There’s at least one pigeon larger than a vulture.
It’s Goura, the Victorian crowned pigeon (Fig.s 1, 2). Goura is the same size or larger than Coragyps, the black vulture (Fig. 1) and these two nest together in the large reptile tree (LRT, 1224 taxa). Smaller pigeons, like Columba and Caloenas nest together, next to Goura + Coragyps.
Goura cristata (Pallas 1764; Stephens 1819; Figs. 1, 2) is the extant Western crowned pigeon. It is restricted to New Guinea. It eats fruits and seeds.
Coragyps atratus (LaMout 1853; 56-74 cm in length, 1.5m wingspread; Fig. 3) is the extant black vulture and a sister to Goura (Fig. 2). Both were derived from the more primitive giant petrel Macronectes. There are not very many differences between these two skeletons, perhaps one of the reasons bird workers have given up analyzing bone shapes and proportions and have taken to trusting DNA analyses.
black vultures are New World vultures. They are not related to Old World vultures in the LRT, or in any other analysis. At present this is the only New World vulture in the LRT. Old world vultures, like Torgos, nest with birds of prey.
Beautiful as adults…
not so beautiful as chicks, Goura hatchlings look more like black vultures before they get their silky blue adult plumage. This is neotony at work once again. We’re going to look more and more at neotonous sisters and compare them to short-legged, short rostrum chicks of longer-legged, longer-beaked taxa. This is not an isolated incidence.
Gmelin JF 1789. Caroli a Linné … Systema Naturae per Regna Tria Naturae, Secundum Classes, Ordines, Genera, Species, Cum Characteribus, Differentiis, Synonymis, Locis. Editio Decima Tertia, Aucta, Reformata/ cura Jo. Frid. Gmelin. Volume 1, part 3. Lipsiae: Impensis Georg. Emanuel. Beer.
Gray GR 1840. List of Gen. B:59
LeMaout JEM 1853. Les trois regnes de la nature. Regne animal. Histoire naturalle des oiseaux, suivant la classification de M. Isidore Geoffroy-Saint-Hillaire, avec l’indication de leurs moeurs et de leurs rapports avec les arts, le commerce et l’agriculture. Par Emm. Le Maout. L. Curmer. Paris 425 pp.
Pallas PS 1764. Adumbratiunculae avium variorum praecedenti Elencho inserlarum, sed quae in Systemate Naturae Illustr. Linnaei nondum extant. Pp. 1-7 in Vosmaer 1764.
Vieillot LJP 1809. Histoire naturelle des oiseaux de l’Amérique Septentrionale