American Purple Gallinule, Porphyrio martinica

American Purple Gallinule, Porphyrio martinica

The rails, or Rallidae, are a large cosmopolitan family of small to medium-sized birds. The family exhibits considerable diversity and the family also includes the crakes, coots, and gallinules. Many species are associated with wetlands, although the family is found in every terrestrial habitat except dry deserts, polar regions and alpine areas above the snow line.

Members of the Rallidae are found on every continent except Antarctica. There are numerous island species. The most common habitats are marshland or dense forest. Rails are especially fond of dense vegetation.


The most typical family members occupy dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps, or rivers. Reed beds are a particularly favoured habitat. They are omnivorous, and those that migrate do so at night: most nest in dense vegetation. In general, they are shy and secretive birds, and are difficult to observe.

Most species walk and run vigorously on strong legs, and have long toes which are well adapted to soft, uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and although they are generally weak fliers, they are, nevertheless, capable of covering long distances.

Island species often become flightless, and many of them are now extinct following the introduction of terrestrial predators such as cats, rats and pigs.

Many reedbed species are secretive (apart from loud calls), crepuscular, and have laterally flattened bodies. In the Old World, long-billed species tend to be called rails and short-billed species crakes. North American species are normally called rails irrespective of bill length. The smallest of these is the Swinhoe’s Rail, at 13 cm (5 inches) and 25 grams.

The larger species are also sometimes given other names. The black coots are more adapted to open water than their relatives, and some other large species are called gallinules and swamphens. The largest of this group is the Takahē, at 65 cm (26 inches) and 2.7 kg (6 lbs).

The rails have suffered disproportionally from human changes to the environment and it is estimated that several hundred species of island rail have become extinct because of this. Several island species of rail remain endangered and conservation organisations and governments continue to work to prevent their extinction.


The rails are a fairly homogeneous family of small to medium sized ground living birds. They vary in length from 12 cm to 63 cm and in weight from 20 g to 3000 g. Some species have long necks and in many cases they are laterally compressed. The bill is the most variable feature within the family: in some species it is longer than the head (like the Clapper Rail of the Americas), in others it may be short and wide (as in the coots), or massive (as in the purple gallinules). A few coots and gallinules have a “frontal shield”, which is a fleshy rearward extension of the upper bill. The most complex frontal shield is found in the Horned Coot.

South Island Takahē (Porphyrio hochstetteri) from behind, showing the short, soft and fluffy remiges typical of flightless rails

South Island Takahē (Porphyrio hochstetteri) from behind, showing the short, soft and fluffy remiges typical of flightless rails

Rails exhibit very little sexual dimorphism in either plumage or size.

Flight and flightlessness

The wings of all rails are short and rounded. The flight of those Rallidae able to fly, while not very powerful, can be sustained for long periods of time and many species undertake annual migrations. The weakness of their flight, however, means that they are easily blown off course and thus are common vagrants, a characteristic that has led them to colonize many isolated oceanic islands. Furthermore, these birds often prefer to run rather than fly, especially when in dense habitat. Some are also flightless at some time during their moult period.

Many island rails are flightless because small island habitats without threatening predators often eliminate the need to fly or move long distances. Flight makes intense demands, with the keel and flight muscles taking up to a quarter of a bird’s weight in Rallidae species. Reducing the flight muscles, along with the corresponding lowering in metabolic demands, reduces the flightless rail’s energy expenditures. For this reason flightlessness makes it easier to survive and colonize an island where resources may be limited.Flightlessness can evolve extremely rapidly in island rails; it took as little as 125,000 years for the Laysan Rail to lose the power of flight and evolve the reduced, stubby wings only useful to keep balance when running quickly.

Behavior and ecology

In general, members of Rallidae are omnivorous generalists. Many species will eat invertebrates, as well as fruit or seedlings. A few species are primarily vegetarian.

The calls of Rallidae species vary and are often quite loud. Some are whistle-like or squeak-like, while others are “unbirdlike”.Loud calls are useful in dense vegetation or at night where it is difficult to see another member of the species. Some calls are territorial.


The breeding behavior of many Rallidae species are poorly understood or unknown. Most are thought to be monogamous, although polygyny and polyandry have been reported.

Most often, there are five to ten eggs. Clutches as small as one or as large as fifteen eggs are known.[9]

Egg clutches may not always hatch at the same time. Chicks become mobile after a few days. They will often remain dependent on their parents until fledging, which happens at around one month of age.

Rallidae and humans

Some of the larger, more abundant rails are hunted and their eggs collected for food. The Wake Island Rail was hunted to extinction by the starving Japanese garrison after the island was cut off from supply during World War II.

At least two species – the Common Moorhen and the American Purple Gallinule – have been considered pests.

Threats and conservation

The Guam Rail is an example of an island species that has been badly affected by introduced species.

The Guam Rail is an example of an island species that has been badly affected by introduced species.

Due to their tendencies towards flightlessness, many island species have been unable to cope with introduced species. The most dramatic human caused extinctions occurred in the Pacific Ocean as people colonised the islands of Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia, during which an estimated 750-1800 species of bird went extinct, half of which were rails. Some species which came close to extinction, such as the Lord Howe Woodhen, and the Takahē, have made modest recoveries due to the efforts of conservation organisations. The Guam Rail came perilously close to extinction when Brown tree snakes were introduced to Guam but some of the last remaining individuals were taken into captivity and are breeding well, although attempts to reintroduce it have met with mixed results.

Systematics and evolution

The family Rallidae has traditionally been grouped with two families of larger birds, the cranes and bustards, as well as several smaller families of usually “primitive” mid-sized amphibious birds, to make up the order Gruiformes. The alternative Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy, which has been widely accepted in America, raises the family to ordinal level as the Ralliformes. Given the uncertainty about gruiform monophyly, this may or may not be correct; it certainly seems more justified than most of the Sibley-Ahlquist proposals. On the other hand, such a group would probably also include the Heliornithidae (finfoots and Sungrebe), an exclusively tropical group that is somewhat convergent with grebes, and usually united with the rails in the Ralli.

Extant (living) genera

Water Rail, Rallus aquaticus

Water Rail, Rallus aquaticus

Red-legged Crake, Rallina fasciata

Red-legged Crake, Rallina fasciata

  • Himantornis – Nkulengu Rail
  • Sarothrura – flufftails (9 species)
  • Canirallus (3 species)
  • Coturnicops (3 species)
  • Micropygia – Ocellated Crake
  • Rallina – forest rails (8 species)
  • Anurolimnas (3 species)
  • Atlantisia – Inaccessible Island Rail
  • Laterallus (10 species)
  • Nesoclopeus (1 living species, 1 recently extinct)
  • Gallirallus – Austropacific rails (11-12 living species, 3-5 recently extinct)
  • Rallus – typical rails (some 9 living species)
  • Lewinia (3 species; sometimes included in Rallus)
  • Dryolimnas (1 living species, 1 recently extinct)
  • Crecopsis – African Crake (sometimes included in Crex)
  • Crex – Corn Crake
  • Rougetius – Rouget’s Rail
  • Aramidopsis – Snoring Rail
  • Aramides – wood rails (8-9 living species, possibly 1 recently extinct)
  • Amaurolimnas – Uniform Crake
  • Gymnocrex (3 species)
  • Amaurornis – bush-hens (9 species)
  • Porzana – typical crakes (13 living species, 4-5 recently extinct)
  • Aenigmatolimnas – Striped Crake
  • Cyanolimnas – Zapata Rail
  • Neocrex (2 species)
  • Pardirallus (3 species)
  • Eulabeornis – Chestnut Rail
  • Habroptila – Invisible Rail
  • Megacrex – New Guinea Flightless Rail
  • Gallicrex – Watercock
  • Porphyrio – swamphens and purple gallinules (6 living species, 2-5 recently extinct; includes Notornis and Porphyrula)
  • Gallinula – typical gallinules (7-9 living species, 1-3 recently extinct; includes Edithornis and Pareudiastes)
  • Fulica – coots (c.10 living species, 1 recently extinct)
Immature Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana)

Immature Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana)

Additionally, there are many prehistoric rails of extant genera, known only from fossil or subfossil remains, such as the Ibiza Rail (Rallus eivissensis). These have not been listed here; see the genus accounts and the articles on fossil and Late Quaternary prehistoric birds for these species.

Recently extinct genera

Dusky Moorhen, Gallinula tenebrosa

Dusky Moorhen, Gallinula tenebrosa

  • Genus Nesotrochis– cave-rails (3 species; extinctprehistoric or later)
    • Antillean Cave Rail, Nesotrochis debooyi (Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands, West Indies) – may have survived until historic times
    • Haitian Cave-Rail, Nesotrochis steganinos (Haiti, West Indies) – prehistoric
    • Cuban Cave-Rail, Nesotrochis picapicensis (Cuba, West Indies) – prehistoric
  • Genus Diaphorapteryx – Hawkins’ Rail (extinct 19th century)
  • Genus Aphanapteryx (2 species; extinct mid-18th century)
  • Genus Cabalus – Chatham Rail (sometimes included in Gallirallus; extinct c. 1900)
  • Genus Mundia – Ascension Crake – formerly included in Atlantisia; (late 17th century)
  • Genus Aphanocrex – St Helena Swamphen (formerly included in Atlantisia; extinct 16th century)

The undescribed Fernando de Noronha Rail, genus and species undetermined, probably survived to historic times.

Late Quaternary prehistoric extinctions

  • Genus Capellirallus – Snipe-rail
  • Genus Vitirallus – Viti Levu Rail. The holotype of Vitirallus watlingiis in the collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
  • Genus Hovacrex – Hova-gallinule

Fossil record

Fossil species of long-extinct prehistoric rails are richly documented from the well-researched formations of Europe and North America, as well from the less comprehensively studied strata elsewhere:

  • Genus Eocrex (Wasatch Early Eocene of Steamboat Springs, USA)
  • Genus Palaeorallus (Wasatch Early Eocene of Wyoming, USA)
  • Genus Parvirallus (Early – Middle Eocene of England)
  • Genus Aletornis (Bridger Middle Eocene of Uinta County, USA) – includes Protogrus
  • Genus Fulicaletornis (Bridger Middle Eocene of Henry’s Fork, USA)
  • Genus Latipons (Middle Eocene of Lee-on-Solent, England)
  • Genus Ibidopsis (Hordwell Late Eocene of Hordwell, UK)
  • Genus Quercyrallus (Late Eocene -? Late Oligocene of France)
  • Genus Belgirallus (Early Oligocene of WC Europe)
  • Genus Rallicrex (Corbula Middle/Late Oligocene of Kolzsvár, Romania)
  • Rallidae gen. et sp. indet. (Late Oligocene of Billy-Créchy, France)
  • Genus Palaeoaramides (Late Oligocene/Early Miocene – Late Miocene of France)
  • Genus Rhenanorallus (Late Oligocene/Early Miocene of Mainz Basin, Germany)
  • Genus Paraortygometra (Late Oligocene/?Early Miocene -? Middle Miocene of France) – includes Microrallus
  • Genus Pararallus (Late Oligocene? – Late Miocene of C Europe) – possibly belongs in Palaeoaramides
  • Rallidae gen. et sp. indet. (Bathans Early/Middle Miocene of Otago, New Zealand)
  • Rallidae gen. et sp. indet. (Bathans Early/Middle Miocene of Otago, New Zealand)
  • Genus Miofulica (Anversian Black Sand Middle Miocene of Antwerp, Belgium)
  • Genus Miorallus (Middle Miocene of Sansan, France -? Late Miocene of Rudabánya, Hungary)
  • Genus Youngornis (Shanwang Middle Miocene of Linqu, China)
  • Rallidae gen. et sp. indet. (Sajóvölgyi Middle Miocene of Mátraszõlõs, Hungary)
  • Rallidae gen. et sp. indet. (Middle Miocene of Grive-Saint-Alban, France)
  • Rallidae gen. et sp. indet. (Late Miocene of Lemoyne Quarry, USA)
  • Rallidae gen. et sp. indet. UMMP V55013-55014; UMMP V55012/V45750/V45746 (Rexroad Late Pliocene of Saw Rock Canyon, USA)
  • Rallidae gen. et sp. indet. UMMP V29080 (Rexroad Late Pliocene of Fox Canyon, USA)
  • Genus Creccoides (Blanco Late Pliocene/Early Pleistocene of Crosby County, USA)
  • Rallidae gen. et sp. indet. (Bermuda, West Atlantic)
  • Rallidae gen. et sp. indet. (formerly Fulica podagrica) (Late Pleistocene of Barbados)
  • Genus Pleistorallus (mid-Pleistocene New Zealand).[21] The holotype of Pleistorallus flemingiis in the collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.[22]

Doubtfully placed here

These taxa may or may not have been rails:

  • Genus Ludiortyx (Late Eocene) – includes “Tringa” hoffmanni, “Palaeortyx” blanchardi, “P.” hoffmanni
  • Genus Telecrex (Irdin Manha Late Eocene of Chimney Butte, China)
  • Genus Amitabha (Bridger middle Eocene of Forbidden City, USA) – phasianid?
  • Genus Palaeocrex (Early Oligocene of Trigonias Quarry, USA)
  • Genus Rupelrallus (Early Oligocene of Germany)
  • Neornithes incerta sedis (Late Oligocene of Riversleigh, Australia)
  • Genus Euryonotus (Pleistocene of Argentina)

The presumed scolopacid wader Limosa gypsorum (Montmartre Late Eocene of France) is sometimes considered a rail and then placed in the genus Montirallus.




By norazmibinahmad Posted in Famili


Satyr Tragopan

Satyr Tragopan

The Phasianidae is a family of birds which consists of the pheasants and partridges, including the junglefowl (including chicken), Old World Quail, francolins, monals and peafowl. The family is a large one, and is occasionally broken up into two subfamilies, the Phasianinae, and the Perdicinae. Sometimes additional families and birds are treated as being in this family as well; the American Ornithologists’ Union includes Tetraonidae (the grouse), Numididae (guineafowls), and Meleagrididae (turkeys) in Phasianidae as subfamilies.

The earliest fossil records of phasianids date to the late Oligocene epoch, about 30 million years ago.


The pheasants and their allies are an Old World family, with a distribution that includes most of Europe and Asia (except the far north), all of Africa except the driest deserts and down into much of eastern Australia and (formerly) New Zealand. The greatest diversity of species is in Southeast Asia and Africa. Amongst the pheasants, with the exception of the Congo Peafowl, the distribution is entirely restricted to Asia; the Perdicinae have a much more widespread distribution. Within their range they occupy almost every available habitat except for boreal forest and tundra.

The family is generally sedentary and resident, although some quails undertake long migrations. Several species in the family have been widely introduced around the world, particularly pheasants which have been introduced to Europe, Australia and the Americas. Captive populations of peacocks and chickens have also escaped and become feral.


Phasianids are terrestrial, ground living species. They are variable in size and ranging from 43 g, in the case of the King Quail, to 6 kg in the case of the Indian Peafowl. There is generally sexual dimorphism in size, with males tending to be larger than females. They are generally plump, with broad relatively short wings and strong legs. Many have a spur on their legs, a feature shared with guineafowl and turkeys but no other galliform birds. The bill is short and generally strong, particularly in species that dig in order to obtain food. Males of the larger species often have brightly coloured plumage as well as facial ornamentations such as wattles or crests.


The pheasants and partridges have a varied diet, with foods taken ranging from purely vegetarian diets of seeds, leaves, fruits, tubers and roots, to small animals including insects, insect grubs and even small reptiles. Most species either specialise in feeding on plant matter or are predatory, although the chicks of most species are insectivorous.

In addition to the variation in diet there is a considerable amount of variation in breeding strategies amongst the Phasianidae. Compared to birds in general there is a large number of species that do not engage in monogamy (the typical breeding system of most birds). The francolins of Africa and some partridges are reportedly monogamous, but polygamy has been reported in the pheasants and junglefowl, some quail, and the breeding displays of peacocks have been compared to those of a lek. Nesting usually occurs on the ground; only the tragopans nest higher up in stumps of bushes. Nests can vary from monds of vegetation to slight scrapes in the ground. As many as 18 eggs can be laid in the nest, although 7-12 is the more usual number, with smaller numbers in tropical species. Incubation is almost always performed by the female only, and last from 14–30 days depending on the species.

Relationship with humans

Several species of pheasant and partridge are extremely important to humans. The Red Junglefowl of Southeast Asia is the wild ancestor of the domesticated chicken, the most important bird in agriculture. Ring-necked Pheasants, several partridge and quail species and some francolins have been widely introduced and managed as game birds for hunting. Several species are threatened by human activities.

Species List

  • Genus Ithaginis
    • Blood Pheasant, (Ithaginis cruentus)
  • Genus Tragopan
    • Western Tragopan, (Tragopan melanocephalus)
    • Satyr Tragopan, (Tragopan satyra)
    • Blyth’s Tragopan, (Tragopan blythii)
    • Temminck’s Tragopan, (Tragopan temminckii)
    • Cabot’s Tragopan, (Tragopan caboti)
  • Genus Pucrasia
    • Koklass Pheasant, (Pucrasia macrolopha)
  • Genus Lophura, Gallopheasants
    • Kalij Pheasant, (L. leucomelanos)
      • White-crested Kalij Pheasant, (L. l. hamiltoni)
      • Nepal Kalij Pheasant, (L. l. leucomelanos)
      • Black-backed Kalij Pheasant, (L. l. melanota)
      • Black Kalij Pheasant, (L. l. moffitti)
      • Black-breasted Kalij Pheasant, (L. l. lathami)
      • William’s Kalij Pheasant, (L. l. williamsi)
      • Oates’ Kalij Pheasant, (L. l. oatesi)
      • Crawfurd’s Kalij Pheasant, (L. l. crawfurdi)
      • Lineated Kalij Pheasant, (L. l. lineata)
    • Silver Pheasant, (L. nycthemera)
    • Imperial Pheasant, (Lophura imperialis)
    • Edward’s Pheasant, (Lophura edwardsi)
    • Vietnamese Pheasant, (Lophura hatinhensis)
    • Swinhoe’s Pheasant, (Lophura swinhoii)
    • Hoogerwerf’s Pheasant, (Lophura hoogerwerfi)
    • Salvadori’s Pheasant, (Lophura inornata)
    • Crestless Fireback, (Lophura erythrophthalma)
      • Malayan Crestless Fireback, (L. e. erythrophthalma)
      • Bornean Crestless Fireback, (L. e. pyronota)
    • Crested Fireback, Lophura ignita
      • Lesser Bornean Crested Fireback, (L. i. ignita)
      • Greater Bornean Crested Fireback, (L. i. nobilis)
      • Vieilott’s Crested Fireback, (L. i. rufa)
      • Delacour’s Crested Fireback, (L. i. macartneyi)
    • Siamese Fireback, (Lophura diardi)
    • Bulwer’s Pheasant, (Lophura bulweri)
  • Genus Crossoptilon, Eared Pheasants
    • White-eared Pheasant, (Crossoptilon crossoptilon)
    • Tibetan Eared Pheasant, (Crossoptilon harmani)
    • Brown Eared Pheasant, (Crossoptilon mantchuricum)
    • Blue Eared Pheasant, (Crossoptilon auritum)
  • Genus Catreus
    • Cheer Pheasant, (Catreus wallichi)
  • Genus Syrmaticus, Long-tailed Pheasants
    • Reeve’s Pheasant, (Syrmaticus reevesi)
    • Elliot’s Pheasant, (Syrmaticus ellioti)
    • Mrs. Hume’s Pheasant, (Syrmaticus humiae)
    • Mikado Pheasant, (Syrmaticus mikado)
    • Copper Pheasant, (Syrmaticus soemmerringi)
  • Genus Phasianus, Typical Pheasants
    • Green Pheasant (Phasianus versicolor)
    • Common Pheasant, (Phasianus colchicus)
  • Genus Chrysolophus, Ruffed Pheasants
    • Golden Pheasant, (Chrysolophus pictus)
    • Lady Amherst’s Pheasant, (Chrysolophus amherstiae)
  • Genus Polyplectron, Peacock-Pheasants
    • Bronze-tailed Peacock-Pheasant, (Polyplectron chalcurum)
    • Mountain Peacock-Pheasant, (Polyplectron inopinatum)
    • Germain’s Peacock-Pheasant, (Polyplectron germaini)
    • Grey Peacock-Pheasant, (Polyplectron bicalcaratum)
    • Hainan Peacock-Pheasant, (Polyplectron katsumatae)
    • Malayan Peacock-Pheasant, (Polyplectron malacense)
    • Bornean Peacock-Pheasant, (Polyplectron schleiermacheri)
    • Palawan Peacock-Pheasant, (Polyplectron emphanum)
  • Genus Lophophorus
    • Himalayan Monal, (Lophophorus impejanus)
    • Sclater’s Monal, (Lophophorus sclateri)
    • Chinese Monal, (Lophophorus lhuysii)
  • Genus Rheinartia
    • Crested Argus, (Rheinartia ocellata)
  • Genus Argusianus
    • Great Argus, (Argusianus argus)
    • Double-banded Argus, (Argusianus bipunctatus )
  • Genus Pavo
    • Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus)
    • Green Peafowl, (Pavo muticus)
  • Genus Afropavo
    • Congo Peacock, (Afropavo congensis)



By norazmibinahmad Posted in Famili


Feral Pigeon (Columba livia domestica) in flight

Feral Pigeon (Columba livia domestica) in flight

Pigeons and doves constitute the bird family Columbidae within the order Columbiformes, which include some 300 species of near passerines. In general terms “dove” and “pigeon” are used somewhat interchangeably. In ornithological practice, there is a tendency for “dove” 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 “dove” and “pigeon.” This family occurs worldwide, but the greatest variety is in the Indomalaya and Australasia ecozones. Young doves and pigeons are called “squabs.”

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks, and have short slender bills with a fleshy cere. The species commonly referred to just as “pigeon” is the Feral Rock Pigeon, common in many cities.

Doves and pigeons build relatively flimsy nests from 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, and both parents care for the young, which leave the nest after 7 to 28 days.[1] Doves feed on seeds, fruit and plants. Unlike most other birds (but see flamingo), the doves and pigeons produce “crop milk”, which is secreted by a sloughing of fluid-filled cells from the lining of the crop. Both sexes produce this highly nutritious substance to feed to the young.


The Common Ground Dove is among the smallest species in the family

The Common Ground Dove is among the smallest species in the family

Pigeons and doves exhibit considerable variations in size. The largest species are the crowned pigeons of New Guinea, which are nearly turkey-sized, at a weight of 2-4 kilograms (4.4-8.8 lbs.) The smallest are the New World ground-doves of the genus Columbina, which are the same size as a House Sparrow and weigh as little as 22 grams. With a total length of more than 50 centimeters (19 in) and weight of almost a kilo (2 lb), the largest arboreal species is the Marquesan Imperial Pigeon, while the Dwarf Fruit Dove, which may measure as little as 13 centimeters (5.1 in), has a marginally smaller total length than any other species from this family.Smaller species tend to be known as doves, while larger species as pigeons, but there is no taxonomic basis for distinguishing between the two.

Overall, the Columbidae tend to have short bills and legs, small heads on large compact bodies. The wings are large and have low wing loadings; pigeons have strong wing muscles (wing muscles comprise 31–44% of their body weight) and are amongst the strongest fliers of all birds. They are also highly maneuverable in flight.

The plumage of the family is variable. Granivorous species tend to have dull plumage, with a few exceptions, whereas the frugivorous species have brightly coloured plumage.[2] The Ptilinopus fruit doves are some of the brightest coloured pigeons, with the three endemic species of Fiji and the Indian Ocean Alectroenas being amongst the brightest coloured. Pigeons and doves may be sexually monochromatic or dichromatic. In addition to bright colours pigeons may sport crests or other ornamentation.

Like some other birds, the Columbidae have no gall bladder.[3] Some medieval naturalists concluded that they have no gall, which in the medieval theory of the four humours explained the allegedly sweet disposition of doves.[4] In fact, however, they do have gall (as Aristotle already realised), which is secreted directly into the gut.

Distribution and habitat

The Common Bronzewing has a widespread distribution across all of Australia and lives in most habitat types except dense rainforest and the driest deserts

The Common Bronzewing has a widespread distribution across all of Australia and lives in most habitat types except dense rainforest and the driest deserts

Pigeons and doves are distributed everywhere on Earth, except for the driest areas of the Sahara Desert, Antarctica and its surrounding islands and the high Arctic. They have colonised most of the world’s oceanic islands, reaching eastern Polynesia and the Chatham Islands in the Pacific, Mauritius, the Seychelles and Réunion in the Indian Ocean, and the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean.

The family has adapted to most of the habitats available on the planet. The largest number of species are found in tropical forests and woodlands, where they may be arboreal, terrestrial or semi-terrestrial. Various species also inhabit savannas, grasslands, deserts, temperate woodlands and forests, mangrove forests, and even the barren sands and gravels of atolls.

Some species have large natural ranges. The Eared Dove ranges across the entirety of South America from Colombia to Tierra Del Fuego, the Eurasian Collared Dove has a massive (if discontinuous) distribution from Britain across Europe, the Middle East, India, Pakistan and China, and the Laughing Dove across most of sub-Saharan Africa as well as India,Pakistan and the Middle-east. Other species have a tiny restricted distribution; this is most common in island endemics. The Whistling Dove is endemic to the tiny Kadavu Island in Fiji, the Caroline Ground-dove is restricted to two islands, Truk and Pohnpei in the Caroline Islands and the Grenada Dove is restricted to Grenada in the Caribbean. Some continental species also have tiny distributions; for example the Black-banded Fruit Dove is restricted to a small area of the Arnhem Land of Australia, the Somali Pigeon is restricted to a tiny area of northern Somalia, and Moreno’s Ground Dove is restricted to the area around Salta and Tucuman in northern Argentina.

California High Desert Mourning Dove and Squabs Nesting in Protected Cactus Palace.

California High Desert Mourning Dove and Squabs Nesting in Protected Cactus Palace.

The Zebra Dove has been widely introduced around the world.

The Zebra Dove has been widely introduced around the world.

The largest range of any species is that of the Rock Dove. The species had a large natural distribution from Britain and Ireland to northern Africa, across Europe, Arabia, Central Asia, India, the Himalayas and up into China and Mongolia. The range of the species increased dramatically upon domestication as the species went feral in cities around the world. The species is currently resident across most of North America, and has established itself in cities and urban areas in South America, sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. The species is not the only pigeon to have increased its range due to actions of man; several other species have become established outside of their natural range after escaping captivity, and other species have increased their natural ranges due to habitat changes caused by human activities.


The White-bellied Green Pigeon feeding on fruit

The White-bellied Green Pigeon feeding on fruit

Seeds and fruit form the major component of the diet of pigeons and doves. In fact, the family can be divided into the seed eating or granivorous species (subfamily Columbinae) and the fruit eating or frugivorous species (the other four subfamilies). The granivorous typically feed on seed found on the ground, whereas the species that feed on fruit and mast tend to feed in trees. There are morphological adaptations that can be used to distinguish between the two groups, granivorous species tend to have thick walls in the gizzards, whereas the frugivores tend to have thin walls. In addition fruit eating species have short intestines whereas those that eat seeds have longer ones. Frugivores are capable of clinging to branches and even hang upside down to reach fruit.[2]

In addition to fruit and seeds a number of other food items are taken by many species. Some species, particularly the ground-doves and quail-doves take a large number of prey items such as insects and worms. One species, the Atoll Fruit Dove is specialised in taking insect and reptile prey. Snails, moths and other insects are taken by White-crowned Pigeons, Orange Doves and Ruddy Ground Doves.

Evolutionary speculations

This family is a highly coherent group with no members showing obvious links with other bird families, or vice versa. The dodo and solitaires are clearly related, as discussed below, but equally lacking in obvious links with other bird families. The limited fossil record also consists only of unequivocal Columbidae species. Links to the sandgrouse and parrots have been suggested, but resemblances to the first group are due to convergent evolution[citation needed] and the second depend on the parrot-like features of the Tooth-billed Pigeon. However, the distinctive features of that bird seem to have arisen from its specialized diet rather than a real relationship to the parrots[citation needed].

The family is usually divided into five subfamilies, but this is probably inaccurate. For example, the American ground and quail doves which are usually placed in the Columbinae seem to be two distinct subfamilies.The order presented here follows Baptista et al. (1997) with some updates (Johnson & Clayton 2000, Johnson et al. 2001, Shapiro et al. 2002).

The arrangement of genera and naming of subfamilies is in some cases provisional because analysis of different DNA sequences yield results that differ, often radically, in the placement of certain (mainly Indo-Australian) genera. This ambiguity, probably caused by long branch attraction, seems to confirm that the first pigeons evolved in the Australasian region, and that the “Treronidae” and allied forms (crowned and pheasant pigeons, for example) represent the earliest radiation of the group.

As the Dodo and Rodrigues Solitaire are in all likelihood part of the Indo-Australian radiation that produced the 3 small subfamilies mentioned above with the fruit doves and -pigeons (including the Nicobar Pigeon), they are here included as a subfamily Raphinae, pending better material evidence of their exact relationships.

Exacerbating these issues, columbids are not well represented in the fossil record. No truly primitive forms have been found to date. The genus Gerandia has been described from Early Miocene deposits of France, but while it was long believed to be a pigeon it is more likely a sandgrouse. Fragmentary remains of a probably “ptilinopine” Early Miocene pigeon were found in the Bannockburn Formation of New Zealand and described as Rupephaps; “Columba” prattae from roughly contemporary deposits of Florida is nowadays tentatively separated in Arenicolumba, but its distinctness from Patagioenas needs to be more firmly established. Apart from that, all other fossils belong to extant genera. For these, and for the considerable number of more recently extinct prehistoric species, see the respective genus accounts.

Emerald Dove, Chalcophaps indica, native to tropical southern Asia and Australia

Emerald Dove, Chalcophaps indica, native to tropical southern Asia and Australia

Luzon Bleeding-heart Pigeon Gallicolumba crinigera, native to the Philippines

Luzon Bleeding-heart Pigeon Gallicolumba crinigera, native to the Philippines

Ruddy Ground Dove

Ruddy Ground Dove


A list of all the species, sortable by common and scientific name, is at list of Columbidae species

Family Columbidae

  • Subfamily Columbinae– typical pigeons & doves
    • Genus Columba including Aplopelia – Old World pigeons (33-34 living species, 2-3 recently extinct)
    • Genus Streptopelia including Stigmatopelia and Nesoenas[verification needed] – turtledoves (14-18 living species)
    • Genus Patagioenas – American pigeons; formerly in Columba (17 species)
    • Genus Ectopistes – Passenger Pigeon; formerly Leptotilinae (extinct; 1914)
    • Genus Macropygia (10 species)
    • Genus Reinwardtoena (3 species)
    • Genus Turacoena (2 species)
  • Subfamily N.N.– Bronzewings and relatives
    • Genus Turtur – African wood-doves (5 species; tentatively placed here)
    • Genus Oena – Namaqua Dove (tentatively placed here)
    • Genus Chalcophaps (2 species)
    • Genus Henicophaps (2 species)
    • Genus Phaps (3 species)
    • Genus Ocyphaps – Crested Pigeon
    • Genus Geophaps (3 species)
    • Genus Petrophassa – rock-pigeons (2 species)
    • Genus Geopelia (3–5 species)
  • Subfamily Leptotilinae– Zenaidine and quail-doves
    • Genus Zenaida (7 species)
    • Genus Leptotila (11 species)
    • Genus Geotrygon – quail-doves (16 species)
    • Genus Starnoenas – Blue-headed Quail-Dove
  • Subfamily Columbininae– American ground doves
    • Genus Columbina (7 species)
    • Genus Claravis (3 species)
    • Genus Metriopelia (4 species)
    • Genus Scardafella – possibly belongs into Columbina (2 species)
    • Genus Uropelia – Long-tailed Ground Dove
  • Subfamily N.N.– Indopacific ground doves
    • Genus Gallicolumba (16-17 living species, 3-4 recently extinct)
    • Genus Trugon – Thick-billed Ground Pigeon
  • Subfamily Otidiphabinae– Pheasant Pigeon
    • Genus Otidiphaps – Pheasant Pigeon
  • Subfamily Didunculinae– Tooth-billed Pigeon
    • Genus Didunculus – Tooth-billed Pigeon
  • Subfamily Gourinae– crowned pigeons
    • Genus Goura (3 species)
  • Subfamily N.N. (“Treroninae”)– green and fruit doves and imperial pigeons
    • Genus Ducula – imperial-pigeons (36 species)
    • Genus Lopholaimus – Topknot Pigeon
    • Genus Hemiphaga (2 species)
    • Genus Cryptophaps – Sombre Pigeon
    • Genus Gymnophaps – mountain-pigeons (3 species)
    • Genus Ptilinopus – fruit doves (some 50 living species, 1-2 recently extinct)
    • Genus Natunaornis – Viti Levu Giant Pigeon (prehistoric)
    • Genus Drepanoptila – Cloven-feathered Dove
    • Genus Alectroenas – blue pigeons (3 living species)
  • Subfamily Raphinae– didines
    • Genus Raphus – Dodo (extinct; late 17th century)
    • Genus Pezophaps – Rodrigues Solitaire (extinct; c.1730)
  • Placement unresolved
    • Genus Caloenas – Nicobar Pigeon
    • Genus Treron – green pigeons (23 species)
    • Genus Phapitreron – brown doves (3 species)
    • Genus Leucosarcia – Wonga Pigeon
    • Genus Microgoura – Choiseul Crested Pigeon (extinct; early 20th century)
    • Genus Dysmoropelia – Saint Helena Dove (extinct)
    • Genus Bountyphaps – Henderson Island Archaic Pigeon (prehistoric)


By norazmibinahmad Posted in Famili


The bird family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels, and lapwings, about 64 to 66 species in all.

Snowy Plover (Charadrius nivosus)


They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings, but most species of lapwing may have more rounded wings. Their bill are usually straight (except for the Wrybill) and short, their toes are short, hind toe could be reduced or absent, depending on species. Most Charadriidae also have relatively short tails, the Killdeer is the exception. In most genera, the sexes are similar, very little sexual dimorphism occurs between sexes. They range in size from the Collared Plover, at 26 grams and 14 cm (5.5 inches), to the Masked Lapwing, at 368 grams (13 oz) and 35 cm (14 inches).


They are distributed through open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water, although there are some exceptions: the Inland Dotterel, for example, prefers stony ground in the deserts of central and western Australia.

Diet and feeding

They hunt by sight, rather than by feel as longer-billed waders like snipe do. Foods eaten include aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates such as insects, worms, molluscs and crustaceans depending on habitat, and are usually obtained by a run-and-pause technique, rather than the steady probing of some other wader groups. They also feed on plant material.


While breeding, they defend their territories with highly visible aerial displays. Charadriidae are protective over their eggs and offspring. The parents protect their young by uttering an alarm call, performing distraction display and they may even attack the predator or intruder. Both parents take care of their offspring. The chicks are precocial; their parents do not feed them. Most species are monogamous, while less are polygamous.

Most members of the family are known as plovers, lapwings or dotterels. These were rather vague terms which were not applied with any great consistency in the past. In general, larger species have often been called lapwings, smaller species plovers or dotterels and there are in fact two clear taxonomic sub-groups: most lapwings belong to the subfamily Vanellinae, most plovers and dotterels to Charadriinae.

The trend in recent years has been to rationalise the common names of the Charadriidae. For example, the large and very common Australian bird traditionally known as the ‘Spur-winged Plover’, is now the Masked Lapwing; the former ‘Sociable Plover’ is now the Sociable Lapwing.