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Columbidae information

Temporal range: Early Miocene–recent[1]
Pink-necked green pigeon
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Columbimorphae
Order: Columbiformes
Latham, 1790
Family: Columbidae
Leach, 1819
Type genus
Linnaeus, 1758

See text

      Geographic range of the family

Columbidae (/kəˈlʌmbɪd/ kə-LUM-bih-dee) is a bird family consisting of doves and pigeons. It is the only family in the order Columbiformes. These are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills that in some species feature fleshy ceres. They primarily feed on plants, and can be taxonomically divided amongst granivores, that feed mostly on the ground on seeds, and frugivores, that feed mostly on fruits, from branches. The family occurs worldwide, often in close proximity with humans, but the greatest variety is in the Indomalayan and Australasian realms.

Columbidae contains 344 species divided into 50 genera. 59 species are listed as threatened, and thirteen are extinct,[2] including the dodo, an island bird, and the passenger pigeon, the only bird species not restricted to a small island to go extinct in modern times, even though its flocks were counted in the billions.

Mostly only by English speakers, the smaller species tend to be called "doves", and the larger ones "pigeons",[3] although the distinction is not consistent,[3] and there is no scientific separation between them.[4] Historically, the common names for these birds involve a great deal of variation. The bird most commonly referred to as "pigeon" is the domestic pigeon, or rock dove, which is common in many cities as the feral pigeon.

Doves and pigeons build relatively flimsy nests, often using sticks and other debris, which may be placed on branches of trees, on ledges, or on the ground, depending on species. They lay one or (usually) two white eggs at a time, and both parents care for the young. Unlike most birds, both sexes of doves and pigeons produce "crop milk" to feed to their young, secreted by a sloughing of fluid-filled cells from the lining of the crop.

Unfledged baby doves and pigeons are called squabs and are generally able to fly by 5 weeks of age. These fledglings, with their immature squeaking voices, are called squeakers once they are weaned,[5] and leave the nest after 25–32 days.

Since ancient times, many Columbidae species have developed intricate cultural and practical relations with humans. Doves were important symbols of the goddesses Innana, Asherah, and Aphrodite, and revered by the early Christian, Islamic and Jewish religions. Domestication of pigeons led to significant use of homing pigeons for communication, including war pigeons, such as the 32 pigeons who were awarded the Dickin Medal for "brave service" to their country, in World War II.

  1. ^ Farner, Donald (2012). Avian Biology. Elsevier. ISBN 978-0-323-15799-5.
  2. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (2020). "Pigeons". IOC World Bird List Version 10.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  3. ^ a b McDonald, Hannah (17 August 2008). "What's the Difference Between Pigeons and Doves?". Big Questions. Mental Floss.
  4. ^ "Dove vs pigeon - what's the difference between these two cooing birds? - Discover Wildlife". Retrieved 30 November 2023.
  5. ^ Crome, Francis H.J. (1991). Forshaw, Joseph (ed.). Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds. London: Merehurst Press. pp. 115–116. ISBN 978-1-85391-186-6.

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(/ˈpɪdʒ.ən/ also /ˈpɪdʒ.ɪn/; Columba livia) is a member of the bird family Columbidae (doves and pigeons).: 624  In common usage, it is often simply referred...

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dove or stock pigeon (Columba oenas) is a species of bird in the family Columbidae, the doves and pigeons. It is widely distributed in the western Palearctic...

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solitaire are now placed in their own subfamily, Raphinae, within the family Columbidae. In 2002, American geneticist Beth Shapiro and colleagues analysed the...

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Common wood pigeon

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Burmese collared dove

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Imperial pigeon

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White dove

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