Courtesy Kenn Kaufman
Within the United States, White-crowned Pigeons are found exclusively in extreme southern mainland Florida and the Florida Keys. The species is also found throughout the Bahamas, across the Greater Antilles from Cuba to Puerto Rico, and in the northern Lesser Antilles from the Virgin Islands south to Guadeloupe. They occur sporadically along the Caribbean coast from Mexico to Panama.
A legend for the range map to the right can be found here
Two distinct habitats are critical for White-crowned Pigeons. While they usually breed on isolated coastal or island mangroves, they require forested areas with fruit-bearing trees for feeding. Island-nesting White-crowned Pigeons often make long, over-water flights to feed within inland hardwood forests; for example, birds that nest on half the islands within Florida Bay make daily flights from there to the mainland or Florida Keys to forage.
The White-crowned Pigeon is frugivorous, feeding almost entirely on a wide array of fruit-bearing trees and shrubs. While foraging, it is surprisingly nimble as it clambers about the outermost branches of the treetops, stretching, bracing itself with extended wings, or even hanging upside down to reach ripened fruits. The pigeons respond opportunistically to food sources, wandering far and wide in search of new feeding areas, even basing the timing and length of their breeding season upon crop availability. Preferred foods include the fruits of poisonwood, blolly, fig, royal palm, strongbark, and pigeon plum. Seeds and insects are also eaten occasionally, though the White-crowned Pigeon is rarely observed foraging on the ground.
Depending on the location and the availability of food, the often-prolonged breeding season can occur anytime between March and October, although May through September is more typical. Males call and display to attract a mate. Once paired, the pair begins nest construction, with the female arranging materials supplied by the male. Once completed, two white eggs are laid and incubated in turn by both parents for about two weeks. Males incubate the eggs by day, with the female taking over at night. Once hatched, the young pigeons, or squabs, are fed "crop milk" by the adult birds for the first few days. As the young develop, fruit becomes an increasingly important part of their diet. Parent White-crowned Pigeons may travel up to 50 km daily to reach a favored feeding location. Young White-crowned Pigeons generally fledge about three weeks after hatching, and are fed and tended to by the parents for up to three weeks beyond fledging. Pairs that re-nest may begin laying their next clutch of eggs while still tending their first set of chicks.
Migration patterns, like breeding habits, are often influenced by the availability of fruit crops. The White-crowned Pigeon is a semi-nomadic species; it is often difficult to determine whether certain populations are merely shifting in response to crop availability, or undergoing a true migration. In general, the birds are considered short-distance migrants, particularly in the northern parts of their range.