passenger pigeon

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passenger pigeon:

see pigeonpigeon,
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.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Passenger Pigeon

 

(Ectopistes migratorius), an extinct bird of the family Columbidae. The passenger pigeon was about 30 cm long. The head and rump were grayish blue, the back dull brown, and the breast reddish fawn. Until the 1890’s the species was common in the hardwood forests of eastern North America from southern Canada to North Carolina; it wintered in the southern USA. Ruthless destruction of the enormous migrating flocks resulted in the total extinction of the passenger pigeon. The last mass nesting was in 1883, the last bird in the wild was observed in 1899, and the last living specimen died at the zoological garden in Cincinnati on Sept. 1,1914.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

passenger pigeon

hunted to extinction by 1914; vast numbers once darkened American skies during migratory flights. [Ecology: EB, VII: 786]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius [=Columba migratoria]) covered the skies of the eastern United States--those of Kentucky, for example--with its migrations, even as late as the nineteenth century.
The Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) numbered over three billion birds when Europeans arrived on North American shores, and contributed 25-40% of the biomass of the entire avian community of North America (Schorger 1955).
Ectopistes migratorius was finally slain by Victorian knives and forks.
The classic example of extinction due to human ignorance of animal behavior concerns the Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius).
The birds were strong fliers, and it was precisely because they flew such long distances that they were named passenger pigeons, or Ectopistes migratorius by scientists.