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Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) - Wiki
Subject: Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) - Wiki
Blue Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) I2 IMG 7877.jpg
Resolution: 800x600 File Size: 154612 Bytes Date: 2005:12:25 08:24:43 Camera: Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL (Canon) F number: f/5.6 Exposure: 1/250 sec Focal Length: 300/1 Upload Date: 2007:10:29 17:20:10

Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) - Wiki

Rock Pigeon
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[Photo] Blue Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. Date 25.12.05. Author J.M.Garg (
Copyright (C) 2005 J. M. Garg
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

The Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) is a member of the bird family Columbidae, doves and pigeons. The domestic pigeon is this species, and escaped domestic pigeons have given rise to the feral pigeon. In common usage, this bird is often simply referred to as the "pigeon". The species was commonly known as Rock Dove until 2004, when the British Ornithologists' Union and the American Ornithologists' Union changed the official English name of the bird in their regions to Rock Pigeon.

The Rock Pigeon has a restricted natural resident range in western and southern Europe, North Africa, and into South Asia. Its habitat is natural cliffs, usually on coasts. Its domesticated form, the feral pigeon, has been widely introduced elsewhere, and is common, especially in cities, over much of the world. In Britain, Ireland and much of its former range, the Rock Pigeon probably only occurs pure in the most remote areas. A Rock Pigeon's life span is anywhere from 3???5 years in the wild to 15 years in captivity, though longer-lived specimens have been reported.

The species was first introduced to North America in 1606 at Port Royal, Acadia (now Nova Scotia).

The Rock Pigeon is 32???37 cm long with a 64???72 cm wingspan. The white lower back of the pure Rock Pigeon is its best identification character, but the two black bars on its pale grey wings are also distinctive. The tail is margined with white. It is strong and quick on the wing, dashing out from sea caves, flying low over the water, its lighter grey rump showing well from above.

The head and neck of the mature bird are a darker blue-grey than the back and wings; the lower back is white. The green and lilac or purple patch on the side of the neck is larger than that of the Stock Dove, and the tail is more distinctly banded. These birds come in many different colours, dark grey, light blue/grey, brown, white, grey and white and more. Young birds show little lustre and are duller. Eye colour of the pigeon is generally an orange colour but a few pigeons may have white-grey eyes. The eyelids are orange in colour and are encapsulated in a grey-white eye ring. The feet are red to pink.

When circling overhead, the white underwing of the bird becomes conspicuous. In its flight, behaviour, and voice, which is more of a dovecot coo than the phrase of the Wood Pigeon, it is a typical pigeon. Although it is a relatively strong flier, it also glides frequently, holding its wings in a very pronounced V shape as it does. Though fields are visited for grain and green food, it is nowhere so plentiful as to be a pest.

A small prehistoric subspecies of the Rock Dove that lived during the last ice age in France has been described as Columba livia minuta.

The bowing courtship, when the metallic lustre of the neck is fully displayed, often takes place on ledges where Guillemots and Razorbills sit.

The nest is usually on a ledge in a cave; it is a slight structure of grass, heather, or seaweed. Like most pigeons it lays two white eggs. The eggs are incubated by both parents for about 18 days.

The nestling has pale yellow down and a flesh-coloured bill with a dark band. It is tended and fed on "crop milk" like other doves. The fledging period is 30 days.

Rock Pigeons have been domesticated for several thousand years, giving rise to the domestic pigeon (Columba livia domestica). Many domestic birds have escaped or been released over the years, and have given rise to the Feral pigeon. These show a variety of plumages, although some look very like the pure Rock Pigeons. The scarcity of the pure wild species is largely due to interbreeding with feral birds.

Return to the wild
Many domestic birds have escaped or been released over the years, and have given rise to the feral pigeon. These show a variety of plumages, although some look very like the pure Rock Pigeons. The scarcity of the pure wild species is partly due to interbreeding with feral birds.

Spread of disease
Though feral pigeons are often associated with the threat of disease, this is actually a fairly recent idea. Pigeons have been associated with a variety of diseases, including histoplasmosis and cryptococcosis.

In addition, pigeons do not spread West Nile Virus; though they can contract it, they do not appear to be able to transmit it. In fact, they are no longer monitored as an indication of the presence of the virus in the area (as crows still are). Pigeons are also at potential risk for carrying and spreading avian flu.

Certainly pigeons, like any other wild animal, carry some risk of disease. They are known, in particular, to be susceptible to salmonellosis, tuberculosis, and ornithosis (None of these have been proven to be transmitted from pigeons to humans, however). It is wise, therefore, to use precautions when handling them.

Extreme fear of pigeons is known as peristerophobia.
The text in this page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article shown in above URL. It is used under the GNU Free Documentation License. You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the GFDL.

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