Order IV. COLUMBAE.
The Pigeons and Doves are now universally given the status of an Order by themselves, both by systematists and by field-naturalists, for, although they show affinities with many other Orders in many respects, yet in others they are widely differentiated from them.
In their anatomy the Pigeons are very closely related to the Gallinaceous birds and yet more closely to the Pterocletes or Sandgrouse, though they differ widely from either of these groups in having their young born naked and helpless, a character which induced some of the older systematists to classify them with the Passeres. Certain other anatomical characters would seem to form connecting-links with the Strigidae (Owls) and Gypidae (Vultures), greatly as they differ from both of these in general form, structure, external appearance and life-habits.
On the whole the position in which Blanford placed them i. e. next to the Sandgrouse, seems the best and there I retain it.