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Feral Pigeon or Rock Dove. Known by the scientific name Columba livia, these birds are essentially one and the same. The Feral Pigeon (L 33cm) is the domesticated descendant, and urban counterpart, of the Rock Dove, a shy bird of wild cliffs and coasts. Feral Pigeon occurs as variety of colour forms but true Rock Doves show little variation. Both form flocks. Sexes are similar. Adult and juvenile Rock Doves have blue-grey plumage, palest on upperwings and back, and flushed pinkish maroon on breast. Has two dark wingbars and dark-tipped tail. In flight, note small white rump; upperwings have dark trailing edge and narrow wingbar. Feral Pigeons occur in spectrum of colour forms from almost black to pure white. Some are very similar to ancestral Rock Dove. Voice Utters a range of cooing calls. Status Rock Dove is restricted to coasts and cliffs in N and W and is rather scarce. Feral Pigeon is abundant in towns and cities; occasionally seen on farmland and also in ancestral haunts.
- © PAUL STERRY/Nature Photographers
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