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Columbiformes - Pigeons and Doves
 
Skip to:   
Columbiformes
Families: Raphidae - Didines, Columbidae - Pigeons and Doves
 
Species:   
Galapagos Dove
 
Images:   
Eurasian Collared Dove, Victoria Crowned Pigeon, Peaceful Dove, Crested Pigeon,
Pink-necked Green Pigeon
 
  Order Columbiformes - Pigeons and Doves
Wiki     ToL     EoL
EXAMPLE
  The Order Columbiformes includes two families of birds - one including the extinct Dodo and Rodrigues Solitaire - and the second covering a widespread and diverse assemblage of pigeons and doves.
   DNA hybridization evidence indicates that columbids are a monophyletic group with a fairly high degree of adaptive diversity within the order. Their nearest relatives are uncertain. Parrots, galliforms, and shorebirds have been proposed as their closest kin. Osteology and DNA sequence analyses suggest that the didines are better placed as a subfamily in the Columbidae.
 
  Family Raphidae - Didines
Wiki     ToL     EoL
  2 species, 2 genera (Raphus, Pezophaps). Mascarene Islands, Indian Ocean.
   The (sub)family includes the Dodo, Raphus cucullatus, which lived on Mauritius, and the Rodrigues Solitaire, Pezophaps solitaria,  which was found on Rodriguez.
   Both were large, flightless birds that were slaughtered by humans and introduced mammals. There are records of ships filling their holds with these birds and their eggs. Both were extinct by mid-to-late 17th century.
   This group belongs to an Indo-Australian radiation of pigeons and could be considered a subfamily of the Columbidae. This line includes the Goura crowned pigeons, the Pheasant Pigeons, Ducula and Ptilinopus, and the Nicobar Pigeon.
   A third extinct species, the Reunion Sacred Ibis, Threskiornis solitarius, has been attributed to this group, as the "Reunion Solitaire." It is now known to be an Ibis.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Wiki
 
  Family Columbidae - Pigeons and Doves
Wiki     ToL     EoL
EXAMPLE
    There are 310 species in 40 genera (Sibley and Monroe, 1990). Clements (2007) lists 308 species and Dickinson (2003) and Harris (2009) list 308 species in 42 genera. Worldwide except Antarctica and higher latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. Island endemics have a tendency to become flightless.

    Traditionally, there are five subfamilies of pigeons and doves -
      Subfamily Treroninae - Fruit Pigeons (Old World Tropics)    Wiki
      Subfamily Columbinae - Pigeons and Doves (Worldwide in tropics and temperate zones)
      Subfamily Gourinae - Crowned Pigeons (New Guinea)    Wiki
      Subfamily Didunculinae - Pheasant Pigeon    Wiki
      Subfamily Didunculinae
- Tooth-billed Pigeons (Samoan Islands)     Wiki

However, recent studies suggest that this division may be inaccurate. The following grouping comes from Wiki (NN = no name):
   Seed-eating columbids -
      Subfamily Columbinae - Typical Pigeons and Doves (Columba, Streptopelia, etc.)
   Fruit-eating columbids -
      Subfamily NN - Bronzewings (Turtur, Geophaps, Geopelia, etc.)
      Subfamily Leptotilinae - Zenaidine and Quail-doves (Zenaida, Leptotila, Geotrygon, etc.)
      Subfamily Columbininae - African Ground Doves (Columbina, etc.)
      Subfamily NN  Indopacific Ground Doves (Gallicolumba, Trugon)
      Subfamily Otidiphabinae - Pheasant Pigeon (Otidiphaps nobilis)
      Subfamily Didunculinae - Tooth-billed Pigeon (Didunculus strigirostris)
      Subfamily Gourinae = Crowned Pigeons (Goura)
      Subfamily NN (Treroninae) - Green and Fruit-doves and Imperial Pigeons (Ducula, Ptilinopus, etc.)
      Subfamily Raphinae - Didines (above)
      Incertae sedis - Nicobar Pigeon (Caloenas), Green Pigeons (Treron), Brown Doves (Phapitreron),
         Wonga Pigeon, Leucosarcia melanoleuca, several extinct species.

   Pigeons and doves occur on all continents and many islands. [Typically the name "dove" is used for smaller species, "pigeon" for larger birds. However, there is no consistency in this and the names are essentially interchangeable.]
   Columbids are land birds. The Family Columbidae includes a diverse group of small sized (ground doves, Columbina - 22 g) to large (imperial-pigeons - 1 kg, 2.2 lbs) birds. Pigeons and doves have stout bodies, a small head, short neck, short bill, short legs, well-developed wings and a furculum. They are full-breasted and are rapid fliers - they have low wing loadings and strong wing muscles constituting 31-44% of their body weight (making them prized game bird s- the Mourning Dove is the most hunted animal in North America). Some make a characteristic noise when taking off (our Mourning Doves' wings make such sounds). The eye is often surrounded by colored bare skin. They bob their heads while walking. Sexual dimorphism is rare (males are slightly larger than females in some species - see the Galapagos Dove). Their plumage shows wide variation, ranging from dull and cryptic to bold with rainbow colors. Granivorous species tend to be dull. Fruit doves and green pigeons are green with yellow, gray, bronze and purple mixed in. Some fruit doves have crimson on the head, breast, mantle or coverts. Several imperial pigeons (Ducula) have metallic-green dorsal parts. One species is pied (black and white). The crowned pigeons (Goura) have a fan of head plumes. The Nicoar Pigeon, Caloenas nicobaria, has purplish hackles extending from nape to breast.
   Pigeons and Doves are often gregarious but some ar solitary and shy. Most are seen in pairs and small flocks. Some feed on fruit (fruit doves, Ptilinopus, and green pigeons, Treron. Others feed primarily on seeds (the columbine pigeons). Seeds are swallowed whole and are "cracked" in the gizzard. All or most ingest grit, salty earth, and molluskan shell fragments to serve in the gastric mill of the gizzard (ventriculus) to grind hard seeds. The grit also provides minerals. Seed-eating pigeons tend to have thick-walled gizzards; fruit-eating pigeons have thinner-walled gizzards. They are more arboreal and are able to hang upside down to get fruit. Seed-eating pigeons are more terrestrial and typically feed on the ground.
   Pigeons are found in a variety of habitats ranging from forests, edges, scrub, mountain slopes, and urban areas - many thriving in large cities. The Rock Pigeon (Dove), Columba livia, an Old World dove, and other species (ringed doves, Streptopelia, etc.) have been widely introduced around the world.
   Most also eat small invertebrates and, rarely, small vertebrates. The New World quail doves, Geotrygon, eat more invertebrates than fruit or seeds. Fledglings may also be fed larger amounts of live food. Some species (woodpigeons) congregate in large flocks and are considered agricultural pests. They have a well-developed crop that produces food for their young.
   Most columbiform birds (except the Tooth-billed Pigeon, Didunculus strigirostris) drink by sucking or pumping water - they are able to produce a vacuum within the buccal cavity by functionally separating the mouth from the nasal cavities. Other birds take a bill-full of water and tip their head upwards to swallow - their palate is vaulted so they cannot develop negative pressure in their mouth. Watch a dove drink. They insert their bill and pump water from the source directly without lifting their head - you may be able to see the pulsations in their neck as they drink. It is like drinking from a straw. However, the Tooth-billed Pigeon and all other birds must take a mouthful of water then tip the head to allow it to run down the throat. (Mammals also drink by sucking - a necessary adaptation of the palate for young to nurse.)
   Pigeons and doves have characteristic repetitive "cooing" calls. Most also have social contact notes used to maintain group cohesion or signal aggression. Some have odd sounds - quacking, chattering, froglike-calls, or "bongo-drum" like notes.
   Many doves are sedentary. Others are nomadic. Some perform altitudinal migrations. Our Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura, is resident on Seabrook but northern populations may fly up to 2,500 miles to winter in Central America. The European Turtle Dove, Streptopelia turtor, migrates along a broad front with millions moving south along a 100 km line in Iraq in the fall. The extinct Passenger Pigeon, Ectopistes migratorius, formed migratory/nomadic flocks of millions in the 18th and 19th centuries.
   Technically, the bill of columbids is small and slender and it is often constricted in the middle. The slit-like nostrils are schizorhinal and impervious, usually covered by an operculum (a fleshy cere). The palate is schizognathous. Their pelvic muscle formula is A(B)XY+. The syrinx has asymmetrical extrinsic muscles. Intestinal cacae are small and non-functional. There are two carotid arteries. Flexor tendons are Type 1. Tarsi are covered laterally and behind with hexagonal scales. The hallux is incumbent (level with the other toes). Columbids have dense plumage which is easily detached (their plumage is thick and feathers are set loosely in the skin). They are diastaxic and have 11 primaries with the outer reduced, 12-20 secondaries, and 12-20 tail feathers. The aftershaft is reduced or absent. The oil gland is naked or absent.
    Most columbids are monogamous - some may mate for life. Males perform display flights with gliding dives, wing-clapping, and loud calls. Nest sites are variable and diverse - they include tree branches and hollows, low vegetation, cliffs and buildings, and the ground. They build a simple, shallow, flimsy nest of twigs, stems, and other plant parts. Species that nest on the ground usually build a nest but may lay on the bare substrate. The female does most of the building, the male brings materials. Most species lay 1-2 eggs (usually white, rarely buffy). Both sexes incubate 14-18 (11-30) days . Their nidicolus hatchlings are blind but have a sparse down and grow more rapidly than the young of other birds. The young of seed-eating species are fed "pigeon milk" produced from the epithelial lining in bi-lobed crop in both sexes and used to feed their young for 10 days or so. Older young stick their bills into the parent's throat to feed on semi-digested regurgitated grain and fruits. Fruit-eating species may feed "pigeon milk" up to 40 days. [Interestingly, the same hormones are involved in the production of "crop milk" as in the production of mammalian milk.] Young grow rapidly and squabs of smaller species can fly when 2 weeks old (22 days or more in some larger frugivorous species). Fledglings are fed until they can forage by themselves. Many nest repeatedly, raising several broods/season. Young of larger species develop more slowly. Most species reach maturity at one year of age; some species of Zenaida and Columbina breed when only 3 months old. 
   
Eurasian Collared Dove
Eurasian Collared-Dove,
Streptopelia decaocto.
Equestrian pastures
                           SI Web
 

   
  Banner - Peaceful Dove. Bird World. Kuranda, Australia.