How do I search and remove varieties?

I can’t find an answer for this sorry. I was looking for information on where the remaining wild populations of Rock Dove (Columba liva) are in the UK but the results are lost within the thousands of obs of feral pigeons (Columba liva var domestica). I can’t see any way to filter them out.

when you do your search, under filters set the low rank to ‘species’, and it will only return observations ID’ed to that level and above (so in this case, = only ID’ed to species)

so this link:

keep in mind those observations probably include observations that are indeed of feral pigeons, but just haven’t been ID’ed to variety yet


Thanks. I didn’t realise those options were in there but that’s very helpful. It looks like a lot of work is needed to ID all those ferals though. In some cases I’m not sure how to tackle the IDs though especially if the evidence provided is something like a partial dead bird or a single feather. Some feral birds resemble the true wild form but I tend to leave those unless there’s any evidence like leg rings to suggest they aren’t wild. Geography doesn’t seem enough of a factor to decide either way in a lot of cases. It would be nice if the map was a bit more clear for the distinction though.

Maybe you’d find the eBird maps more helpful in this case?


If so, here’s a link for the eBird map of wild-type Rock Pigeons:

1 Like

Keep in mind that a full species includes all of its subspecies, thus Columba livia is not separate from Columba livia domestica but inclusive of it. It seems that what you really want is to search for the nominate subspecies, Columba livia livia, which of course is exclusive from Columba livia domestica.

In reality, though, there will be a lot on iNat that have so far only been IDed as far as species, as this species has a dozen recognised subspecies globally and ID is not always straightforward. There’s not a great deal you can do about that apart from helping to add some subspecies IDs.

Also, on a side note, the taxonomic level of variety (var) only exists in botanical taxonomy of plants (as a lower rank than subspecies), and does not exist in zoological taxonomy of animals, so the sub-classifications of Columba livia are subspecies.


I did wonder why domestica is listed on here as a variety rather than a subspecies. I assumed because it’s impossible to specifically describe it given the amount of variation and because it’s effectively manmade. It’s given ssp level elsewhere though. I’m confused about the true wild species now too. All the bird guides list the wild UK species as Columba livia without the livia ssp. but again I’m assuming that’s maybe due to possible feral genes muddying the waters? Some sources suggest that ssp livia doesn’t truly exist anymore due to cross-breeding.
Another case where trying to learn more results in me knowing less…

1 Like

Two other search tools that might help can be found the “Search URLs” tutorial threads Part 1 and Part 2.

Search by an exact taxon (no descendants)

Exclude a taxon This one would be best for excluding one subspecies but not other subspecies.