In flight formation…
Explore #1 on Saturday July 18, 2009
A flock of pigeons at sunset
Pigeons and doves constitute the family Columbidae within the order Columbiformes, which include some 300 species of near passerine birds. In general parlance the terms "dove" and "pigeon" are used somewhat interchangeably. In ornithological practice, there is a tendency for "dove" to be used for smaller species and "pigeon" for larger ones, but this is in no way consistently applied, and historically the common names for these birds involve a great deal of variation between the term "dove" and "pigeon." This family occurs worldwide, but the greatest variety is in the Indomalaya and Australasia ecozones. The doves and pigeons are called "squabs."
Doves and pigeons build relatively flimsy nests from sticks and other debris, which may be placed in trees, on ledges, or on the ground, depending on species. They lay one or two eggs, and both parents care for the babies, which leave the nest after 7 to 28 days. Doves feed on seeds, fruit and plants. Unlike most other birds, the doves and pigeons produce "crop milk," which is secreted by a sloughing of fluid-filled cells from the lining of the crop. Both male and female produce this highly nutritious substance to feed to the babies.