ECTOPARASITES AND GASTRO-INTESTINAL HELMINTHS OF STREPTOPELIA SENEGALENSIS LINNAEUS, 1766 (LAUGHING DOVE) AND COLUMBA LIVIA DOMESTICA GMELIN, 1789 (DOMESTIC PIGEON) IN ZARIA, NIGERIA

ECTOPARASITES AND GASTRO-INTESTINAL HELMINTHS OF STREPTOPELIA SENEGALENSIS LINNAEUS, 1766 (LAUGHING DOVE) AND COLUMBA LIVIA DOMESTICA GMELIN, 1789 (DOMESTIC PIGEON) IN ZARIA, NIGERIA

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CHAPTER ONE

1.0                                                  INTRODUCTION

Birds are widely distributed worldwide and are found in all the seven continents. They

live and breed in terrestrial habitats (Newton, 2003). It is believed that the highest bird

diversity occurs in the tropical regions of the world. It was also earlier thought that high

diversity was as a result of higher speciation rates in the tropics (Serle et al., 1977).

Birds are one of the largest source of animal protein eaten by humans (Oladele et al.,

2012). Nineteen species of Doves and pigeons (Family: Columbidae), were identified

in Nigeria, of which fifteen occur in the Northern Guinea Savannah (Elgood et al.,

1994).

The Laughing dove, Streptopelia senegalensis is distinguished from all other doves by

the presence of a black spotted reddish fore neck, head is vinous, the mantle brown, the

rump dark-grey and the underparts are vinous, becoming white on the belly (Serle et

al., 1977). It is called the Laughing dove due to its distinctive coo vocalization that is

reminiscent of human laughter.

This species is semi-tame and is abundant in villages and towns, spending much of its

time on the ground, feeding on fallen grains or seeds (Adang et al., 2008). According to

Oniye et al. (2001), doves are hunted and eaten in Nigeria but recently the intensity has

increased probably due to the harsh economic situation, coupled with increased demand

for protein. Its wide acceptability as a cheap substitute to other animal-protein sources

might explain why roasted Laughing dove is sold at ‘’suya’’ or barbecue spots in Zaria


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