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common name for members of the large family Columbidae, land birds, cosmopolitan in temperate and tropical regions, characterized by stout bodies, short necks, small heads, and thick, heavy plumage. The names dove and pigeon are used interchangeably, though the former generally refers to smaller members of the family.

All pigeons have soft swellings (ceres) at the base of the nostrils, feed their young with "pigeon's milk" regurgitated from the crops of the parents, and have specialized bills through which they can suck up water steadily, unlike other birds. They eat chiefly fruits and seeds. From ancient times, pigeons—especially homing pigeons, which are also used as racing birds—have been used for carrying messages. Although electronics has largely replaced them as messengers, they are still of experimental importance. It is thought that they may navigate by the sun. Monogamous and amorous, pigeons are known for their soft cooing calls.

The most common American wild pigeon is the small, gray-brown mourning dove Zenaidura macroura (sometimes called turtledove), similar to the once abundant passenger pigeon, which was slaughtered indiscriminately and became extinct in 1914. Other wild American species are the band-tailed, red-billed, and white-crowned pigeons, all of the genus Columba, and the reddish brown ground-doves (genus Columbina). The Australasian region has two thirds of the 289 species of pigeons, of which the fruit pigeons are the most colorful and the gouras, or crowned pigeons, the largest (to 33 in./84 cm). In Europe the turtledove, rock pigeon or dove, stock dove, and ringdove or wood pigeon are common. The rock dove, Columba livia, of temperate Europe and W Asia is the wild progenitor of the common street and domestic pigeons. Domesticated varieties developed by selective breeding include the fantail, with numerous erectile tail feathers; the Jacobin, with a hoodlike ruff; the tumbler, which turns backward somersaults in flight; the pouter, with an enormous crop; and the quarrelsome carrier, with rosettelike eyes and nose wattles.

Many species are valued as game birds; their close relationship to the Gallinae (e.g., pheasants and turkeys) is illustrated by the sand grouse, an Old World pigeon named for its resemblance to the grouse. In religion and art the dove symbolizes peace and gentleness, and in Greek mythology it was sacred to Aphrodite. The long-extinct dodododo,
a flightless forest-dwelling bird of Mauritius, extinct since the late 17th cent. The dodo was closely related to the two species of solitaire bird, extinct flightless giants found on the other islands in the Mascarene Islands.
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 and solitaire birds were members of this order.

Pigeons are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Columbiformes, family Columbidae.


(vertebrate zoology)
Any of various stout-bodied birds in the family Columbidae having short legs, a bill with a horny tip, and a soft cere.


any of numerous birds of the family Columbidae, having a heavy body, small head, short legs, and long pointed wings: order Columbiformes
References in periodicals archive ?
Results of this study suggest that the Accu-Chek glucometer could be useful in predicting actual blood glucose concentrations in domestic pigeons.
Glucometer precision data for blood glucose concentrations measured 5 times in normoglycemic, hypoglycemic, and hyperglycemic domestic pigeons (n = 5 for each group).
cycles between northern goshawks and domestic pigeons and is highly pathogenic for the pigeons after they ingest low doses of sporocysts.
Goshawks are widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere, where the domestic pigeon is also common.
Six domestic pigeons were initially obtained for this study.
We used GI transit times obtained with barium sulfate suspension as a standard to compare BIPS transit times in the GI tract of domestic pigeons.
To determine the usefulness of BIPS as an alternative to barium suspension in measuring gastrointestinal (GI) transit time for avian species, ventrodorsal radiographs were used to follow the passage of BIPS and 30% barium sulfate suspension through the GI tracts of domestic pigeons (Columba livia).
Vss of deferiprone is approximately 65 times greater than the plasma volume and 5 times greater than the total body water of healthy domestic pigeons, which is slightly greater than the App.
Evaluation of the Oral Iron Chelator Deferiprone in the White Leghorn Chicken and Domestic Pigeon [dissertation].
A preliminary study that used normal domestic pigeons (Columba livia) revealed that fecal occult blood could be detected and melena was seen in the feces 8-12 hours after administration of whole avian blood by gavage tube at doses of 4 and 8 ml/kg body weight (J.
Infections in domestic pigeons are typically mixed and commonly include Eimeria columbarum and Eimeria labbeana.
Nine species of Eimeria and one of Isospora have been named in pigeons worldwide; however, only Eimeria labbeana and Eimeria columbarum are relevant for domestic pigeons (Columba livia forma domestica) (Fig 1).

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