Related topics: birds

Odors as navigational cues for pigeons

Many bird species can find their way home even after being brought to remote or unfamiliar locations. Over 40 years of research on homing pigeons have shown that environmental odors play a crucial role in this process. Yet ...

Pigeon pecking order found to be driven by weight

A team of researchers from the University of London and Monash University has found that pigeon pecking order is driven by weight and that a given pecking order can be artificially changed. In their paper published in the ...

Dog and sheep bones help injured pigeons fly again

Sheep and dog bones can be whittled into orthopedic pins that stabilize pigeons' fractured wings, helping the fractures to heal properly without follow-up surgery. Researchers describe the treatment, which is cheaper and ...

The fellowship of the wing: Pigeons flap faster to fly together

New research publishing June 18 in the open-access journal, PLOS Biology, led by Dr. Lucy Taylor from the University of Oxford's Department of Zoology now reveals that homing pigeons fit in one extra wingbeat per second when ...

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Columbidae

Pigeons and doves constitute the bird family Columbidae within the order Columbiformes, which include some 300 species of near passerines. In general terms "dove" and "pigeon" are used somewhat interchangeably. In ornithological practice, there is a tendency for "dove" to be used for smaller species and "pigeon" for larger ones, but this is in no way consistently applied, and historically the common names for these birds involve a great deal of variation between the terms "dove" and "pigeon." This family occurs worldwide, but the greatest variety is in the Indomalaya and Australasia ecozones. Young doves and pigeons are called "squabs."

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks, and have short slender bills with a fleshy cere. The species commonly referred to just as "pigeon" is the Feral Rock Pigeon, common in many cities.

Doves and pigeons build relatively flimsy nests from sticks and other debris, which may be placed in trees, on ledges or on the ground, depending on species. They lay one or two eggs, and both parents care for the young, which leave the nest after 7 to 28 days. Doves feed on seeds, fruit and plants. Unlike most other birds (but see flamingo), the doves and pigeons produce "crop milk", which is secreted by a sloughing of fluid-filled cells from the lining of the crop. Both sexes produce this highly nutritious substance to feed to the young.

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