet above the ground in a coniferous tree. The incubation period is from 18 to 20 days.
Food of the band-tailed pigeon consists mainly of acorns, berries, pine buds, seeds, and needles. Only a small portion of the diet is insects, although a few grasshoppers and other large insects may be taken.
The band-tailed pigeon is migratory and only limited breeding populations occur in southern Utah. A closely controlled hunting season has been permitted since 1970. Annual harvest is estimated to be less than 100 pigeons.