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Rock Dove

(Columba livia)


Category: Birds



Familiar to most people as the common pigeon, these highly adaptive birds have spread from their original ranges in Europe, North Africa, and western Asia to urban locales all over the world. Cities offer them the open environment, cliff-like structures, and food they need to thrive. They have been domesticated for thousands of years – as food, as pets, and as a way of communicating over long distances (carrier pigeons). Some particularly hard-working carrier pigeons have even been awarded bravery medals for their services in saving human lives during war times.




Data & Facts

Scientific Classification
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Aves
Order - Columbiformes
Family - Columbidae
Genus - Columba
Species - C. livia

Did you know?
Interesting Animal Facts

Asleep at the wheel?

Can you imagine spending nearly all of your life in the air? The common swift doesn’t have to - it just does! From the day this bird learns to fly, it almost never touches the ground voluntarily - it eats, drinks, mates, and may even sleep while flying. While sleep walking can be problematic in humans, many birds have the ability to enter a state called unihemispheric slow-wave sleep, where one half of the brain sleeps as the other remains alert. This method of “sleeping with one eye open,” is a great way to avoid becoming another animal’s meal, and has led to the suspicion that these birds, who almost never willingly land, also sleep while in flight!

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