Family XXIX.--Columbinae. Pigeons

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Birds of America

By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.


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Bill short, soft for half its length, horny toward the end; upper mandible with a tumid fleshy covering at the base, its dorsal line straight, toward the end convex and deflected, the tip narrow, but obtuse; lower mandible at its base wider than the upper, its sides elastic and slender, the angle long and obtuse, the dorsal line short and convex, the tip obtuse. Nostrils linear in the lower and fore part of the nasal membrane. Head small, oblong; neck of moderate length; body rather full. Feet short; tarsus partially feathered, scutellate, or scaly; toes four, on the same level, broad beneath, marginate; the first short, the lateral nearly equal, all scutellate above. Claws moderate, arched, compressed, rather blunt. Plumage generally compact, the feathers with thick spongy shaft, and destitute of plumule. Wings and tail various. Tongue rather broad at the base, toward the end narrow, horny, induplicate, pointed; oesophagus very wide, enlarged into an enormous crop; stomach a very large and strong gizzard, placed obliquely, its lateral muscles exceedingly thick, the lower prominent, the tendons very large, the epithelium dense, with longitudinal broad rugae, and two opposite grinding surfaces; intestine long, of moderate width; coeca very small; cloaca oblong. Trachea simple, flattened, with a single pair of inferior laryngeal muscles. Nest flat, rudely constructed. Eggs two, elliptical, white.

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