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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Passenger Pigeon - Ectopistes migratorius

Native Species

Global Rank: GX
State Rank: SX

Agency Status


External Links

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 journey 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Passenger Pigeon in Montana on July 12, 1805 at "Canoe Camp" on the Missouri River, just below the Smith River (Skaar, unpublished).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.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Western Hemisphere Range


Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 9

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density


SUMMER (Feb 16 - Dec 14)
Direct Evidence of Breeding

Indirect Evidence of Breeding

No Evidence of Breeding

WINTER (Dec 15 - Feb 15)
Regularly Observed

Not Regularly Observed


(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

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