• [citation needed] This ambiguity, probably caused by long branch attraction, seems to confirm the first pigeons evolved in the Australasian region, and that the “Treronidae”
    and allied forms (crowned and pheasant pigeons, for example) represent the earliest radiation of the group.

  • [68] The arrival of people, along with a suite of other introduced species such as rats, pigs, and cats, quickly spelled the end for this species and all the other island
    forms that have become extinct.

  • [70] In some areas, a lack of knowledge means the true status of a species is unknown; the Negros fruit dove has not been seen since 1953,[71] and may or may not be extinct,
    and the Polynesian ground dove is classified as critically endangered, as whether it survives or not on remote islands in the far west of the Pacific Ocean is unknown.

  • In modern times, it is the only pigeon species that was not an island species to have become extinct[65] even though it was once the most numerous species of bird on Earth.

  • [19][20][21] These species are in all likelihood part of the Indo-Australian radiation that produced the three small subfamilies mentioned above,[22] with the fruit doves
    and pigeons (including the Nicobar pigeon).

  • In Europe, the wood pigeon is commonly shot as a game bird,[98] while rock pigeons were originally domesticated as a food species, and many breeds were developed for their
    meat-bearing qualities.

  • [2] In English, the smaller species tend to be called “doves” and the larger ones “pigeons”.

  • [59] The species is not the only pigeon to have increased its range due to the actions of man; several other species have become established outside of their natural range
    after escaping captivity, and other species have increased their natural ranges due to habitat changes caused by human activity.

  • [64] Status and conservation While many species of pigeons and doves have benefited from human activities and have increased their ranges, many other species have declined
    in numbers and some have become threatened or even succumbed to extinction.

  • [15] For example, the American ground and quail doves (Geotrygon), which are usually placed in the Columbinae, seem to be two distinct subfamilies.

  • [65] Among the ten species to have become extinct since 1600 (the conventional date for estimating modern extinctions) are two of the most famous extinct species, the dodo
    and the passenger pigeon.

  • [67] Although habitat loss was a contributing factor, the species is thought to have been massively over-hunted, being used as food for slaves and, later, the poor, in the
    United States throughout the 19th century.

  • [59] The range of the species increased dramatically upon domestication, as the species went feral in cities around the world.

  • [66] The decline of the species was abrupt; in 1871, a breeding colony was estimated to contain over a hundred million birds, yet the last individual in the species was dead
    by 1914.

  • [96] As food Several species of pigeons and doves are used as food; however, all types are edible.

  • Historically, the common names for these birds involve a great deal of variation among the terms.

  • [16] A 2020 study found that the East Coast of the U.S. includes two pigeon genetic megacities, in New York and Boston, and the birds do not mix together.

  • [16][62] In addition to fruit and seeds, a number of other food items are taken by many species.

  • Domesticated rock pigeons are also bred as carrier pigeons,[46] used for thousands of years to carry brief written messages,[81] and release doves used in ceremonies.

  • [26] Fragmentary remains of a probably “ptilinopine” Early Miocene pigeon were found in the Bannockburn Formation of New Zealand and described as Rupephaps;[26] “Columbina”
    prattae from roughly contemporary deposits of Florida is nowadays tentatively separated in Arenicolumba, but its distinction from Columbina/Scardafella and related genera needs to be more firmly established (e.g.

  • Like many species that colonise remote islands with few predators, it lost much of its predator avoidance behaviour, along with its ability to fly.

  • [16] The dwarf fruit dove, which may measure as little as 13 cm (5.1 in), has a marginally smaller total length than any other species from this family.

  • [37] In general, the aftershaft is absent; however, small ones on some tail and wing feathers may be present.

  • [citation needed] The genus Gerandia has been described from Early Miocene deposits in France, but while it was long believed to be a pigeon,[25] it is now considered a sandgrouse.

  • [50] The extinction of the passenger pigeon in North America was at least partly due to shooting for use as food.

  • [citation needed] Its former numbers are difficult to estimate, but one ornithologist, Alexander Wilson, estimated one flock he observed contained over two billion birds.

  • 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.

  • [56] Some continental species also have tiny distributions; for example, the black-banded fruit dove is restricted to a small area of the Arnhem Land of Australia,[57] the
    Somali pigeon is restricted to a tiny area of northern Somalia,[58] and Moreno’s ground dove is restricted to the area around Salta and Tucuman in northern Argentina.

  • [97] Domesticated or hunted pigeons have been used as the source of food since the times of the Ancient Middle East, Ancient Rome, and Medieval Europe.

  • Unfledged baby doves and pigeons are called squabs and are generally able to fly by 5 weeks of age.

  • They lay one or (usually) two white eggs at a time, and both parents care for the young, which leave the nest after 25–32 days.

  • [29] In addition, fruit-eating species have short intestines whereas those that eat seeds have longer ones.

  • [37] In a series of experiments in 1975 by Dr. Mark B. Friedman, using doves, their characteristic head bobbing was shown to be due to their natural desire to keep their vision

  • Seven days later, he sent it again and it came back with an olive branch in her mouth, indicating the waters had receded enough for an olive tree to grow.

  • [68] In some cases, they may be extinct in the wild, as is the Socorro dove of Socorro Island, Mexico, last seen in the wild in 1972, driven to extinction by habitat loss
    and introduced feral cats.

  • [83] A variant called the zurito, bred for its speed, may be used in live pigeon shooting.

  • [62] The granivorous species typically feed on seed found on the ground, whereas the frugivorous species tend to feed in trees.

  • [72] Various conservation techniques are employed to prevent these extinctions, including laws and regulations to control hunting pressure, the establishment of protected
    areas to prevent further habitat loss, the establishment of captive populations for reintroduction back into the wild (ex situ conservation), and the translocation of individuals to suitable habitats to create additional populations.

  • [16] One of the largest arboreal species, the Marquesan imperial pigeon, currently battles extinction.

  • [42] Possibly serving as a predator avoidance mechanism,[43] large numbers of feathers fall out in the attacker’s mouth if the bird is snatched, facilitating the bird’s escape.

  • [24] No truly primitive forms have been found to date.

  • [68] Around 59 species of pigeons and doves are threatened with extinction today, about 19% of all species.

  • [96] A pair of pigeons had built a nest and laid eggs at once, and a spider had woven cobwebs, which in the darkness of the night made the fugitives believe that Muhammad
    could not be in that cave.

  • [80] Other popular breeds are tumbling pigeons such as the Birmingham roller, and fancy varieties that are bred for certain physical characteristics such as large feathers
    on the feet or fan-shaped tails.

  • The sandgrouse (Pteroclidae) were formerly placed here, but were moved to a separate order, Pterocliformes, based on anatomical differences (such as the inability to drink
    by “sucking” or “pumping”).

  • The bird most commonly referred to as just “pigeon” is the domestic pigeon, which is common in many cities as the feral pigeon.

  • Some, particularly the ground doves and quail-doves, eat a large number of prey items such as insects and worms.

  • [16] The largest range of any species is that of the rock dove.

  • [29][61] In fact, the family can be divided into the seed-eating or granivorous species (subfamily Columbinae) and the fruit-and-mast-eating or frugivorous species (the other
    four subfamilies).

  • [46] Flight Animation of flying pigeons Columbidae are excellent fliers due to the lift provided by their large wings, which results in low wing loading;[47] They are highly
    maneuverable in flight[48] and have a low aspect ratio due to the width of their wings, allowing for quick flight launches and ability to escape from predators, but at a high energy cost.

  • All of the species are threatened by introduced predators, habitat loss, hunting, or a combination of these factors.

  • [50] Some species have large natural ranges.

  • The family has adapted to most of the habitats available on the planet.


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Photo credit:’]