Thursday, July 27, 2006

Pigeon on an Asphalt Roof

There other day, a rock pigeon landed and rested on the small roof outside of my window. It does not have the standard plumage of a rock pigeon, but it is a rock pigeon nonetheless.

Notice how this individual has a plump dove-shaped body with a small head and arched neck. It also has the short curved bill and red eye typical of pigeons. It retains the greenish iridescent plumage on its neck, but the rest of its plumage departs from the standard. Its feathers are much darker than normal rock pigeons and white flight feathers.

Why is there such variation among rock pigeons? Most likely these are descendents of domesticated pigeons that were bred for different colors and shapes and later became feral. Over time, such variants integrated into the wild population. See some of the range of variation in photographs. (Cornell's Project PigeonWatch is looking for patterns in variation distribution.) The bird shown here is probably a pied of some sort.

Visit Friday Ark #97 for more animal pictures.