The large bird genus Columba comprises a group of medium to large stout-bodied pigeons, often referred to as the typical pigeons. The term columba is the latinized form of the Ancient Greek κόλυμβος (kolumbos) “a diver”, from κολυμβάω (kolumbao), “to dive, plunge headlong, swim”. Aristophanes (Birds, 304) and others use the word κολυμβίς (kolumbis) "diver", for the name of the bird, because of its swimming motion in the air.
As with other genera in the family, the terms dove and pigeon are used interchangeably, although smaller species are more likely to be called doves. The species commonly referred to just as the "pigeon" is the feral Rock Pigeon (Columba livia). It is this species that has given rise to the majority of domesticated pigeon varieties, including the racing pigeon.
Most species in this genus are found in the Old World, but there are a few representatives in the Americas, and some species, notably the Feral Pigeon, have been introduced outside their natural range.
The American species of Columba should be split off as a separate genus, Patagioenas, as it was done by the American Ornithological Union. That the American radiation constitutes a distinct lineage is borne out by molecular evidence
Species remaining in Columba are:
A fossil species, Columba omnisanctorum, was described from the Early Pliocene (5.3-3.6 mya) of the Gargano Peninsula and surroundings, Italy. A supposed "falcon" fossil from nearby contemporary and Middle Pliocene (3.6-2.6 mya) sites may either be a distinct species Columba pisana or the same, in which case the latter name would apply.
Relevance and treatment of coccidiosis in domestic pigeons (Columba livia forma domestica) with particular emphasis on toltrazuril.(Report)
Mar 01, 2009; Abstract: Coccidia are common pathogenic parasites in pigeons (Columba livia). Coccidiosis is most commonly seen in young pigeons...
Heterotopic implantation of autologous bone marrow in rock pigeons (Columba livia): possible applications in avian bone grafting.(Original Studies)(Report)
Dec 01, 2011; Abstract: Autologous bone marrow, alone or as a composite marrow graft, has received much attention in various species. To assess...
Use of laser ablation and cryosurgery to prevent primary feather growth in a pigeon (Columba livia) model.(Original Studies)
Dec 01, 2006; Abstract: Many species of birds kept in captivity must be rendered flightless to prevent escape from open enclosures. In this...