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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 Rodrigues solitaire, extinct flightless giant found on another island in the Mascarene Islands.
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 and Rodrigues solitaire were members of the pigeon family.

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 ?
For more details about The 2017 Culver City Film Festival, please visit http://culvercityfilmfestival.
Today that building is the former home of the Culver Studios and is such an impressive looking southern style mansion that it has appeared in countless films, most notably doubling as "Tara" in the immortal, "Gone with the Wind.
As my father once said to me; it doesn't matter how many restaurants you have, it's how many good ones you have," says Culver.
Culver finds that most avant-garde artists in Japan originally had a radical political agenda and sought an ethic that went beyond the state-promoted ideal of modernity.
Culver begins his study by exploring how figures such as Charles Fletcher Lummis advocated outdoor living and painted the region as a tourist destination whose romanticized Hispanic heritage and reconstructed missions and ranchos suggested a "precapitalist Eden" offering eastern visitors relief from an emerging urban-industrial environment.
Alberto Culver executives say the decision to sell the company comes after years of hard work to make it one of the industry's most attractive suppliers.
Marino noted that after closing, Alberto Culver will become the No.
But after receiving media scrutiny over the practice, Culver has changed his policy and has begun using his state e-mail account for public business, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
A spokesman said, 'As policy renewals occur and as the automated process is phased in over the next 12 months, Culver expects this to yield a significant improvement in administrative efficiency and brokerage returns on these policies.
In the last season that the former Parkview Little League all-stars will be together, Culver is doing his best to keep his word.
We were not only employer and employee; we were more like family," said Linda Mellon, who worked for Culver for 25 years.
Authors Culver, a former Iowa congressman and senator, and Hyde, a former Des Moines Register reporter, embarked on this love-of-their-lives project a dozen years ago.