Did you know the feral pigeon is a very common resident of Alberton that was introduced to South Africa?
The feral pigeon is a wild living form of the domestic rock dove that is found in Europe and North Africa. They are the descendants of homing pigeons brought to South Africa early in the 1800s. The feral pigeon is highly variable in colour. Different breeds of feral pigeons are all the same species and can reproduce with all the different breeds. Many of the colour forms range from dark grey to pure white. The main colour form in South Africa is largely grey with a brush of iridescent green and pink on the neck.
Feral pigeons retain the nesting habits of their ancestors, which nested largely on cliffs. With the increase in human settlements, a new breeding location became available to the pigeons: buildings. The pigeon makes use of the ledges and roofs of manmade structures to build their nests on. The feral pigeon is therefore largely dependent on humans for its survival.
Feral pigeons are able to breed throughout the year due to an adaptation known as crop milk. Crop milk is produced by the parents and fed to chicks which lessen the need for bringing food back to the nest. The pigeon is one of only three species of bird that produces milk.
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