They have a tough exoskeleton that protects them from being crushed by the grooming host. Figure 2.
Ventral view of an adult female pigeon louse fly, Pseudolychia canariensis Macquart. Louse flies have a very interesting reproductive strategy. The female produces one larva at a time and retains the developing larva in her body until it is ready to pupate. The larva feeds on the secretions of a "milk gland" in the uterus of its mother. After three larval instars, the larva has reached its maximum size, the mother gives birth to the white pre-pupa which immediately begins to darken and form the puparium or pupal shell.
The pupa of the pigeon louse fly looks like a dark brown, egg-shaped seed. The pupa is found in the nest of the host or on ledges where the birds roost.
Intermittence and connectivity of interactions in pigeon flock flights
When the fly has completed its metamorphosis, the winged adult emerges from the puparium and flies in search of a host. Figure 3. White pre-pupa terminal larval instar which has stopped feeding and immediately begins to form the puparium when it is delivered by the mother , brown pupa and an adult pigeon louse fly, Pseudolychia canariensis Macquart.
This fly is an obligate parasite of birds, especially feral and domestic pigeons Columba livia and doves Columbiformes. Both sexes feed on the blood of the host bird. Theodor reported that it occurs primarily on pigeons and doves and has been found on many other types of birds in the Old World. He also reported that it only occurs on the domestic pigeon in America. However, it has also been collected from morning doves Zenaida macroura in Florida. This effect is based entirely off of the way that the bird orients its wings.
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Pigeons in different stages of flight. While this does not allow them to fly nearly as fast as the rocketing peregrine falcons, who can fly at upwards of mph though they generally only average around 70 mph , pigeons are able to fly upwards of 70 mph over long distances, sometimes reaching a maximum of nearly 95 mph!
Many scientists and pigeon enthusiasts alike consider Columbia livia [the rock pigeon] to be among the fastest species of birds because of this sustained high velocity flight. Credit: C.
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The pigeon readjusts her wings to counteract the gravitational force and balance them with the generated lift. A pigeon alone is extremely vulnerable. A domestic pigeon outside alone is in imminent danger.
It is unsafe to take a pet pigeon outside unprotected. They need to be in an aviary or in the house. And clipped wings do not protect birds outside. Birds are by their very nature aerodynamic and being outside unprotected with clipped wings is no safer.
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One little startle and, with the air currents outdoors, they are airborne. And in danger. Wild pigeons and doves derive all of their security from their survival of the fittest DNA, their education growing up in the wild and from being a part of a flock.
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Your pet pigeon, even if hatched wild, is at terrible risk if permitted to free fly. You and your dogs and your patio cover, etc.