Great cuckoo dove Reinwardtoena reinwardtsi, photographed by Rob Hutchinson.

Belongs within: Columbaves.
Contains: Columbigallina, Aplopelia, Leptotila, Zenaida, Geotrygon, Macropygia, Patagioenas, Columba, Streptopelia, Stigmatopelia, Treroninae, Columbina.

The Columbidae include the pigeons and doves, a distinctive family of mostly herbivorous, strong-flying birds found worldwide. Earlier authors mostly divided this family between the Treroninae for the palaeotropical fruit pigeons and Columbinae for the remaining 'true pigeons', with a few more small subfamilies for certain distinctive taxa, but this scheme has not been supported by molecular phylogenetic analyses (Shapiro et al. 2002; Jetz et al. 2012). Instead, a clade of New World taxa including the genera Geotrygon (quail-doves), Leptotila and Zenaida (mourning doves) may form one of the basal divisions within the columbids. Its sister-clade, containing the remaining species, is most diverse in the Old World, though it does include the New World ground doves (Claravis, Columbina and related genera). The now-extinct passenger pigeon Ectopistes migratorius of North America may be a relatively basal member of this clade; the passenger pigeon was a slender, long-winged and -tailed pigeon adapted for strong, rapid flight.

Characters (from Austin 1961): Stout-bodied, neck rather short, head small. Bill short, slender, rounded, usually thickening toward tip and thinner in the middle; nostrils emerging through fleshy cere at base of bill. Plumage a thick, heavy coat of strong-shafted feathers, loosely attached to thin skin so as to drop out easily.

Columbidae (see below for synonymy)
    |--+--+--+--‘Geotrygon’ veraguensis BKB15
    |  |  |  `--Leptotila SS02
    |  |  `--+--Zenaida SS02
    |  |     `--Geotrygon SS02
    |  `--+--+--‘Geotrygon’ purpurata BKB15
    |     |  `--‘Geotrygon’ saphirina BKB15
    |     `--+--‘Geotrygon’ versicolor BKB15
    |        `--+--‘Geotrygon’ montana BKB15
    |           |    |--G. m. montana MS55
    |           |    `--G. m. martinica MS55
    |           `--‘Geotrygon’ violacea BKB15
    `--+--+--Ectopistes Swainson 1827 BKB15, B94 [Ectopistinae]
       |  |    `--E. migratorius SS02
       |  `--+--+--Macropygia SS02
       |     |  `--Reinwardtoena JT12
       |     |       |--R. browni JT12
       |     |       |--R. crassirostris JT12
       |     |       `--R. reinwardtsi JT12
       |     |            |--R. r. reinwardtsi T62
       |     |            |--R. r. albida T62
       |     |            |--R. r. brevis T62
       |     |            `--R. r. griseotincta T62
       |     `--+--Patagioenas BKB15
       |        `--+--Columba SS02
       |           `--+--Streptopelia SS02
       |              `--+--Stigmatopelia JT12
       |                 `--Nesoenas SS02
       |                      |--N. mayeri SS02
       |                      `--N. picturata JT12 [=Streptopelia picturata BKB15, Turtur picturatus S66]
       |                           |--N. p. picturata L81
       |                           |--‘Streptopelia’ p. aldabrana L81
       |                           |--‘Streptopelia’ p. chuni L81
       |                           |--‘Streptopelia’ p. comorensis L81
       |                           |--‘Streptopelia’ p. rostrata L81
       |                           `--‘Streptopelia’ p. saturata L81
       `--+--Treroninae SS02
          `--+--Claravis Oberholser 1899 JT12, B94 [incl. Peristera Swainson 1827 B94]
             |    |--C. geoffroyi HSS13
             |    |--C. godefrida JT12
             |    |--C. mondetoura JT12
             |    |--C. pretiosa JT12
             |    |--‘Peristera’ principalis Hartlaub in Dohrn 1866 D66
             |    |--‘Peristera’ simplex D66
             |    `--‘Peristera’ tympanistria S66
             `--+--Uropelia campestris JT12
                `--+--Columbina SS02
                   `--Metriopelia JT12
                        |--M. aymara JT12
                        `--+--M. melanoptera JT12
                           `--+--M. ceciliae JT12 [=Gymnopelia ceciliae T62]
                              |    |--M. c. ceciliae T62
                              |    |--M. c. obsoleta T62
                              |    `--M. c. zimmeri [=Gymnopelia ceciliae zimmeri] T62
                              `--M. morenoi JT12

Columbidae incertae sedis:
  Zenaidura T62
    |--Z. auriculata T62
    |    |--Z. a. auriculata T62
    |    `--Z. a. stenura T62
    |--Z. graysoni RN72
    `--Z. macroura T62
         |--Z. m. macroura T62
         |--Z. m. carolinensis T62
         `--Z. m. marginella T62
  Columbigallina T62
  Tympanistria tympanistria T62
    |--T. t. tympanistria T62
    `--T. t. fraseri T62
  Oreopeleia T62
    |--O. chiriquensis RN72
    |--O. chrysia RN72
    |--O. martinica RN72
    |--O. montana S18
    `--O. mystacea T62
         |--O. m. mystacea T62
         `--O. m. sabae T62
  Aplopelia JT12
  Coryphoenas T62
  Nesopelia galapagoensis RN72
  Oxypelia T62
  Lophophaps T62
    |--L. ferruginea Gould 1865 WS48 (see below for synonymy)
    `--L. leucogaster R87
  Osculatia T62
  Melopelia asiatica FS55
  Starnoenas Bonaparte 1838 [Starnoenadinae] B94
    `--S. cyanocephala JT12
  Erythroenas pulcherrima B66
  Scardafella SS02
    |--S. inca L81
    `--S. squammata (Lesson 1831) ME04
  Dysmoropelia dekarchiskos HSS13
  Rupephaps Worthy, Hand et al. 2009 CC10
    `--*R. taketake Worthy, Hand et al. 2009 CC10
  Calopelia puella PB27
    |--C. p. puella PB27
    `--C. p. brehmeri PB27

Columbidae [Claravinae, Columbae, Columbiformes, Columbinae, Columbini, Palumbinae, Peristeridae, Peristerinae, Turturidae]

Lophophaps ferruginea Gould 1865 WS48 [=Geophaps plumifera ferruginea M03; incl. L. ferruginea mungi Mathews 1912 WS48]

*Type species of generic name indicated


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[B66] Bartlett, A. D. 1866. Notes on the breeding of several species of birds in the Society's gardens during the year 1865. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 76–79.

[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1–281.

[BKB15] Burleigh, J. G., R. T. Kimball & E. L. Braun. 2015. Building the avian tree of life using a large-scale, sparse supermatrix. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84: 53–63.

[CC10] Checklist Committee (OSNZ). 2010. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica 4th ed. Ornithological Society of New Zealand and Te Papa Press: Wellington.

[D66] Dohrn, H. 1866. Synopsis of the birds of Ilha do Principe, with some remarks on their habits and descriptions of new species. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 324–332.

[FS55] Felten, H., & J. Steinbacher. 1955. Zur Vogelfauna von El Salvador. Senckenbergiana Biologica 36 (1–2): 9–19.

[HSS13] Hirschfeld, E., A. Swash & R. Still. 2013. The World's Rarest Birds. Princeton University Press: Princeton (New Jersey).

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444–448.

[L81] Long, J. L. 1981. Introduced Birds of the World: The worldwide history, distribution and influence of birds introduced to new environments. Reed: Sydney.

[ME04] Mayr, G., & P. G. P. Ericson. 2004. Evidence for a sister group relationship between the Madagascan mesites (Mesitornithidae) and the cuckoos (Cuculidae). Senckenbergiana Biologica 84 (1–2): 1–17.

[MS55] Mertens, R., & J. Steinbacher. 1955. Die im Senckenberg-Museum vorhandenen Arten ausgestorbener, aussterbender oder seltener Vögel. Senckenbergiana Biologica 36 (3–4): 241–265.

[M03] Morcombe, M. 2003. Field Guide to Australian Birds 2nd ed. Steve Parish Publishing.

[PB27] Pilsbry, H. A., & J. Bequaert. 1927. The aquatic mollusks of the Belgian Congo, with a geographical and ecological account of Congo malacology. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 53 (2): 69–602, pls 10–77.

[R87] Ramsay, E. P. 1887. List of Western Australian birds collected by Mr. Cairn, and Mr. W. H. Boyer-Bower, at Derby and its vicinity, with remarks on the species. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, series 2, 1 (4): 1085–1100.

[RN72] Rutgers, A., & K. A. Norris (eds) 1972. Encyclopaedia of Aviculture vol. 1. London, Blandford Press.

[S66] Schlegel, H. 1866. Communication from, on mammals and birds collected in Madagascar. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 419–426.

[SS02] Shapiro, B., D. Sibthorpe, A. Rambaut, J. Austin, G. M. Wragg, O. R. P. Bininda-Emonds, P. L. M. Lee & A. Cooper. 2002. Flight of the dodo. Nature 295: 1683.

[S18] Stone, W. 1918. Birds of the Panama Canal Zone, with special reference to a collection made by Mr. Lindsey L. Jewel. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 70: 239–280.

[T62] Tendeiro, J. 1962. Estudos sobre malófagos: revisão monográfica do género Columbicola Ewing (Ischnocera, Philopteridae). Memórias da Junta de Investigações do Ultramar, ser. 2, 32: 7–460.

[WS48] Whittell, H. M., & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1–126.

Last updated: 29 August 2019.

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