DONEGAN, T. (2016)

The pigeon names Columba livia, 'C. domestica' and C. oenas and their type specimens.

Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 136(1):14-27.


The name Columba domestica Linnaeus, 1758, is senior to Columba livia J. F. Gmelin, 1789, but both names apply to the same biological species, Rock Dove or Feral Pigeon, which is widely known as C. livia. The type series of livia is mixed, including specimens of Stock Dove C. oenas, wild Rock Dove, various domestic pigeon breeds and two other pigeon species that are not congeners. In the absence of a plate unambiguously depicting a wild bird being cited in the original description, a neotype for livia is designated based on a Fair Isle (Scotland) specimen. The name domestica is based on specimens of the 'runt' breed, originally illustrated by Aldrovandi (1600) and copied by Willughby (1678) and a female domestic specimen studied but not illustrated by the latter. The name C. oenas Linnaeus, 1758, is also based on a mixed series, including at least one Feral Pigeon. The individual illustrated in one of Aldrovandi's (1600) oenas plates is designated as a lectotype, type locality Bologna, Italy. The names Columba gutturosa Linnaeus, 1758, and Columba cucullata Linnaeus, 1758, cannot be suppressed given their limited usage. The issue of priority between livia and domestica, and between both of them and gutturosa and cucullata, requires ICZN attention. Other names introduced by Linnaeus (1758) or Gmelin (1789) based on domestic breeds are considered invalid, subject to implicit first reviser actions or nomina oblita with respect to livia and domestica.


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