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Snow Pigeon

Columba leuconota

The snow pigeon (Columba leuconota) is a species of bird in the genus Columba in the family Columbidae from hilly regions of central Asia. They are grey, black, pale brown and white birds and two subspecies are recognised: C. l. leuconota occurs in the western Himalayas from western Afghanistan to Sikkim and C. l. gradaria occurs in the mountains of eastern Tibet and from eastern Nan Shan (Qinghai) to Yunnan and extreme northern Myanmar. The birds forage in open country in pairs or small groups, feeding on grain, buds, shoots, berries and seeds. They roost at night on cliffs, breeding in crevices where they build untidy stick nests and lay a clutch of usually two white eggs. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated the bird's conservation status as being of least concern.

Snow pigeons have a blackish head contrasting with a white neck collar and white underparts shading into ashy on the abdomen. Their backs are brownish-grey with a white patch on the lower back. Their wings are pale grey with three brown bands. Their black tails have a clear white band in the middle which narrows and curve forward to reach the tip of the outermost tail features. Young birds have narrow, pale buff margins to the feathers of the upper parts and wings. The white of the underparts is sullied with buff.

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