Rock Pigeon (Columba livia)

This is one of the estimated 28 million Rock Pigeons in Europe. We have a group of them nesting on the roof of our apartment, here in the southern suburbs of Belgrade. The photo above that I took in August of 2008 clearly shows the two identifying charactersitcs of the wild Rock Pigeon, or as I prefer to call them, the Rock Dove. Wild Rock Doves have two dark bars on their wings and a white patch on the tail. This differentiates them from feral or the domestic pigeon. Through domestication and interbreeding, there are up to 28 color morphs recognized by birding associations. The color morph above is officially known as the “blue bar” due to the two dark bars on the wings.

The Rock Pigeon is originally native to Europe, North Africa and South Asia. Because of its affinity to urban areas, as the planet has become more urbanized, the range of the Rock Pigeon has expanded. It is found virtually world wide. It uses human dwellings to nest, which resemble cliff faces where it does so naturally.

The Rock Pigeon’s scientific genus “Columba” means diver which refers to its swimming motion in the air and “livia” comes from the Latin “livor” for bluish.

It is appropriate that this is the first bird I identified in Belgrade as it is the most common. It will also give me a chance to observe the bird close up since it is nesting right above my head as I write. I have photos of some of the other color morphs observed in my flickr set such as the “checker” morph below.

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