There are 17 species, which can be assigned to 4 groups based on mtDNA cytochrome b, cytochrome c oxidase subunit I, and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2, as well as the nuclear β-fibrinogen intron 7 data (Johnson et al. 2001) combined with analyses of vocalizations and morphology (Mahler & Tubaro 2001):
caribaea (Band-tailed) group: Tails with terminal bands and iridescent neck; rows of low single coos. Apparently the most basal group (Johnson et al. 2001).
leucocephala group: Iridescent neck and dark plumage, or white edged outer wing coverts, or scaly appearance; groups of triple coos with the first call in each drawn out except in speciosa
cayennensis group: No display plumage except iridescent head in cayennensis; groups of double or triple coos with the first call in each short
plumbea group (Oenoenas): Small size, plain plumage, rounded tails, small bills, phrase composed of high single coos
A fossil species (Curtis Pigeon) initially described as Columba, Patagioenas micula (Early Pliocene of Curtis Ranch, USA) is known.