Information about: Pigeon

Index | Pigeon

Note: Information is dated. Do not rely on it.

Pigeon. The common name of a group of birds, forming the order Columbae. The pigeons or doves as a group have the upper mandible arched toward its apex, and of horny consistence; a second curve exists at its base, where there is a cartilaginous plate or piece through which the nostrils pass. The crop is of large size. The pigeons are generally strong on the wing. They are mostly arboreal in habit, perching upon trees, and building their nests in elevated situations. Both sexes incubate. These birds generally pair for life, the loss or death of a mate being in many cases apparently mourned and grieved over, and the survivor frequently refusing to be consoled by another mate. The song consists of the well-known plaintive cooing. The pigeons are distributed in every quarter of the globe, but attain the greatest luxuriance of plumage in warm and tropical regions. The pigeon family is divided into various groups. The true pigeons are represented by the stockdove, from which, it was once supposed, most of the beautiful varieties of the Columbae, which in a state of domestication are dependent upon man, derived their origin; but it is now believed the rock dove is the parent stock. The wild pigeon was at one time very abundant in North America, but is now believed to be extinct. The house pigeons, tumblers, fantails, pouters, carriers, and jacobins are the chief varieties of the rock pigeon, and have been employed by Darwin to illustrate many of the points involved in his theory of "descent by natural selection". Other species of pigeons are the fruit pigeons of India, the Eastern Archipelago, and Australia, and the ground pigeons, the largest of the group, including the crowned pigeon of the Eastern Archipelago.