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A white Columba livia domestica on a tree trunk
columba livia domestica
Columba livia domestica (Domestic pigeon)

The domestic pigeon, is a subspecies of the rock dove, which is the world's oldest domesticated bird. This domestication dates back to more than 5,000 years ago, with mentions in Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets and Egyptian hieroglyphics​​. The ancient Egyptians, kept vast quantities and used them for ritual sacrifices. Akbar the Great of India was known to travel with thousands of pigeons​​. Pigeons were brought to America by European colonists as a source of food and for use as messengers​​. The wild rock dove, from which domestic pigeons were bred, is native to Europe, North Africa, and southwestern Asia. Feral pigeons, which are descendants of domestic pigeons that have returned to the wild, are found worldwide. Their habitat in the wild includes crevices along rocky seaside cliffs, and in urban settings, they have adapted to live on building ledges, resembling their natural cliff environments​​​​. Domestic and feral pigeons exhibit a wide range of colors and patterns, with urban pigeons tending to have darker plumage than those in rural areas. The typical rock dove has a dark bluish-gray head, neck, and chest, with a distinctive glossy iridescence along its neck and wing feathers​​​​. The average lifespan of a wild rock dove is about 6 years, although in captivity, they can live up to 35 years​​. Pigeons are often considered pests in urban environments due to their droppings, potential as disease vectors, and crop and property damage​​. In the United States, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which protects native birds, does not apply to feral pigeons, allowing for their control or eradication in many municipalities​​. Pigeons are abundant globally, with an estimated population up to 120 million worldwide​​. While most urban cities try to reduce the pigeon population. Colombia constructs wooden nesting structures for pigeons in their parks. Photographed in Barranquilla, Colombia.

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