Wild Pigeons & Doves

Frank Mosca

Columbidae: Columba picazuro

    Copyright by Smithsonian Institution 1997 - Photographer, Brian Schmidt

(Picazuro Pigeon) Argentina.  Photo by B. K. Schmidt

Copyrighted by the Smithsonian Institution, all rights reserved.   Used by permission

Photo linked to the Smithsonian where I found it.

    One thing I would always like visitors to this site to keep in mind is that the common pigeon or rock dove of Eurasia is merely one species among many in the Columbiformes, the order of pigeons and doves.  That one species has been molded by man into literally hundreds of forms and colors.  However, there ARE other naturally occurring species around the world that are also extremely beautiful -- many in fact are found in colors that are nothing like the domestics.  I'm talking about brilliant greens, emeralds, red, scarlet, lavenders, and some species also have iridescent feathers all over their body and not simply on the neck area as do the common and domestic birds.  Many wild species show extreme sexual dimorphism, i.e., male and female are very different in color and/or pattern. 

    Wild species of  pigeons/doves range in size from some of the ground pigeons smaller than some sparrows to the giant Victoria Crowned Pigeons that are almost the size of small turkeys.   If any of you have good, clear shots of wild species that I can use, I'd appreciate receiving them.  However, while I want to add a few, I don't want to reinvent the wheel.  That's why I have links to some great sites below with some fine photos.  I, personally, find the International Dove Society pages especially interesting. 

    Thanks to biologist and photographer, Brian Schmidt, and to Craig Ludwig, webmaster of the the Smithsonian Institution's page, I've been granted permission to show you the Picazuro Pigeon, Columba picazuro, native of Argentina.  According to another article I've read, it is also becoming common in Brazil. 

    Below is a picture of a male Jambu Fruit Dove, Ptilinopus jambu, at the Honolulu Zoo, which granted me permission to use the shot.  The Jambu is native to Sumatra, Java, Thailand and Malaya.  It inhabits mangrove swamps and rainforests.  This is one species that has very pronounced sexual dimorphism.  You can see photos of the female and juvenile at the International Dove Society link below.  Photos like this make it much easier to understand the biological relationships between pigeons and doves and parrots.  The photo is  linked to the Honolulu Zoo site.

Copyright by The Honolulu Zoo. All Rights reserved. Used by permission.

Jambu Fruit Dove - male, Ptilinopus jambu

Copyright by Honolulu Zoo, all rights reserved.  Used by permission.

Pigeons and Doves of the World  nice photos International Dove Society -  great photos
The Honolulu Zoo Smithsonian Museum of Nat. History (Birds)

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Page text copyright by Frank Mosca 2003