Wikijunior:Extinct Birds/Passenger Pigeon

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The passenger pigeon, also wild pigeon, (Ectopistes migratorius) is an extinct species of pigeon.

Behaviour[edit | edit source]

Speed[edit | edit source]

They were very fast and could fly at 100 km/h (62 mph).

Diet[edit | edit source]

In Autumn, Winter and Spring, they ate beechnuts, acorns and chestnuts. However, in the Summer, they ate berries and fruit, like grapes and cherries.

Flocking[edit | edit source]

Passenger pigeons lived in large flocks.

Eggs[edit | edit source]

It is thought that only one egg was laid at a time. Eggs were white and oval-shaped.

Description[edit | edit source]

Adults weighed between 260 and 340 grammes. Adult males and females look different.

Males were 390 to 410 mm long and had were bluish grey with grey wings. They had some iridescent feathers on their necks that looked, depending on how the light shone on it,bright bronze, violet or golden-green.

Females were smaller, between 380 to 400 mm long. They had quite dark brown-grey feathers and had less of the iridescent neck. The wings were quite spotted.

Juvenile birds looked quite like the females, but had no iridescent neck or spots on the wings.

Distribution[edit | edit source]

They were found in Eastern North America. When breeding, the range was smaller and at the east of the normal range.

Extinction[edit | edit source]

Martha was the last passenger pigeon and died on September 1, 1914, over 100 years ago.

They were always hunted by the Native Americans, but the arrival of the Europeans significantly increased this. Pigeon meat was considered a cheap food, so they were hunted intensely. Also, deforestation destroyed their habitat.