Pigeons, Doves (Family Columbidae)

 

Pigeons and doves constitute the bird Family Columbidae within the Order Columbiformes, which include some 300 species of near passerines. In
general parlance the 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. The species commonly referred to just as "pigeon"
is the feral rock pigeon, common in many cities.

 

Pigeons and doves exhibit considerable variations in size. The largest
species are the crowned pigeons of New Guinea, which are nearly turkey
size, at a weight of 2-4 kilograms (4.4-8.8 lbs.) The smallest are the New
World ground-doves of the Genus Columbina, which are the same size as
a house sparrow and weigh as little as 22 grams. With a total length of
more than 50 centimeters (19 in) and weight of almost a kilo (2 lb), the
largest arboreal species is the Marquesan imperial pigeon, while the
dwarf fruit dove, which may measure as little as 13 centimeters (5.1 in),
has a marginally smaller total length than any other species from this
family. Smaller species tend to be known as doves, while larger species
as pigeons, but there is no taxonomic basis for distinguishing between
the two.

 

 

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