Ectopistes migratorius Linnaeus, 1766:285

Passenger pigeon, Wild pigeon



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonyms: Palumbus migratorius Linnaeus, 1766:285; Columba canadensis Linnaeus, 1766; Columba migratoria Linnaeus, 1766:285; Ectopistes migratoria Linnaeus, 1766:285


Conservation Status


Last record: 1 September 1914 at c.1:00 PM (Shufeldt, 1915:30)

IUCN RedList status: Extinct


The Passenger pigeon was, until its extinction, the most numerous species of bird in the world. It's entire population was variously estimated at 3 to 5 billion individuals, and a flock flying overhead would darken the sky for up to two whole hours. Indeed, one very famous flock was estimated to contain 3 billion individuals alone.

It was this complacency that ultimately led to the birds' extinction. It was an agricultural pest and slaughtered indiscriminately. Nobody even considered the possibility of the species becoming extinct because it was so numerous, until it was too late. Several efforts to locate remaining wild individuals after 1900 were in vain (e.g. Beebe, 1909), and the last known individual, "Martha", died in the Cincinnati Zoo, Ohio on the 1st of September 1914 at approximately 1:00 PM (Shufeldt, 1915:30).


Last records by state


"The latest record in the state is of a flock of 15 flying over the house of G. W. Sabine in Omaha, Douglas Co. on 28 November 1895 (Trostler 1896)."

(Mollhof, 2022:27)



North America


Biology & Ecology




Apparently more than 1500 specimens are preserved in various museums and institutions around the world (RMNH website, link below)


Naturalis, Natural Museum of Natural History, Leiden, the Netherlands (RMNH): 11 specimens:

RMNH 15707 (male)

RMNH 110.048 (male)

RMNH 110.085 (male)

RMNH 110.086 (male)

RMNH 110.087 (female)

RMNH 110.088 (female)

RMNH 110.089 (female)

RMNH 110.090 (male)

RMNH 110.091 (female)

RMNH 110.092 (male)

RMNH 110.093 (female)


For photographs of all of the above specimens see the RMNH official [url=]website[/url].


American Museum of Natural History, New York: ? specimens


Jephson Science Center at Keuka College, Keuka Park, New York: ? specimens


Rosensteinmuseum, Stuttgart, Germany: ? specimens


Vanderbilt Museum (New York, NY, USA): ? specimens


New York State Museum: 2 [url=]specimens[/url].


Royal Ontario Museum: at least 1 specimen?


Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum in Greenville, Texas at least one specimen


Other specimens:


"male and female, 17 Dec 1896, Attie, Oregon Co. (CHAS 15460; 15462" (Robbins, 2018:56)




Historical photos

Many photos and illustrations were published in (Shufeldt, 1921).


Above: taxidermy of "Martha", the last recorded individual. Published in Shufeldt (1921). Source: Wikimedia Commons.



Original scientific description:

Linnaeus, Carolus. (1766). Systema naturae per regna tria naturae: secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Ed. 12. 1., Regnum Animale. Part 1. Holmiae [Stockholm], Laurentii Salvii. pp. 1-532.

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