Feral pigeon melanism may vary with local climate; an example from the West Carpathians
Local pigeon populations surveyed in Slovak towns are intricately linked to the anthropogenic environment of their particular habitat. In the past, this has generally been more limited to historical, commercial areas, and agricultural areas, but more recently, pigeons are also expanding into newly built neighbourhoods and housing estates. The group of melanic pigeons was largely dominant in terms of abundance in 1998 and 1999 (in 1998 its lowest abundance was 42 %, and in 1999, 49 %). The second most numerous was the blue-bar phenotype, whose abundance ranged from 15 to 40 % in 1998 and from 17 to 34 % in 1999. The group of red and brown pigeons was the least numerous. The relationship between altitude and the abundance of the individual phenotypes was statistically significant only in the case of the melanic group. When examining the influence of weather factors, it was statistically proven that more melanic pigeons were found in mountainous areas with lower temperatures, higher humidity and precipitation. On the other hand, the abundance of pigeons with red plumage is statistically significantly higher in conditions of warm but humid weather in lower-lying urban areas.
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