Band-tailed pigeon

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Band-tailed Pigeon
Patagioenas fasciata -San Luis Obispo, California, USA-8 (1).jpg
In San Luis Obispo, California, USA
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Columbiformes
Family: Columbidae
Genus: Patagioenas
Species: P. fasciata
Binomial name
Patagioenas fasciata
(Say, 1823)
Synonyms

Columba fasciata Say, 1823

The Band-tailed Pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata)[2] is a medium-sized bird of the Americas. Its closest relatives are the Chilean Pigeon and the Ring-tailed Pigeon, which form a clade of Patagioenas with a terminal tail band and iridescent plumage on their necks.[3]

It ranges from British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, and southern Arizona south in higher elevations through Mexico and Central America to northern Argentina. In autumn it migrates out of its permanent resident range into northern California, New Mexico, and parts of Utah and Colorado. Populations from Costa Rica south are sometimes considered a separate species, the White-naped Pigeon, P. albilinea. It is found at altitudes from 900 to 3,600 m (3,000 to 12,000 ft), generally in oak, pine-oak, and coniferous forests. It feeds on seeds, notably acorns.

Morphology[edit]

It is the biggest pigeon in North America, measuring 33 to 40 cm (13 to 16 in) long and weighing 225–515 g (7.9–18.2 oz).[4][5] The coastal subspecies (averaging 392 g (13.8 oz)) is (P. f. monilis) is larger than the inland subspecies (averaging 340 g (12 oz)).[4] The plumage is gray, somewhat darker above. The head and underparts have a faint pink cast, especially in the adult male; the belly is nearly white. The distal half of the tail is also pale (except in the subspecies of Baja California), whence the English name. The bill and feet are yellow, good identification marks at sufficiently close range. Adults have green iridescence on the back of the neck, adjacent to a thin white collar on the nape. Juvenile birds have white feather edges above, giving a scaly appearance.

Behavior and ecology[edit]

At a feeder near Pecos, New Mexico
Upper body

This species is relatively quiet for a pigeon. Its voice is low-pitched and owl-like, often in two-syllable calls that rise and then fall (huu-ooh) with even spacing between calls.[6]

It builds a rudimentary platform nest out of twigs, in which it lays one or two eggs. Outside the breeding season it forms flocks, sometimes over 50 birds, and often becomes nomadic, following the acorn crop or moving to lower altitudes or other areas outside its breeding range. Toyon berries are a food consumed by the Band-tailed Pigeon.[7] This species often visits bird feeders.

The parasitic louse Columbicola extinctus, believed to have become extinct with the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon, was recently rediscovered on the Band-tailed Pigeon. The Band-Tailed Pigeon is the closest genetic relative of the Passenger Pigeon and has been investigated for being used in efforts to bring back that extinct species.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Patagioenas fasciata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Sibley, David Allen (2000): The Sibley Guide to Birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. ISBN 0-679-45122-6
  3. ^ Johnson, Kevin P.; de Kort, Selvino; Dinwoodey, Karen, Mateman, A. C.; ten Cate, Carel; Lessells, C. M. & Clayton, Dale H. (2001): A molecular phylogeny of the dove genera Streptopelia and Columba. Auk 118(4): 874-887. PDF fulltext
  4. ^ a b CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses by John B. Dunning Jr. (Editor). CRC Press (1992), ISBN 978-0-8493-4258-5.
  5. ^ Band-tailed Pigeon, All about Birds.
  6. ^ Mahler, Bettina & Tubaro, Pablo L. (2001): Relationship between song characters and morphology in New World pigeons. Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 74(4): 533–539. doi:10.1006/bijl.2001.0596 (HTML abstract)
  7. ^ Hogan, C. Michael (2008) Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), GlobalTwitcher, ed. N. Stromberg [1]
  8. ^ Rich, Nathaniel (27 February 2014). "The Mammoth Cometh". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  • Howell, Steven N.G. & Webb, Sophie (1995): A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America. Oxford University Press, Oxford & New York. ISBN 0-19-854012-4
  • Jiménez, Mariano II; Mariano G. Jiménez (2002–2003). "Paloma Encinera". Zoológico Electrónico. Archived from the original on 15 December 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-27.  In Spanish.

External links[edit]