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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Passenger Pigeon - Ectopistes migratorius

Native Species

Global Rank: GX
State Rank: SX

Agency Status


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General Description
Once an extremely abundant species, the Passenger Pigeon was hunted to extinction by the early 1900's. The last recorded live bird (Martha) died on September 1, 1914 at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Although there is no evidence that the Passenger Pigeon ever bred in Montana, the species did occur in the state with observations as far west as Chief Mountain Lake (Waterton) and the Hellgate River (Clark Fork). Lewis and Clark on their westward journy to the Pacific first recorded the Passenger Pigeon in Montana on July 12, 1805 at "Canoe Camp" on the Missouri River, just below the Smith River (Skaar, unpublished).

For a comprehensive review of the conservation status, habitat use, and ecology of this and other Montana bird species, please see Marks et al. 2016, Birds of Montana.

Food Habits
Fed on service berries (Cooper 1869 in Hand 1969).

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Citation for data on this website:
Passenger Pigeon — Ectopistes migratorius.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from