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    An_267905 posted:
    The passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius), now extinct, was endemic to North America. Sometimes confused with the mourning dove, the male pigeons were 39 to 41 cm (15.4 to 16.1 in) in length and mainly gray on the upperparts, with iridescent bronze feathers on the neck and black spots ondd the wings; the females were duller and browner. They inhabited mainly deciduous forests in eastern North America, primarily around the Great Lakes. Migrating in enormous flocks, they were once the most abundant bird species in North America, with a population of perhaps 3 to 5 billion. They could reach flying speeds of 100 km/h (62 mph). The birds fed on nuts, seeds, fruits and invertebrates. They practiced communal roosting and communal breeding. In the 19th century, when widespread deforestation was destroying their habitat, they were commercialized as cheap food and hunted voraciously. Martha, thought to be the last passenger pigeon, died on September 1, 1914, at the Cincinnati Zoo. Eradication of the species has been described as one of the most senseless extinctions induced by humans. (Full article...)
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