Rock pigeon, Blue rock dove, Common pigeon
The Rock dove (Columba livia) is a member of the bird family Columbidae (doves and pigeons). It is often simply referred to as the "pigeon". The domestic pigeon (Columba livia domestica, which includes about 1,000 different breeds) descended from this species. Escaped domestic pigeons have increased the populations of feral pigeons around the world.
Diurnal animals are active during the daytime, with a period of sleeping or other inactivity at night. The timing of activity by an animal depends ...
An omnivore is an animal that has the ability to eat and survive on both plant and animal matter. Obtaining energy and nutrients from plant and ani...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Arboreal locomotion is the locomotion of animals in trees. In habitats in which trees are present, animals have evolved to move in them. Some anima...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
Animals with cosmopolitan distribution are those whose range extends across all or most of the world in appropriate habitats. Another aspect of cos...
Oviparous animals are female animals that lay their eggs, with little or no other embryonic development within the mother. This is the reproductive...
Gliding flight is heavier-than-air flight without the use of thrust and is employed by gliding animals. Birds in particular use gliding flight to m...
Monogamy is a form of relationship in which both the male and the female has only one partner. This pair may cohabitate in an area or territory for...
Flocking birds are those that tend to gather to forage or travel collectively. Avian flocks are typically associated with migration. Flocking also ...
Colonial animals live in large aggregations composed of two or more conspecific individuals in close association with or connected to, one another....
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
The Rock dove has a dark bluish-grey head, neck, and chest with glossy yellowish, greenish, and reddish-purple iridescence along its neck and wing feathers. The iris is orange, red, or golden with a paler inner ring, and the bare skin around the eye is bluish-grey. The bill is grey-black with a conspicuous off-white cere, and the feet are purplish-red. The adult female is almost identical in outward appearance to the male, but the iridescence on her neck is less intense and more restricted to the rear and sides, whereas that on the breast is often very obscure. The white lower back of the pure Rock dove is its best identification characteristic; the two black bars on its pale grey wings are also distinctive. The tail has a black band on the end, and the outer web of the tail feathers are 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. Young birds show little lustre and are duller. The eye color of the pigeon is generally orange, but a few pigeons may have white-grey eyes. The eyelids are orange and encapsulated in a grey-white eye ring. Their feet are red to pink.
Wild Rock doves are native to North Africa, Europe, and southwest Asia. They nest in caves, canyons, and sea cliffs. They prefer to avoid dense vegetation.
Rock doves are often found in pairs in the breeding season but are usually gregarious. They are most often seen during the daylight - especially perched on buildings or in urban parks. They seek cover during the day when it is hot, and at night. When disturbed in a group, a rock dove takes off with a noisy sound like clapping. They may bow and coo when threatening a rival, inflating their throats, and walking around in a circle. These birds feed early in the morning and during the mid-afternoon, individually or in flocks. They peck food off the ground and drink with their bill directly in water, to use it like a straw. Dove groups typically consist of producers, which locate and obtain food, and scroungers, which feed on food obtained by the producers. Rock doves generally run or walk while bobbing their heads backward and forward. Their flight is a direct and steady path. The call of these birds is a soft, slightly wavering, 'whoo, hoo-witoo-hoo' or 'coo, roo-c'too-coo'. Variations include an alarm call, a nest call, and noises made by juveniles. The alarm call, given at the sight of predators, is a grunt-like 'oorhh'. Non-vocal sounds include a loud flapping noise at take-off, feet stomping, hisses, and beak snapping. Juveniles particularly snap their bills, usually to respond to nest invasion.
Rock doves are omnivorous but prefer plant matter: chiefly fruits and grains. Feral pigeons can eat grass seeds and berries in parks and gardens in the spring, but plentiful sources exist throughout the year from scavenging (e.g., food remnants left inside of dropped fast-food cartons) and they also eat insects and spiders.
Rock doves are monogamous and pairs mate for life. Pairs may form at any time during the year. Males and females work cooperatively in most aspects of parenting. The male supplies the nesting material and the female constructs the nest, being a platform of grass and twigs. Nest sites are used again and again, with nesting material added for each subsequent brood. Rock doves typically nest communally, often forming large colonies of many hundreds of individuals. One pair may produce 5 or more broods per year. 2 eggs are laid and incubated by both parents for 16-19 days, both parents also feed 'pigeon milk to their young, a fat and protein-rich liquid that they produce in their crops. The chicks leave the nest at around 4 weeks of age.
The numbers of Rock doves are suspected to be decreasing, due to interbreeding with domestic birds; in Israel, declines have been recorded. Rock doves are eaten by humans and are used for laboratory research.
According to the IUCN Red List, the global Rock dove population size is around 260 million individuals. According to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) resource, the total breeding population of the species in the UK is 550,000 pairs. The population in China is estimated at fewer than 100 breeding pairs, which have possibly been introduced. Overall, currently, Rock doves are classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List, but their numbers today are decreasing.
For several thousand years, Rock doves have been domesticated, being the forerunner of the domestic pigeon. Aside from being used as food and pets, domesticated birds can be used as homing pigeons. In the past, they also had a role as carrier pigeons, and certain “war pigeons” have had significant roles during wartime, many pigeons having received medals and bravery awards for their services in the saving of hundreds of human lives.
Social animals are those animals that interact highly with other animals, usually of their own species (conspecifics), to the point of having a rec...