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Pigeons and Doves

Biology Of Pigeons And Doves, Pigeons Of North America, The Domestic Pigeon, The Passenger Pigeon

Pigeons and doves include about 300 species of birds in the family Columbidae. Most species are found in forests of various types, with fewer species occurring in more open habitats. By far the greatest richness of species of pigeons and doves occurs in moist tropical and sub-tropical forests. Many tropical oceanic islands have endemic species of pigeons and doves that evolved in isolation. Many of these local (or endemic) species have become endangered by habitat loss or predation by introduced mammals (such as cats and rats), and some are already extinct.

Larger birds in this family are usually called pigeons, while the smaller ones are called doves. Other than this vague criterion, there is no substantial difference between pigeons and doves.

Birds in this family are distinguished by their relatively small head, short neck, a soft but dense plumage, and a naked, fleshy tissue (known as a cere) at the top of the upper mandible. Pigeons typically have "cooing" calls, which are used in courtship and in some respects are equivalent to the songs of other birds. The plumage of many species of pigeons is a subdued grey, brown, and white, and is often tinged with iridescence. However, some tropical species have very bright and spectacularly colored plumage.

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