Order

CHAPTER

phylum class subclass • order monotypic order suborder family

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Species of the order Columbiformes include the pigeons and doves, which are compact birds with broad, rounded, powerful wings; short bills; short legs; and short necks. They range in size from the tiny 1.1-ounce (30-gram) Australian diamond dove to the large Victoria-crowned pigeon, which can weigh as much as 6.6 pounds (3 kilograms). Males tend to be slightly larger than females in size. In most species, males and females are similarly colored, although there are a few tropical species where males are much more colorful than females. Many pigeon and dove species are gray, brown, or cream in color. However, some tropical species may be green, red, purple, pink, blue, or orange. One particularly colorful species is the golden dove of Fiji, which can be brilliant orange or a metallic green and gold.

The extinct dodos were large, flightless species weighing as much as 62 pounds (28 kilograms). They had large bellies; short, strong legs; and large bills. They had tiny wings and short tails. They were probably blue or brownish gray in color.

GEOGRAPHIC RANGE

Pigeons and doves are found worldwide, except in the Arctic and Antarctic regions and at high elevations. Particularly large numbers of species are found in tropical areas, especially those near the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. About 60 percent of pigeons and doves are found on small islands far from continental land masses. Dodos were previously found on several small islands in the Indian Ocean.

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