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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Cladus: Sarcopterygii
Cladus: Rhipidistia
Cladus: Tetrapodomorpha
Cladus: Eotetrapodiformes
Cladus: Elpistostegalia
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Cladus: Crurotarsi
Divisio: Archosauria
Cladus: Avemetatarsalia
Cladus: Ornithodira
Subtaxon: Dinosauromorpha
Cladus: Dinosauriformes
Cladus: Dracohors
Cladus: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Cladus: Eusaurischia
Subordo: Theropoda
Cladus: Neotheropoda
Cladus: Averostra
Cladus: Tetanurae
Cladus: Avetheropoda
Cladus: Coelurosauria
Cladus: Tyrannoraptora
Cladus: Maniraptoromorpha
Cladus: Maniraptoriformes
Cladus: Maniraptora
Cladus: Pennaraptora
Cladus: Paraves
Cladus: Eumaniraptora
Cladus: Avialae
Infraclassis: Aves
Cladus: Euavialae
Cladus: Avebrevicauda
Cladus: Pygostylia
Cladus: Ornithothoraces
Cladus: Ornithuromorpha
Cladus: Carinatae
Parvclassis: Neornithes
Cohors: Neognathae
Cladus: Neoaves
Cladus: Columbimorphae
Ordo: Columbiformes

Familia: Columbidae
Subfamilia: Columbinae
Genus: Columba
Species: C. albinucha - C. albitorques - C. argentina - C. arquatrix – C. bollii – C. delegorguei – C. elphinstonii – C. eversmanni – C. guinea – C. hodgsonii – C. iriditorques – C. janthina – C. jouyi – C. junoniaeC. larvata – C. leucomela – C. leuconotaC. livia – C. malherbii – C. oenas – C. oliviae – C. pallidiceps – C. palumboides – C. palumbus - C. pollenii - C. pulchricollis – C. punicea – C. rupestris – C. simplex – C. sjostedti – C. thomensis – C. torringtoniae – C. trocaz – C. unicincta – C. vitiensis

Species extinctae: †C. jouyi – †C. thiriouxi – †C. versicolor

Columba Linnaeus, 1758

Typus: Columba oenas Linnaeus, 1758
Fixation: subsequent designation by Vigors 1825

Primary references

Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Editio Decima, Reformata. Tomus I. Holmiæ (Stockholm): impensis direct. Laurentii Salvii. 824 pp. DOI: 10.5962/bhl.title.542 BHL p. 162 BHL Reference page.

Additional references

ICZN (2010). Opinion 2251 (Case 3442) Columba norfolciensis Latham, 1801 (Aves, Columbidae): name suppressed. Bulletin of zoological nomenclature 67(2): 192–193. ISSN: 0007-5167 Abstract
Vigors, N.A. 1825. XXII. Observations on the Natural Affinities that connect the Orders and Families of Birds. Transactions of the Linnean Society of London 14(3): 395–517 (fixation: 481).
Donegan, T. M. (2016). The pigeon names Columba livia, 'C. domestica' and C. oenas and their type specimens. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 136 (1): 14–27.

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Feldtauben
English: Pigeons
suomi: Kyyhkyt
français: Colombe, Pigeon
עברית: יונה
日本語: カワラバト属
ქართული: მტრედი
中文: 鸽属

The large bird genus Columba comprises a group of medium to large pigeons. The terms "dove" and "pigeon" are used indiscriminately for smaller and larger Columbidae, respectively. Columba species – at least those of Columba sensu stricto – are generally termed "pigeons", and in many cases wood-pigeons. The rock dove (C. livia), has given rise to the majority of domesticated pigeon breeds, such as the racing pigeon and the fantail pigeon some of which have become feral. Meanwhile, "wood pigeon" by itself usually means the common wood pigeon (C. palumbus).

This genus as understood today is native to the Old World, but some – notably the domestic and feral rock pigeon – have been introduced outside their natural range, for example in the Americas.


The term columba comes from the Latin columba, "a dove",[1] the feminine form of columbus, "a male dove",[2] itself the latinisation of the Greek κόλυμβος (kolumbos), "diver",[3] which derives from the verb κολυμβάω (kolumbaō), "to dive, plunge headlong, swim".[4] The feminine form of kolumbos, κολυμβίς (kolumbis), "diver",[5] was the name applied by Aristophanes and others to the common rock pigeons of Greece, because of the "swimming" motion made by their wings when flying.[6]

The genus Columba was introduced by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1758 in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae.[7] The type species was designated as the stock dove (Columba oenas) by Irish zoologist Nicholas Aylward Vigors in 1825.[8]

The American pigeons formerly in Columba are now split off as a separate genus Patagioenas again. That the American radiation constitutes a distinct lineage is borne out by molecular evidence; in fact, the Patagioenas "pigeons" are basal to the split between the Columba "pigeons" and the Streptopelia "doves". The typical pigeons together with Streptopelia and the minor Nesoenas and Stigmatopelia lineages constitute the dominant evolutionary radiation of Columbidae in temperate Eurasia, though they also occur in tropical regions. The taxonomic status of some African pigeons presently placed here is in need of further study; they are smaller than the usual Columba (and hence often called "doves"), and differ in some other aspects. They might be separable as genus Aplopelia. That notwithstanding, the lineage of the typical pigeons probably diverged from its closest relatives in the Late Miocene, perhaps some 7-8 million years ago (Ma).[9][10]
African olive pigeon (C. arquatrix)
Nilgiri wood pigeon (C. elphinstonii)
The extinct Lord Howe pigeon (C. vitiensis godmanae) is known only from some travellers' reports

There are 35 species recognised in the genus, of which two are extinct:[11]

Rock dove, Columba livia
Hill pigeon, Columba rupestris
Snow pigeon, Columba leuconota
Speckled pigeon, Columba guinea
White-collared pigeon, Columba albitorques
Stock dove, Columba oenas
Yellow-eyed pigeon, Columba eversmanni
Somali pigeon, Columba oliviae
Common wood pigeon or wood pigeon, Columba palumbus
Trocaz pigeon, Columba trocaz
Bolle's pigeon, Columba bollii
Laurel pigeon, Columba junoniae
Afep pigeon, Columba unicincta
African olive pigeon, Columba arquatrix
Cameroon olive pigeon, Columba sjostedti
São Tomé olive pigeon, Columba thomensis
Comoros olive pigeon, Columba polleni
Speckled wood pigeon, Columba hodgsonii
White-naped pigeon, Columba albinucha
Ashy wood pigeon, Columba pulchricollis
Nilgiri wood pigeon, Columba elphinstonii
Sri Lanka wood pigeon, Columba torringtoniae
Pale-capped pigeon, Columba punicea
Silvery pigeon, Columba argentina – (thought to be extinct, rediscovered in 2008)
Andaman wood pigeon, Columba palumboides
Japanese wood pigeon, Columba janthina
† Bonin wood pigeon, Columba versicolor – extinct (c. 1890)
† Ryukyu wood pigeon, Columba jouyi – extinct (late 1930s)
Metallic pigeon or white-throated pigeon, Columba vitiensis
White-headed pigeon, Columba leucomela
Yellow-legged pigeon, Columba pallidiceps
Eastern bronze-naped pigeon, Columba delegorguei
Western bronze-naped pigeon, Columba iriditorques
Island bronze-naped pigeon, Columba malherbii
Lemon dove, Columba larvata – sometimes placed in Aplopelia

A fossil species, C. omnisanctorum, was described from the Early Pliocene (5.3-3.6 Ma) of the Gargano Peninsula and surroundings, Italy. A supposed "falcon" fossil from nearby contemporary and Middle Pliocene (3.6-2.6 Ma) sites may either be of the same species or another pigeon; the name Columba pisana would apply for it or (if conspecific) for both. C. melitensis is a fossil pigeon from the Late Pleistocene of Malta. Only known from a coracoid described by Richard Lydekker in 1891, whether it is indeed distinct from the living species and not just a paleosubspecies needs to be studied, given its late age. Indeterminate remains of a Columba were also found in Late Pliocene/Early Pleistocene (ELMMZ MN 17) deposits at Varshets (Bulgaria) and Šandalja (Croatia).[12]

Another prehistoric pigeon, C. congi, was described from Early Pleistocene remains found in the famous Zhoukoudian caves in China. This, too, needs to be studied regarding whether it is not just an ancestral population of a still-living species. An extinct pigeon, the Mauritian wood pigeon (Columba thiriouxi), was described in 2011. The validity of the species has been challenged and it is not generally recognised. The holotype is a right tarsometatarsus collected in 1910.[13]

columba, Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary, on Perseus
columbus, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
κόλυμβος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
κολυμβάω, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
κολυμβίς, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
Aristophanes, Birds, 304, on Perseus
Linnaeus, Carl (1758). Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (in Latin). Vol. 1 (10th ed.). Holmiae (Stockholm): Laurentii Salvii. p. 162.
Vigors, Nicholas Aylward (1825). "Observations on the natural affinities that connect the orders and families of birds". Transactions of the Linnean Society of London. 14 (3): 395–517 [481]. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.1823.tb00098.x.
Johnson, K.P.; De Kort, S.; Dinwoodey, K.; Mateman, A.C.; Ten Cate, C.; Lessells, C.M.; Clayton, D.H. (2001). "A molecular phylogeny of the dove genera Streptopelia and Columba". Auk. 118 (4): 874–887. doi:10.1642/0004-8038(2001)118[0874:AMPOTD]2.0.CO;2.
Cheke, Anthony S. (2005). "Naming segregates from the Columba–Streptopelia pigeons following DNA studies on phylogeny". Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. 125 (4): 293–295.
Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (2020). "Pigeons". IOC World Bird List Version 10.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
Mlíkovský (2002): pp.221-222.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D.A.; de Juana, E., eds. (2020). "Mauritius Woodpigeon (Columba thiriouxi)". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. doi:10.2173/bow.mauwop1.01. S2CID 243501558. Retrieved 1 March 2020.


Mlíkovský, Jirí (2002): Cenozoic Birds of the World, Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press, Prague. ISBN 80-901105-3-8 PDF fulltext

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