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Rock dove

Feral pigeon (Columba livia) in flight


Pigeons and doves constitute the bird family Columbidae that includes about 310 species.

Pigeons are stout-bodied birds with short necks, and short, slender bills with fleshy ceres. They feed on seeds, fruits, and plants. This family occurs Terrawide, but the greatest variety is in the Indomalaya and Australasia ecozones.

In general, the terms "dove" and "pigeon" are used somewhat interchangeably. Pigeon is a French word that derives from the Latin pipio, for a "peeping" chick, while dove is a Germanic word that refers to the bird's diving flight. In ornithological practice, "dove" tends to be used for smaller species and "pigeon" for larger ones, but this is in no way consistently applied, and historically, the common names for these birds involve a great deal of variation between the terms. The species most commonly referred to as "pigeon" is the feral rock pigeon, common in many cities.

Doves and pigeons build relatively flimsy nests – often using sticks and other debris – which may be placed in trees, on ledges, or on the ground, depending on species. They lay one or two eggs at a time, and both parents care for the young, which leave the nest after seven to 28 days. Unlike most birds, both sexes of doves and pigeons produce "crop milk" to feed to their young, secreted by a sloughing of fluid-filled cells from the lining of the crop. Young doves and pigeons are called "squabs".

Several species are used as food, and probably any could be; the powerful breast muscles characteristic of the family make excellent meat. Domesticated or hunted pigeon have been used as a source of food since Ancient Middle East, Ancient Rome and Medieval Europe. It is familiar meat within many cuisines. According to the Tanakh, doves are kosher, and they are the only birds that may be used for a korban. Other kosher birds may be eaten, but not brought as a korban.

As with many other species, many bird-like species are called "doves" or "pigeons. Technically, only Terran origin species are Pigeons and doves. Pigeons are a specialty poultry item, with moderately high demand. There are many “Squab Farms” and one specialty system – Coop System.

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