Ethnobotanic importance of plants used in pigeon-breeding in Eastern Spain

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Title: Ethnobotanic importance of plants used in pigeon-breeding in Eastern Spain
Authors: Belda, Antonio | Cortés, Carolina | Peiro, Victoriano
Research Group/s: Ecología Espacial y del Paisaje (EEP) | Zoología de Vertebrados
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Ecología
Keywords: Pigeon fancying | Pigeon breeders | Ethnobiological knowledge
Knowledge Area: Ecología
Issue Date: 20-May-2013
Publisher: BioMed Central
Citation: BELDA, Antonio; CORTÉS, Carolina; PEIRÓ, Victoriano. “Ethnobotanic importance of plants used in pigeon-breeding in Eastern Spain”. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2013, 9:33. doi:10.1186/1746-4269-9-33
Abstract: Background: The importance that birds of the Columbidae family have had throughout history is visible on the Mediterranean coast. Pigeon fancying is the art of breeding and training carrier pigeons and currently, several breeds exist. The sport of racing pigeons consists in covering a distance at maximum possible speed. However, pigeon breeding has another modality called “sport pigeon”, where several males follow a female. This study focusses on ethnobotanical knowledge of native and exotic plant species that are used for diet, breeding, stimulation, healing illnesses and staining the plumage of pigeons bred in captivity. Methods: Using semi-structured interviews, we gathered information about the different plant species traditionally used for pigeon-breeding in the region of Valencia. Background material on remedies for bird illnesses was gathered from folk botanical references, local books and journals. The plant species were collected in the study area, then identified in the laboratory using dichotomous keys and vouchered in the ABH (Herbarium of Alicante University). We used Excel ® 2003 to perform a simple statistical analysis of the data collected. Results: We collected 56 species of plants (and one variety) that included 29 botanical families. The total number of species was made up of 35 cultivated and 21 wild plants. The most common were Gramineae (14 species), Leguminosae (6 species), and Compositae (4 species). Conclusions: Pigeon breeding is an immensely popular activity in Eastern Spain, and ethnobiological knowledge about breeding pigeons and caring for them is considerable. The names and traditional uses of plants depend on their geographical location, vernacular names serve as an intangible heritage. Feeding, environmental features, and genetic makeup of individuals are relevant aspects in the maintenance of avian health.
ISSN: 1746-4269
DOI: 10.1186/1746-4269-9-33
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2013 Belda et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Peer Review: si
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Appears in Collections:INV - EEP - Artículos de Revistas
INV - ZV - Artículos Científicos

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