Columba livia

Status: Least Concern

Range & Habitat
Rock doves are found in almost all terrestrial habitats from temperate areas. Originally from Europe, North Africa and western Asia. They can now be found in cities across the world.

Physical Description
Pigeons and doves are stocky birds that range from 15 to 75 cm long and weigh from 30 to over 2000g. The smaller species are often called doves and the larger species pigeons, but these names do not necessarily reflect true differences and are often used interchangeably. Also, they are divided in to seed-eating and fruit-eating species. Many of the seed-eating pigoes are buff, grey and brown colors while the fruit-eaters are often more brightly colored. Typical pigeons are usually grey, brown and/or pink. Fruit-eating pigeons are more colorful with oranges and greens. Many doves and pigeons have ornamentation (such as crests and colorful eye rings) and iridescent feathers on the neck, breast, back, wings and face.

Reproduction
Pigeons and doves are monogamous, and many have the same mate from year to year. They have numerous displays that are performed either on the ground or in the air. For example, while on the ground, males of some species squat, lift their tail, lower their head, twitch their wings and scratch the ground with their feet while calling. Some species have aerial displays that usually involve wing claps.Breeding is triggered by food availability and photoperiod and can be seasonal or year-round, depending on the species. Both males and females incubate, but females usually spend more time incubating than males. Nestling pigeons and doves grow rapidly because of the crop-milk. Chicks fledge in 10 to 36 days (earlier if disturbed) and may continue to receive food from their parents for 30 to 40 days.

Diet: Herbivore
In the Wild: Pigeons and doves can be seen feeding in flocks. They are primarily grainivorous and frugivorous, but occasionally they eat insects, snails, worms, lizards, leaves, buds and flowers. Seeds are picked up off the ground and eaten whole and fruits are plucked from trees. Grainivorous species have specialized gizzards, intestines and esophagi that help them eat and digest seeds. In the Zoo: seed mixture.

Behavior
Pigeons and doves can be solitary to very social and can be found in flocks of several thousand.Pigeons and doves are known for their navigation abilities and have been used by humans as messengers. Some species are sedentary, and others are migratory. Some are nomadic and move as their food supply changes, and some make altitudinal movements as seasons change.

Sources:
BirdLife International 2009. Callonetta leucophrys. In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. 2009, December. IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2009, December Camfield, A. 2004. "Columbidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed June 19, 2010.



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