Bird Families

Brown Pigeon / Columba eversmanni


Pigeons, or real pigeons (lat.Columba) - a genus of birds of the pigeon family.


The genus includes 35 species:

  • White-headed Pigeon - Columba albinucha
  • Ethiopian Pigeon - Columba albitorques
  • Silver pigeon - Columba argentina
  • Olive Dove - Columba arquatrix
  • Canary pigeon - Columba bollii
  • Wine Red Pigeon - Columba delegorguei
  • Nilgiri pigeon - Columba elphinstonii
  • Brown Pigeon - Columba eversmanni
  • Speckled Pigeon - Columba guinea
  • Himalayan Pigeon - Columba hodgsonii
  • Columba iriditorques
  • Black dove - Columba janthina
  • † Silver-striped pigeon - Columba jouyi
  • Bay Pigeon - Columba junoniae
  • Lemon Turtle Dove - Columba larvata (Aplopelia larvata)
  • Black and White Pigeon - Columba leucomela
  • White-breasted Dove - Columba leuconota
  • Rock Pigeon - Columba livia
  • Santomei Pigeon - Columba malherbii
  • Clintuh - Columba oenas
  • Somali Pigeon - Columba oliviae
  • Yellow-footed pigeon - Columba pallidiceps
  • Andaman Dove - Columba palumboides
  • Wood pigeon, or vituten - Columba palumbus
  • Comoros pigeon - Columba pollenii
  • Ash Dove - Columba pulchricollis
  • Purple Dove - Columba punicea
  • Rock Pigeon - Columba rupestris
  • Columba sjostedti
  • Columba thomensis
  • Ceylon Dove - Columba torringtonii
  • Madeira Pigeon - Columba trocaz
  • Congolese pigeon - Columba unicincta
  • † Bonin Dove - Columba versicolor
  • White-chinned Pigeon - Columba vitiensis

Lemon turtledove is sometimes isolated into the genus Aplopelia.

To the genus Columba previously included species of the genus Patagioenascommon on the American continent.

Extinct endemic to Reunion Columba duboisi (English) may have belonged to the genus Turtle Doves.

External signs

Most pigeons are of medium size. The beak is usually relatively thin, thickened at the end. The nostrils are narrow, slit-like, in most species they open in the wax. The border of the forehead plumage protrudes forward. The head is small. The neck is short, thin at the head and strongly widening (large goiter) at the chest. The body is short and wide, with a strongly developed chest. The wings are usually long and sharp, with apex formed by the second or third flight (less often the third or fourth). The tail is often shorter than the wing, sometimes as long as the wing, slightly or significantly rounded. The tarsus is short, naked or only slightly feathered at the intermetatarsal joint, the tarsus is covered with scutes in front, and reticulated at the back and sides (in crowned pigeons, reticulated on all sides). The toes are long, with short but strong claws. The back (first) toe is well developed and level with the front toes. The plumage is dense, relatively hard and dense. The color is varied, sometimes very bright. Age-related changes are not difficult.

Chicks hatch blind, covered with sparse hair-like down. The downy outfit is replaced by juvenile plumage, which in the very first autumn or winter is replaced as a result of complete molting with the final outfit. The juvenile plumage differs slightly from the final one: it is duller and without metallic sheen. Sexual dimorphism is mostly expressed in the size of males larger than females. In some species, the male is colored brighter. Primary flywheels are 10 or 11, steering ones are usually 12-14, less often 1618 and even 20.


All species are strictly diurnal. Most sedentary birds, only a few migrate in temperate latitudes. Pigeons are mainly associated with forest habitats, a smaller number of species live in rocks, cliffs, and human structures. Food is usually collected on the ground. In this regard, pigeons walk well (but run badly). They take off freely, without a run, flapping their wings strongly. The flight is light, strong and fast, with frequent flaps of the wings. If necessary, pigeons can make quick and sharp turns on the fly and are capable of significant flight acceleration. Most species nest in groups and even in nesting time they fly to feed in flocks. In non-nesting time, they form flocks, sometimes of enormous sizes.


The food in the vast majority of cases is vegetable, most often the seeds of various herbaceous plants. Some species of pigeons specialized in fruit feeding. Animal food small invertebrates serve as a minor addition to plant food. Pigeons cannot do without water and sometimes fly to watering places for long distances. When drinking, immerse the beak almost to the nostrils in water and draw it in, without raising the head when sipping, as chicken do.

Nests are built from a small number of dry twigs, blades of grass or roots, with a shallow and flat tray, usually without any lining. Eggs are often visible through the bottom of the nest. Nests are located most often in trees, less often in hollows, on rocks or in buildings, even less often right on the ground. The number of eggs in a clutch is usually two, in some species three, or one. The shell is white. During the year, there are usually two or more clutches, even migratory species nest twice, and sedentary species sometimes nest 45 times. Embryonic development is rapid from 14 to 30 days (in different species).

Chicks develop chick type. In species of medium size, they fly out of the nests at the age of about a month. To a certain extent, the duration of postembryonic development depends on the characteristics of nesting: for example, in the openly nesting wood pigeon, the chicks leave the nest at the age of about 20 days, and in the nesting in the hollows, somewhat smaller in size, at the age of 25 days.


Pigeons are now distributed almost all over the world, with the exception of the polar countries of the Arctic and Antarctic


Man tamed the wild rock dove over 5000 years ago. Since then, pigeon breeders have bred more than 800 breeds of domestic pigeons, different in color, body shape and purpose. There are about 200 breeds of domestic pigeons in Russia.

Pigeon mail has long been one of the main methods of postal communication.

The most numerous group is decorative pigeons. Breeders have achieved an amazing variety of body proportions and colors of pigeons. Their color varies from pure white to black, reddish-red, piebald in a wide variety of varieties. The paws can be feathered up to the toes and carry long "hairs", the goiter is capable of swelling in the form of a ball (puffs), the beak varies from long to very tiny, the tail has a different number of feathers and is of different lengths. Some decorative breeds are famous for their beautiful acrobatic figures during flight (tormans), others for their unusual voice (laughing).

The original decorative breeds are Jacobins with a plumage of the head in the form of a wig, peacock pigeons, whose tail resembles a peacock's tail in a loose state, curly pigeons with corkscrew-shaped feathers. The group of "short-billed gulls" has many varieties. Gulls were brought to Russia from the middle of the 19th century, but during the Second World War, almost all birds disappeared, including the Moscow Ivory Gulls bred in our country, which were later restored, but still rare. Quarries, Indians, Bagdets, and Dragons are varied in size and body shape. They belong to the representatives of the group of breeds of warty pigeons, which are practically not represented in domestic pigeon breeding. They have a warty wax, on the eyelids and under the beak there are skin growths. Many have quite satisfactory flying qualities.

The museum exhibits some of the decorative breeds - peacock pigeon, red Jacobin, or capuchin, Rzhev gull, pure watery kosmach, English dragon pigeon, or quarry.