Backyard Birds

Doves (Columbidae)

Pigeons and doves are some of the 300 species of near passerine birds in the order Columbiformes.

The terms “dove” and “pigeon” are used interchangeably, although smaller species are more likely to be called doves.

The dove species commonly referred to just as the “pigeon” is the feral Rock Pigeon. To read more about fruit doves and see a fruit dove specie list, click the links.

It is related to the extinct dodo. The young doves and pigeons are called “squabs”. A person who keeps pigeons is called a “pigeon fancier”.

(Columbidae – Also go to Fruit Doves or Pigeons)

For Info on Breeding / Behavior and Associations and Chatrooms Please Scroll Down

Distribution / Range:

This family occurs worldwide, but the greatest variety is in the Indomalaya and Australasia ecozones.


Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere.

Breeding / Nesting:

The usually flimsy nests are made of sticks, and the two white eggs are incubated by both sexes.Unlike most other birds, (but see flamingo), the doves and pigeons produce “crop milk”, which is secreted by a sloughing of fluid-filled cells from the lining of the crop.

Both sexes produce this highly nutritious substance to feed to the young.

Diet / Feeding:

Doves feed on seeds, fruit and other soft plantstuff.

Further Dove Information


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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