Family

CHAPTER

phylum class subclass order monotypic order suborder family

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Pigeons and doves vary in size from 5.9 to 31.5 inches (15 to 120 centimeters) in length and from 1.1 to 4.4 pounds (0.5 to 2 kilograms) in weight. They have compact bodies, short necks, and small heads. The wings are long and broad and the tail is long and either broad or pointed. The bill is short. The eyes are surrounded by an area of bare skin. Males and females are usually similarly colored, although males are often somewhat larger in size. Many species are gray, brown, or cream in color although some tropical species are much brighter.

GEOGRAPHIC RANGE

Pigeons and doves are found worldwide except in the Arctic and Antarctica. There are particularly large numbers of species in Asia, especially Southeast Asia, including on the many islands in that part of the world.

HABITAT

Pigeons and doves occupy a wide variety of habitat types, including desert, grassland, and forest. The largest number of species is found in forested areas, particularly rainforest. Most pigeons and doves are arboreal, which means they live in trees. This includes most species that occupy grassland areas. Rainforest species may be arboreal or terrestrial, ground-dwelling. Some European and Asian pigeons nest in mountainous cliffs at high altitudes. Desert species are found in California and Australia.

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