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Passenger Pigeon

Patagonian Sierra-Finch
Parakeet Auklet

About the Passenger Pigeon

Also known as: Wild Pigeon

The story of the Passenger Pigeon is difficult. This is a species that has gone extinct in modern times, due to rapid loss of habitat and excessive hunting, among other factors. The Passenger Pigeon population was once possibly as high as five billion birds, making it the most numerous bird on the planet.

Early European settlers were amazed at the unbelievably huge flocks of Passenger Pigeons that would fly during migration. Groups of millions of birds would darken the sky; a single flock could take hours to pass by with pigeons flying in tiers several birds thick.

2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the death of the last Passenger Pigeon, a captive bird named Martha who died at the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1st. Learn more about the loss of this species and what we can learn from the story of the Passenger Pigeon by visiting Project Passenger Pigeon.

Details & Stats

Hatched Added to Birdorable on: 31 July 2013
Scientific Name Ectopistes migratorius
  • Columbiformes
  • Columbidae
  • Ectopistes
  • E. migratorius
Birdorable Family Pigeons & Doves
Conservation Status Extinct
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
Measurements
Units: Imperial Metric
14.9 to 16.1 inches
260 to 340 ounces

Conservation

From IUCN Red List:
The Passenger Pigeon is listed as Extinct on the IUCN Red List and was last assessed in 2012 by BirdLife International. This species was formerly distributed across North America, but is now Extinct as a result of habitat clearance and hunting. The last reliable wild record dates from 1900, and a search beginning in 1910 failed to find it.

International Names

  • holub stěhovavĂ˝ (Czech)
  • Vandredue (Danish)
  • Trekduif (Dutch)
  • muuttokyyhky (Finnish)
  • Tourte voyageuse (French)
  • Wandertaube (German)
  • Piccione migratore (Italian)
  • リョコウバト [ryokoubato] (Japanese)
  • 여행비둘기 (Korean)
  • Vandredue (Norwegian)
  • golab wedrowny (Polish)
  • Странствующий голубь (Russian)
  • paloma migratoria (Spanish)
  • Vandringsduva (Swedish)

Related articles & downloads

Passenger Pigeon Flock Wallpaper

Passenger Pigeon Flock Wallpaper

Passenger Pigeons once ranged across a wide part of eastern North America. Passing flocks of Passenger Pigeons would darken the sky and take days to pass an area. On this wallpaper thousands ... more