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Columba Livia - Male Rock Pigeon | Gilgo-Oak Beach-Captree, New York

© Sophie W. Smith

Joined October 2012

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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Columbiformes
Family: Columbidae
Genus: Columba
Species: C. livia
Binomial name
Columba livia

The rock dove or rock pigeon (Columba livia) is a member of the bird family Columbidae (doves and pigeons). In common usage, this bird is often simply referred to as the “pigeon”.

The species includes the domestic pigeon, including the fancy pigeon. Escaped domestic pigeons have given rise to populations of feral pigeons around the world.

Wild rock doves are pale grey with two black bars on each wing, while domestic and feral pigeons are very variable in colour and pattern. There are few visible differences between males and females. The species is generally monogamous, with two squabs (young) per brood. Both parents care for the young for a time.

Habitats include various open and semi-open environments. Cliffs and rock ledges are used for roosting and breeding in the wild. Originally found wild in Europe, North Africa, and western Asia, pigeons have become established in cities around the world. The species is abundant, with an estimated population of 17 to 28 million feral and wild birds in Europe. Read more

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