Captive band-tailed pigeons (Columbafasciata) were studied to document progression of molts and plumages from juvenal to adult age. Immature pigeons began the post-juvenal molt at 35 days which continued up to 340 days. The only 3 plumage characters useful for identification and estimation of age were presence of juvenal lesser, middle, and greater secondary coverts, juvenal secondaries, and juvenal primaries. While juvenal primaries were still present, hatching dates could be estimated up to 252 days (N = 84). Secondary feather presence and molt stage could be used to identify juvenile pigeons for more than 340 days (N = 24). Using coloration of the crown and breast feathers, 96 percent of the immature pigeons examined (106 of 110) at 80 days of age were classified accurately as to sex.
Additional Publication Details
Age and sex determination of juvenile band-tailed pigeons