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DOVE (Dutch duyve, Dan. due, Ice. duf...

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Originally appearing in Volume V08, Page 452 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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DOVE (Dutch duyve, Dan. due, Ice. dufa, Ger. Taube), a name most commonly applied by ornithologists to the smaller members of the group of birds usually called pigeons (Columbae); but no sharp distinction can be drawn between pigeons and doves, and in general. literature the two words are used almost indifferently, while no one species can be pointed out to which the word dove, taken alone, seems to be absolutely proper. The largest of the group to which the name is applicable is perhaps the ring-dove, or wood-pigeon, also called in many parts of Britain cushat and queest (Columba -palumbus, Linn.), a very common bird throughout the British Islands and most parts of Europe. It associates in winter in large flocks, the numbers of which (owing partly to the destruction of predaceous animals, but still more to the modern system of agriculture, and the growth of plantations in many districts that were before treeless) have increased enormously. In former days, when the breadth of land in Britain under green crops was comparatively small, these birds found little food in the dead season, and this scarcity was a natural check on their superabundance. But since the extended cultivation of turnips and plants of similar use the case is altered, and perhaps at no time of the year has provender become more plentiful than in winter. The ring-dove may be easily distinguished from other European species by its larger size, and especially by the white spot on either side of its neck, forming a nearly continuous " ring," whence the bird takes its name, and the large white patches in its wings, which are very conspicuous in flight. It breeds several times in the year, making for its nest a slight platform of sticks on the horizontal bough of a tree, and laying therein two eggs—which, as in all the Columbae, are white. It is semi-domestic in the London parks. The stock-dove (C. aenas of most authors) is a smaller species, with many of the habits of the former, but breeding by preference in the stocks of hollow- trees or in rabbit-holes. It is darker in colour than the ring-dove, without any white on its neck or wings, and is much less common and more locally distributed. The rock-dove (C. livia, Temm.) much resembles the stock-dove, but is of a lighter colour, with two black bars on its wings, and a white rump. In its wild state it haunts most of the rocky parts of the coast of Europe, from the Faeroes to the Cyclades, and, seldom going inland, is comparatively rare. Yet, as it is without contradiction the parent-stem of all British domestic pigeons, its numbers must far exceed those of both the former put together. In Egypt and various parts of Asia it is represented by what Charles Darwin has called " wild races," which are commonly accounted good " species " (C. schimperi, C. affinis, C. intermedia, C. leuconota, and so forth), though they differ from one another far less than do nearly all the domestic forms, of which more than 150 kinds that " breed true," and have been separately named, are known to exist. Very many of these, if found wild, would have unquestionably been ranked by the best ornithologists as distinct " species " and several of them would as undoubtedly have been placed in different genera. These various breeds are classified by Darwin 1 in four groups as follows:
End of Article: DOVE (Dutch duyve, Dan. due, Ice. dufa, Ger. Taube)
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