T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Pigeon (Rock) Columba livia

Phylum: Chordata 
Class: Aves 
Order: Columbiformes
Family: Columbidae
Genera: Columba 
Species: livia
Scientific name: Columba livia 
Common names: Rock pigeon, Rock dove, Feral pigeon

Rock or feral pigeons Northern hemisphere rock pigeons (Columba livia) are native to Eurasia. They were brought to New Zealand by early settlers as pets and as racing or messenger pigeons, and they rapidly established large wild populations. Habitat and foods.
Rock pigeons prefer to roost and nest under overhangs on rock ledges. Their main populations are on coastal sea cliffs, inland gorges and bluffs, and urban sites offering sheltered ledges. They eat grains, legumes such as peas and beans, and sometimes slugs and snails. In cities, they scavenge for scraps. Rock pigeons are about 400 grams in weight and 33 centimetres long. They vary in colour, but most are contrasting shades of grey with glossy green, pink and purple neck feathers.
Pigeon post From 1897 to 1908 Great Barrier Island had a regular pigeon-post service to Auckland and boasted the world’s first airmail stamps. Initially, the service was one-way, with birds trained to return to a dovecote in Auckland. They went back to the island on the weekly steamer. Up to five messages (including shopping lists) were written on lightweight tissue paper – known as flimsies – and rolled up in an aluminium capsule attached to one leg. The birds usually covered the 92 kilometres in less than two hours, but the speed record was held by a pigeon named Velocity who took just 50 minutes – an average speed of 125 kilometres per hour.

this information is from http://www.teara.govt.nz


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