The Columbidae is also known in Ornithology as Columbidae . This study will cover all the necessary parts of Ornithology in order to have a better view concerning this Family.
Appearance and Behaviour
The Columbidae family belongs to the order of Columbiforms. Doves and pigeons constitute the columbidae family. They are birds whose length varies from 15 cm in the smallest species, to 82 cm in these crested giants that are the gouras of Melanesia (crowned peagons). With round head and straight beak, the beak is curved at the end of the upper mandible and presenting two nostrils relatively prominent.
The legs are rather short, sturdy, the body sometimes slender and slim, sometimes plump or even rounder than that of a gallinaceous, while the tail can vary considerably in shape and length. The plumage is thick and tight; sometimes immaculate, it is often of modest and mimetic colors, but can also show bright and variegated hues or present metallic or oily reflections. Finally, some species have the head crowned by a completely decorative crest.
Exceptionally short and heavy in species that only jump from branch to branch, the wings are usually broad and flapping, providing these birds with direct and rapid flight. Some pigeons particularly muscular at the keel level can achieve real performances, in terms of speed, endurance or sense of direction. The vocal manifestations of columbids are based on cooing and their multiple variants and relatively muffled and deaf.
Most pigeons and turtledoves frequent the woods and forests. Some do well in cultivated and open places, or even exceptionally, on mountainous plateaus. Pigeons and turtledoves feed on seeds, acorns and other beechnuts, swallowed without being shelled. Accumulated in the crop (giblet) which is very developed, they are then crushed in the muscular gizzard. Some birds add insects, worms and various invertebrates to this basic diet; still other species are frugivorous. Pigeons and turtledoves build nests of branches and twigs. Rather basic and sometimes even rudimentary, these platforms are established on branches or in cavities of trees, walls or cliffs. Some, more rare, lay on the ground.
The brood is of 1 or 2 white and very rounded eggs. Incubation lasts from 2 weeks to 1 month. Young columbids come into the world blind and practically naked. They are heated continuously during the first days of their existence and then receive the famous “pigeon’s milk” produced at the crop of female adults. There are several broods per year.
The species nesting in the northern regions are migratory, the turtledove going for example wintering beyond the Sahara, in tropical Africa.
The colombidae family has 285 species, of which only 63 are found on the American continent. Meanwhile, Africa, Southeast Asia and Melanesia are the most populous regions. 5 species breed in Europe.