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Common Bird Species

Some bird species can become a serious nuisance in the wrong locations - ask anyone who has had birds roosting or nesting in their business premises. Not only can they cause a lot of damage, but they can also spread diseases.

There are several pest bird species that are seen as an issue, these include greater black-backed gull, lesser black-backed gull, herring gull, feral pigeon, starling, and collared dove. In large numbers they can cause a variety of problems for your business.

Here’s a handy guide to the most common pest birds.

Feral Pigeons

(Columba Livia)

Also known as city doves or street pigeons, they are descended from wild rock doves. They thrive in our towns and cities, making use of seemingly inhospitable areas of tall buildings with the smallest amount of shelter.


  • Usually blue-grey (although other colours are common).
Life cycle and habits of a Feral Pigeon

Life Cycle

  • 2 - 3 broods per year, with 2 eggs in each clutch. They have a 17 - 19 day incubation period and the young birds spend 35 - 37 days in the nest.


  • Pigeons are gregarious creatures preferring to live in flocks of anywhere between 50 and 500.
  • Eats seeds, green feed, domestic scraps in and around cities, near roosting sites.
  • Given an adequate food supply pigeons can breed throughout the year, although the peak breeding season is usually between March and July.


(Family – Laridae)

The family includes herring gulls (Larus Argentatus) and lesser black-backed gulls (Larus Fuscus). These have become well adapted to living in our coastal towns and cities.


  • Difficult to tell some gulls apart due to seasonal variations in their plumage.
Life cycle and habits of a Seagull

Life Cycle

  • 1 brood per year, with 3 eggs in each clutch.
  • 25 day incubation period.
  • Young birds spend 35 - 42 days in the nest.


  • Gulls will scavenge on practically anything.
  • They feed away from their nesting sites, but return to roost.
  • Gulls become a greater problem during summer months, when mating and rearing their young, as they will aggressively defend their nests.


(Sturnus Vulgaris)

Can be recognised by their pointed wings and short tail when flying. At first sight they appear to be plain black, but the feathers catch the light and may appear iridescent green or purple.


  • 20 - 23cm long.
Life cycle and habits of a Starling

Life Cycle

  • Up to two broods a year with usually 4 - 6 eggs in each clutch. Young spend around 21 days in the nest. Breeding can extend from April to July if conditions are favourable.


  • An agricultural pest of standing crops, but will also flock into cities in large numbers.
  • The droppings from a large roosting flock of starlings are a good medium for pathogenic fungi, some of which can be harmful or even fatal to humans.

Collared Dove

(Streptopelia Decaocto)


  • Fawn-grey colour with a narrow black band at the back of the neck.
Life cycle and habits of a Collared Dove

Life Cycle

  • 2 - 4 broods per year, with 2 eggs in each clutch. A 14 - 15 day incubation period, with young birds spending 15 - 19 days in the nest.


  • Eats seeds and grains near roosting sites.
  • Nests in trees and canopies.