(noun) The scientific family of birds that includes all pigeons and doves, a total of roughly 310 separate species. These birds are found worldwide but are absent from the harshest, driest deserts, the severe northern Arctic tundra and Antarctica. Otherwise, they are found in a wide range of habitats, from tropical jungles to grasslands to urban and suburban areas.
While there is wide variation among Columbidae birds in terms of color, size and markings, all of these birds share general characteristics, including:
- Stout round body with a short neck and round head
- Delicate, short bill with a fleshy cere
- Both genders produce crop milk to nourish offspring
- Generally granivorous or frugivorous diets
- Drink by sucking rather than scooping water into the bill
Doves and pigeons are often hunted as game birds, and their large breast muscles are tempting for food. Many species of Columbidae birds have also been domesticated as carrier pigeons, pets and wedding doves.
Familiar birds in the Columbidae family include the Caribbean dove, mourning dove, Nicobar pigeon, zebra dove, common bronzewing, diamond dove, Victoria crowned pigeon, wood pigeon and Eurasian collared-dove.
Photo – Rock Pigeon © UggBoy♥UggGirl
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