A frugivorous species (4), the dark-tailed laurel pigeon feeds principally on berries from the Azores laurel and tilo (2), although it is also known to eat grain and occasionally buds, leaves and shoots (4). Individuals of this species will gather in groups of 3 to 50 individuals (2) to feed on fruiting trees, generally plucking berries straight from the branches, but also feeding on the ground (2) (4). The dark-tailed laurel pigeon has been reported moving to lower elevations at times during the late summer, to take advantage of ripe cereals and fruit (4). It has also been observed feeding on cabbages and other crops in times of low berry availability (2).
The dark-tailed laurel pigeon is thought to breed throughout the year (5), but breeding usually occurs between January and September (4). The male performs breeding displays which include a series of deep bows (2). The female dark-tailed laurel pigeon produces two or three clutches of eggs a year, depending on the availability of food (2), with each clutch containing just one white egg (2) (3) which is incubated for 18 to 19 days (2). The nest is constructed of twigs and is always built in a tree (2) (3), often in the heaths Erica arborea (2) (5) or Erica scoparia, at heights of between 1.75 and 15 metres (2). The young of the dark-tailed laurel pigeon fledge between 30 and 35 days of age, and the young depend on the adults for some time after leaving the nest (2).
After taking off with a loud, clattering noise (3), the dark-tailed laurel pigeon has a low, fast flight (4), beating its wings regularly with an occasional sharp flick (3). However, it tends to stay within deep shade during the hottest part of the day (4). The dark-tailed laurel pigeon is territorial and will perform displays that include shallow, repeated ascents involving wing-clapping, followed by gliding down to a perch in a long, circular motion (2).