The Liverpool Pigeon (Caloenas maculata) is a presumed extinct pigeon species from an unknown provenance.
The Liverpool Pigeon was first mentioned in the work A General Synopsis of Birds (1783) by John Latham and scientifically named by Johann Friedrich Gmelin in 1789. It reached a size of 32 centimetres. The wing length was 175 mm, the tail length was 126 mm, the culmen was 20 mm and the tarsus was measured with 33 mm. The plumage was deep bottle green. The neck was characterized by elongated feathers. The wing and back feathers were spangled cream coloured. The terminal band of the tail was cream coloured too. Legs and feet were reddish. On the base of the beak was a knob. The Liverpool Pigeon had short rounded wings. On basis of the elongated neck feathers John Latham assumed a relationship with the Nicobar Pigeon and Lord Rothschild regarded it as just an aberrant specimen of the Nicobar Pigeon. It was probably Rothschild's influence that the Liverpool Pigeon was often overlooked by subsequent authors. Notwithstanding the Liverpool Pigeon was very different to the Nicobar Pigeon.
The provenance and the reasons for its extinction remained unknown. Ornithologist David Gibbs (2001) hypothesized that this bird might have collected on a Pacific island because stories told by Tahitian islanders in 1928 about a mysterious green and white spotted bird called titi might well have been about this pigeon.. However, paleontologist David Steadman revised this hypothesis and stated that the name titi is used for several bird species in French Polynesia in particular for the procellariids. In 1851, a juvenile specimen came into the museum collection of the Earl of Derby in Knowsley Hall which is now on display in the Merseyside County Museum in Liverpool. A second specimen which was collected between 1783 and 1823 is lost. BirdLife International added the Liverpool Pigeon to the list of extinct bird species in 2008.
- ^ a b Fuller (2000). p174-175
- ^ Gibbs et al.(2001)
- ^ Review by David William Steadman for the book Pigeons and Doves by David Gibbs et. al.
- ^ BirdLife International Whats new (2008)