Originating from the Indian region, Collared Doves had only a tenuous European presence in the southern Balkans until the early 20th century. Then in the late 1920s they began a dramatic and accelerating spread northwest. By the late 1940s they had colonised a broad strip of eastern and central Europe as far north as the Netherlands and Denmark; by 1959 they were in all of continental Europe except Iberia, Finland and Russia and by the 1970s they had filled these gaps and had also spread to parts of North Africa.
    The first British record, of a singing male in Lincolnshire, was recorded in 1952; the first breeding record occurred in Norfolk in 1955. By 1957, the species had been found in ten British counties, by 1962 in over 40, an expansion that continued until the mid 1970s by which time it was present in all of Britain except in highland areas in Scotland, northern England and Wales. Bird Atlas 2007-11 reported a continuing increase in abundance, in line with a similar trend across Europe generally.
    In Wiltshire Collared Doves were first recorded in the Marlborough area in 1962 and thereafter spread rapidly. Birds of Wiltshire reported that they had been recorded as generally resident by 1967 throughout the county except in the extreme northwest. Field work for Birds of Wiltshire found them present in summer in 712 tetrads (78%) with breeding in 464. Since then numbers have declined slightly: WTA2 recorded them in 676 tetrads with breeding in 405. Winter distribution on the other hand increased from 62% of tetrads in Birds of Wiltshire to 69% in WTA2.

The following references are used throughout these species accounts, in the abbreviated form given in quotation marks:
1968-72 Breeding Atlas” – Sharrack, J.T.R. 1976:  The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1981-84 Winter Atlas” – Lack, P.C. 1986:  The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1988-91 Breeding Atlas” – Gibbons, D.W., Reid, J.B. & Chapman, R.A. 1993: The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 1988-91. T. & A. Poyser
“Birds of Wiltshire” – Ferguson-Lees, I.J. et al. 2007 : Birds of Wiltshire, published by the tetrad atlas group of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society after mapping fieldwork 1995-2000. Wiltshire Ornithological Society.
Bird Atlas 2007-2011” – Balmer, D.E., Gillings, S., Caffrey, B.J., Swann, R.L., Downie, I.S. and Fuller, R.J. 2013: Bird Atlas 2007-2011: the Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland
WTA2” – ("Wiltshire Tetrad Atlas 2 ") the present electronic publication, bringing together the Wiltshire data from “Birds of Wiltshire” and “Bird Atlas 2007-11”, together with data from further fieldwork carried out in 2011 and 2012.
"Hobby" - the annual bird report of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society.