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Rock Dove

Rock Dove

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Published by: Connecticut Wildlife Publication Library on May 27, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/27/2012

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CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
q
WILDLIFE DIVISION
W
ILDLIFE IN
C
ONNECTICUT
INFORMATIONAL SERIES
Identification:
Although there are many races andforms of pigeons with variable color patterns, everyoneis well-acquainted with the slate blue-gray color of therock dove. Rock doves have iridescent green, bronze,and purple feathers, two black wing bars, a white rumppatch, a distinctive broad, black band on the tail, andred feet. Their wing tips collide on takeoff, and thebirds, once airborne, glide with their wings raised at anangle.Male and female pigeons are difficult to distinguish asboth are similar in coloration. Female pigeons, though,have a tendency to hold their tail higher and waddlewhen walking, and are somewhat smaller in size.
Range:
Found throughout Connecticut, the range of therock dove includes most of North America from southernCanada south, as well as Hawaii. Normally the homerange of a pigeon flock is less than one square mile;however, pigeons will travel 10 or more miles from theirroost sites in search of food. Despite gregarious traits,individuals have been known to live apart from any flock.
Reproduction:
Pigeons are monogamous and mate forlife, but with the disappearance of a mate, they maychoose another. Although breeding may occur in allseasons of the year, peak reproduction occurs in the
Habitat:
Pigeons are commonly found around barn-yards, parks, and city buildings. In natural environ-ments, pigeons usually occupy sea cliffs or caves.
Weight:
1.25 pounds, on average
Length:
13-14 inches
Food:
Primarily grain and seed eaters; many subsist onunnatural food such as bread, popcorn, and peanuts inurban environments. Also, weed seeds, succulentgreens, garbage, seeds found in livestock manure, andinsects.spring and fall. Male pigeons are more aggressive andstrut. In a mating display, males fluff up their neck ruff,drag their tail on the ground, and make loud, cooingnoises. While the male selects the nest site, both sexesare involved in nest construction. Nests consist of twigsand grasses and are often located on building ledgesand rafters or in eaves, steeples, and vents. Both maleand female pigeons exhibit a strong territorial defense ofthe nest site and share in incubating the eggs (the hentaking most of the day and night shift while the cock sitsfor a few hours around midday). Clutch size is generallyone to two and the incubation period is 17-19 days.Newly-hatched pigeons or squabs are fed a substancecalled pigeon milk, which is produced inside the crop ofboth parents. At four to six weeks of age, the youngleave the nest. More eggs may be laid before the firstyoung are fledged.
History in Connecticut:
Pigeons were brought to theUnited States by the first European settlers in the early1600s. They have been abundant in Connecticutthroughout the past few centuries.
Interesting Facts:
Common names for the rock doveinclude domestic pigeon and homing pigeon.
ROCK DOVE(PIGEON)
Columba livia

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