The Bird Book/Pigeons


Pigeons and doves are distributed throughout nearly every temperate and tropical country on the globe, nearly five hundred species being known, of which twelve occur within our limits. Their plumage is generally soft and subdued colors, the head small, the wings strong and the flight rapid.

312. BAND-TAILED PIGEON. Columba fasciata fasciata.

Range. The Rocky Mountains and westward to the Pacific, from British Columbia south to Mtexico.

This large species may be generally recognized by the white crescent on the nape; it is about 15 inches in length. They nest abundantly on the mountain ranges, sometimes in large flocks, and again, only a few pairs together. Their nests are rude platforms of sticks and twigs either in bushes or in large trees in heavily wooded districts. The two eggs which are laid during May or June are pure white in color, and like those of all the pigeons, equally rounded at each end. Size 1.55 x 1.10. White

312a. VIOSCA'S PIGEON. Columba fasciata vioscce.

Range. Southern Lower California. This is a paler variety of the preceding species and is not noticeably different in its habits, nesting or eggs.

313. RED-BILLED PIGEON. Columba flavirostris.

Range. Mexico and Central America, north to southern Texas, Arizona and New Mexico.

This species, characterized by its red bill, purplish colored head, neck and breast and absence of iridescent markings, is abundant in the valley of the Lower Rio Grande, where they build their frail nests in thickets and low bushes, and during May and June lay their white eggs. Size of eggs, 1.55 x 1.05.

314. WHITE-CROWNED PIGEON. Columba leucocephala.

Range. Resident of the West Indies; in summer, found oh the Florida Keys. This species, which can be identified by its white crown, nests in trees or mangroves on certain of the Florida Keys, laying its two white eggs on its rude platform of sticks and twigs. Size of eggs 1.40 x 1.05. Nests in April and May.

[314.1.] SCALED PIGEON. Columba squamosa.

A West Indian species, a single specimen of which was taken at Key West, Florida.

A dark colored species, with purplish head, neck and breast; named from the scaly appearance of the iridescent feathers on the sides of the neck.




Ectopistes migratorius.

Range. Formerly, North America east of the Rockies; casually seen in the upper Mississippi Valley, now extinct.

A handsome species (see frontispiece) with ruddy underparts, grayish upperparts and a

long graduated tail. This species years ago found in flocks of thousands or millions, is now practically exterminated, chiefly by being hunted and trapped. A few pairs probably now nest in the interior, from northern

United States to Hudson Bay. Their nests are very rude, frail platforms of twigs, on which two white eggs are laid, they being longer and narrower, comparatively, than those of other species. Size of eggs, 1.50 Data. Southwest shore of Lake Manitoba, June 1, 1891. Nest of twigs aspen tree.


Passenger Pigeon

xl.02. in an

316. MOURNING DOVE. Zenaidura macroura carolinensis.

Range. North America from New England, Manitoba and British Columbia, southward.

Now that the Passenger Pigeon has disappeared, this species becomes the only one found in the east, with the exception of the little Ground Dove in the South Atlantic and Gulf States. While, White

sometimes, small flocks of them nest in a community, they generally nest in companies of two or three pairs. Their nests are generally at a low elevation, in trees, bushes and often upon the ground. Their nests are made entirely of twigs and rootlets, and eggs may be found from early in April until the latter part of September, as they often raise two or three broods a season. The two eggs are white. Size 1.15 x .80. Data. Refugio Co., Texas, May 3, 1899. Two eggs laid on the ground in a slight cradle of twigs. Collector, James J. Carroll.


Mourning- Dove




H. B. Stough

317. ZENAIDA DOVE. Zenaida zenaida.

Range. West Indies; in summer, on the Florida Keys, but not in great numbers.

This species is similar in size to the Mourning Dove, but it has a short and square tail, and the secondaries are tipped with white, and the underparts more ruddy. They generally nest upon the ground, but occasionally in small bushes, laying two white eggs a trifle larger than those of the preceding species. Size 1.20 x.90 The nests are made of grasses and twigs, on the ground under bushes.




Leptotila fulviventris brachyptera.

Range. Mexico and Central America north to southern Texas.

Slightly larger than the last, much paler below, with no black ear mark as in the two preceding species, and with the forehead whitish. They build their nests of sticks, grasses and weeds, and place them in tangled vines and thickets a few feet from the ground. Their two eggs, which are laid in May and June, have a creamy white or buffy color. Size 1.15 x .85. They canot be called a common species within our borders.


Melopelia asiatica.

Range. Central America, Mexico and the W southwestern border of the United States. This species is 12 inches in length, has a black patch on the ear coverts, white tips to the greater and lesser coverts and some of the secondaries, and broad white tips to the outer tail feathers, which are black. This species is very abundant in some localities within our borders. Their nests are very frail platforms of twigs placed in trees or bushes or precariously suspended among tangled vines. Their two eggs are white or creamy white, and measure 1.15 x .85

White-fronted Dove

White-winged Dove


320. GROUND DOVE. Columbigallina pa&serina terrestris.

Range. South Atlantic and Gulf States to eastern Texas.

The Ground Doves are the smallest of the family, measuring but about 6.5 inches in length. Their nesting habits and eggs are exactly like those of the next to be described. They are very abundant, especially along the South Atlantic coast.

320a. MEXICAN GROUND DOVE. Chcemepelia passerinus pallescens.

Range. Border of the United States from Texas to southern California and southward.

This paler sub-species builds a nest of twigs and weeds, 4 placing the flat structure either in low bushes or on the ground. Their two white eggs are laid during April to July, they sometimes rearing two broods a season. Size of eggs, .85 x .65. White

320b. BERMUDA GROUND DOVE. Chcemepelia passerina bermudiana.

Range. Bermuda. Smaller and paler than the last; otherwise the same in nesting habits and eggs.



321. INCA DOVE. Scardafella inca.

Range. Mexican border of the United States south to Central America and Lower California.

This handsome species is about the size of the last, but its tail is longer and graduated, consequently its length is greater, it being about 8 inches long. It is not an uncommon species along our Mexican border, but is not nearly as abundant as is the Ground Dove. It is often called "Scaled Dove"

because af the blackish edges of nearly all iU feathers. They build fairly compact nests of twigs, rootlets and weeds, these being placed in bushes at a low elevation. They are two in number and pure white. Size.85 x .65.


Geotrygon chrysia.

Range. West Indies, rarely found at Key West, although supposed to have been common there in Audubon's time. This species is of about the size of the Mourning Dove, has rusty colored upper parts, and is whitish below, the white below the eye being separated from that of the throat by a stripe of dusky from the base of the bill. They nest in trees, laying two buffy white eggs. Size 1.15 x. 90.


Ground Dove

[322.1.] RUDDY QUAIL DOVE. Geotrygon montana.

Range. Central America, north to eastern Mexico and the West Indies; once taken at Key West. This species is similar to the last but has no white streak under the eye, and the underparts are buffy. Eggs, creamy white. Size 1.15 x. 90.

[323.] BLUE-HEADED QUAIL DOVE. Starnoenas cyanocephala.

Range. Cuba, accidentally straying to Key West, but not in recent years.

It is a beautiful species, with a bright blue crown, black throat and stripe through the eye, separated by a white line under the eye. The rest of the plumage is of a brownish or rusty color. Eggs buffy white. Size 1.30 x 1.05.