It’s odd to think of those seemingly ordinary pigeons being closely related to grebes or flamingoes, but based on genetic analyses they’re all grouped together in the Columbea clade. Columbea is made up of two smaller clades – the Columbimorphae (which consists of doves, sandgrouse and mesites) and the Phoenicopterimorphae (flamingos and grebes).
Oddly enough, the Dodo is also nested within the Columbimorphae with the pigeons. I have no idea whether the Dodo would have been invited.
Tanya Strydom is a PhD student at the Université de Montréal, mostly focusing on how we can use machine learning and artificial intelligence in ecology. Current research interests include (but are not limited to) predicting ecological networks, the role species traits and scale in ecological networks, general computer (and maths) geekiness, and a (seemingly) ever growing list of side projects. When not being a nerd she can probably be found with a warm beverage and busy with some or other art project. Tweets (sometimes related to actual science) can be found @TanyaS_08.