The world is home to an astonishing variety of bird species, each with its unique set of colors and skills. While many people may not be aware of it, the world is home to an unbelievably diverse range of pigeon species. These species are much more fascinating than the common city pigeons that we try to shoo away from our porches.
Interestingly, some scientists believe that the common city pigeon, also known as rock pigeon, was the first bird to be domesticated by humans. This species is depicted in many ancient Mesopotamian paintings, mosaics, and statues from as early as 4500 BC. However, let’s shift our focus away from the common pigeon and explore some of the world’s most brilliant, colorful, and extraordinary pigeons.
The Nicobar Pigeon, for instance, is one of the most beautiful species of pigeons or doves. It is the only living member of the Caloenus genus and is found in the Islands of Nicobar, south-west peninsular Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Solomans, and Palau. Although they were once found in abundance within their range, their numbers in the wild are on the decline as they are frequently captured for pet trade and hunted for food. Sadly, this species is classified as Near Threatened in the IUCN Red List and listed in Appendix 1 of CITES. Their distribution is also being affected by habitat loss as the islands which they inhabit are being cleared for plantations and colonized by rats, cats, and other alien predators.
Another incredibly beautiful species is the Victoria Crowned Pigeon (Goura victoria), the largest living pigeon and the closest remaining relative to the extinct dodo bird. This stunning bird was named in honor of Queen Victoria for its flashy blue crown of intricate lace-like patterns and its regal poise. Originally from New Guinea, the Victoria crowned pigeon has been bred in captivity for hundreds of years and is a common sight in zoos and aviaries in the United States and the United Kingdom. However, they are somewhat rare in the pet bird trade. Victoria crowned pigeons sport powdery blue feathers on their bodies with red eyes, a dark mask, and maroon breasts. They display a lighter shade of blue on their wings and in a band on their tail feathers. This bird is a monomorphic species, meaning males and females look alike. A male may be slightly larger than a female, but itâ€™s barely noticeable.
The Brunner Pouter Pigeon is another elegant and pleasing species. It has a lively and vigorous temperament characterized by much strutting, bowing, and hopping during courting. This courting play is performed by both the cock and hen. An erect, upright posture, providing a long narrow appearance, is most desirable. The back and tail should form a straight line descending at about a 60-degree angle. The inflated crop should stand out distinctly from the back of the neck. A Brunner Pouter should be just a bit smaller than a Pigmy Pouter and should not be more than 13 inches in length, as measured from the point of the beak to the tip of the tail.
Jacobin Pigeons, named after the Jacobin order of monks who date from 1100 and were known for their distinctive hooded habits, are another fascinating species. According to breeders, the Jacobin pigeon was developed from a mutation known as early as the 1500s and went through four major stages of development to reach the bird of today. These birds are a medium-sized breed, not as robust as a racing pigeon, quite slender and tall, characterized by a distinctive muff or cowl of feathers that forms a rosette on both sides of the pigeonâ€™s head. Apart from the hood, the birds are slender and sleek. The Jacobin in Australia comes in black, white, red, and yellow.
These are just a few examples of the many beautiful and unique pigeon species in the world. By exploring and learning about these species, we can appreciate the amazing diversity of life on our planet.