Related topics: birds

Biologists experimentally trigger adaptive radiation

When naturalist Charles Darwin stepped onto the Galapagos Islands in 1835, he encountered a bird that sparked a revolutionary theory on how new species originate. From island to island, finches had wildly varied beak designs ...

Bogota implores tourists to stop feeding pigeons

On a bright Sunday afternoon, a group of government workers walked around Bogota's most famous square dressed as pigeons, with cardboard beaks covering their noses, as thousands of real birds swarmed overhead and left their ...

Homing pigeons use local natural odors to find their way

Homing pigeons use familiar smells to navigate their way across hundreds of kilometers of unfamiliar territory. Researchers have now confirmed that artificial odors cannot be used to stimulate or trigger a pigeon's navigation ...

Extinct pigeon species related to dodo found

A new pigeon species, the Zealandian Dove, which is related to the extinct dodo, has been identified at the Central Otago fossil site near St Bathans on the South Island of New Zealand by researchers from New Zealand and ...

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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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