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Which extinct pigeon species would you bring back if you could?

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Sarus Crane, 15 Dec 2019.

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Which extinct pigeon species would you bring back if you could?

Poll closed 15 Mar 2020.
  1. Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius)

    66.7%
  2. Liverpool Pigeon (Caloenas maculata)

    7.4%
  3. Choiseul Pigeon (Microgoura meeki)

    18.5%
  4. Rodrigues Blue Pigeon (Alectroenas rodericana)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Mauritius Blue Pigeon (Alectroenas nitidissima)

    3.7%
  6. Reunion Pigeon (Columba duboisi)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. Bonin Wood Pigeon (Columba versicolor)

    3.7%
  1. Sarus Crane

    Sarus Crane Well-Known Member

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    We're only voting on recently extinct true pigeons here, not the Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) or its cousin the Rodrigues Solitaire (Pezophaps solitaria).
     
  2. Gondwana

    Gondwana Well-Known Member

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    Why not Dodos?
     
  3. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    You do know that both species *were* true pigeons? :p
     
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  4. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    Clear win for the Passenger pigeon IMO.
    Once among the most numberous species in the world with a large influence on its habitat and such a natural history value it leaves all the other species ways behind it.
    Its also the species from which most material is aviable if it comes to artificial re-create the species ( from some other species there's no material at all left ) and the species has already proofed it can be bred in captivity in the past.
    There should also be some natural habitat being left in which the species can be reintroduced if numbers should be large enough.
     
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  5. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    If we were talking about a realistic cloning project, you would be correct in almost all of these points - I think you are probably incorrect about there being sufficient natural habitat remaining for the species, sad to say, given the strong impact their cloning and reintroduction would have on the agricultural land of North America.

    However, I would argue that the loose wording of this question implies we need not be limited to constraints of how realistic the revival of the species is :p and hence there is scope for a little more imagination than to immediately jump to "which species has the most remaining material" - which is why I went for Choiseul Pigeon. Put quite simply, we know a lot about the Passenger Pigeon but there is a lot to learn about the Choiseul, including certain details of its life appearance and more-or-less everything about its behaviour and habits in life. Moreover, it was a more attractive species and represented a more evolutionarily-significant-unit (being distant kin to both Goura and Trugon, and possibly basal to both) than the Passenger Pigeon, which was sister to the Patagoenas doves and looked much like one.

    As for the other species listed in this poll:

    Liverpool Pigeon (Caloenas maculata) - this one shares a few of the plus-points of the Choiseul, although it is nowhere near as distinct being congeneric with the Nicobar Pigeon. If we were to magically bring this one back with will alone, however, we wouldn't know where we had brought it back to ;)

    Rodrigues Blue Pigeon
    (Alectroenas rodericana) - as written, this one never actually existed :p @Sarus Crane has conflated two extinct species known only from isolated bones, the Rodrigues Turtle-dove (Nesoenas rodericanus) and the Rodrigues Blue-pigeon (Alectroenas payandeei). The former was probably conspecific with the extant N. picturatus, incidentally. Neither is quite as alluring a prospect for revival as some of the other species in the list, however, given they are congeneric with extant species and probably differed little from them.

    Mauritius Blue Pigeon
    (Alectroenas nitidissima) - now, this one is a little more tempting given the fact I have seen one of the three extant specimens :p but it has the same drawbacks of distinctiveness from an extant species.

    Reunion Pigeon
    (Columba duboisi) - this one was actually another Nesoenas, and may have been conspecific with the extant N. meyeri.

    Bonin Wood Pigeon
    (Columba versicolor) - again, distinctiveness :p it was very similar to the extant C. vitiensis and C. janthina.

    ---

    On another note, although @Sarus Crane has already explained why he omitted the Dodo and Solitaire from this poll (under the misapprehension they were not true pigeons) I am curious why he omitted the following three taxa, which are known from significantly better material than some of the species he counted:

    Ryukyu Woodpigeon (Columba jouyi) - last recorded in 1936, last reported in 1960s.
    Red-moustached Fruit-dove (Ptilinopus mercierii) - last recorded in 1922.
    Thick-billed Ground-dove (Alopecoenas salamonis) - last recorded in 1927.
     
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  6. Sarus Crane

    Sarus Crane Well-Known Member

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    I am not a pigeon expert so I had to look up "extinct pigeon species" on google and ended up on the IUCN Redlist's site. I didn't include Dodo and Solitaire because not only would everybody probably vote for them and take away votes from other species, but also because they don't look very pigeon-like. Sorry I didn't know that they were true pigeons. I knew they were in the Columbidae family along with the other pigeons. I just felt they were so evolutionary distinct that they could be omitted from the choices in this poll.
     
  7. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Fair enough :) for the record, they are deeply nested within a clade containing the following genera:

    Trugon (Thick-billed Ground Pigeon)
    Microgoura (Choiseul Pigeon)
    Otidiphaps (Pheasant Pigeons)
    Goura (Crowned Pigeons)
    Didunculus (Tooth-billed Pigeon)
    Caloenas (Nicobar and Liverpool Pigeons)
    Raphus (Dodo)
    Pezophaps (Solitaire)
     
  8. Sarus Crane

    Sarus Crane Well-Known Member

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    I will admist though, that I have always been a huge fan of the Goura pigeons and more recently the Choiseul and Nicobar Pigeon as well.
     
  9. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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    All of the above, but voting for Passenger Pigeon because it's the one closest to home. Fun fact: Wisconsin was home to what is believed to be the largest breeding colony of the species, and several locations throughout the state (such as the Pigeon River) are named for the species.
     
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  10. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    I'll stick with Passenger Pigeon, which I've always thought a very attractive species, quite different from the Zenaida species which are probably the nearest thing. Also, as mentioned above, it seems to have done well in captivity so would be no problem to maintain pending successful rewilding.
     
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  11. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    As noted above, it now appears to have been the sister taxon to the Patagoenas doves :) particularly the leucocephala clade, I believe.
     
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  12. Luke da Zoo nerd

    Luke da Zoo nerd Well-Known Member

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    Go passenger!
     
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  13. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    fair enough, but it still LOOKS like a Zenaida
     
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  14. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Didn't you just say you thought they looked quite different to Zenaida? :p

    The fact that Passenger Pigeon fared very well in captivity is one of the big missed opportunities in extinction, sad to say - as is the similar situation with Carolina Parakeet.
     
  15. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    What I was trying to say, (but failed miserably in doing) was that it's more like them than anything else, but still sufficiently different from them.
     
  16. Sarus Crane

    Sarus Crane Well-Known Member

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  17. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Not particularly so :p
     
  18. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    Didn't convince me either. Shame.
     
  19. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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    Passenger Pigeons needed very large breeding colonies, without which individual birds would not survive. If flocks of this size still existed, WE WOULD KNOW ABOUT THEM!!!!!!!!!! Most of those sightings came from heavily birded states (Wisconsin, Missouri, ect.). I doubt a Passenger Pigeon could survive there undetected.

    Besides, those photos are clearly juvenile Mourning Doves in the early mourning (or late evening) light.
     
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  20. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Although strangely enough this was not required in captivity, so the precise social mechanics are still (and forever will be) unclear.
     
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