This order comprises the doves, pigeons and the sandgrouse. It shall be noted that the terms dove and pigeon are synonymous. The smaller members of the group are referred to as doves, while the larger members are called pigeons.

Members of this order are widespread in temperate and tropical regions and are small to medium sized birds. Generally, they have small heads, short necks and short, plump, full-breasted bodies. Plumage is usually soft but dense. The bills are short and slender with cere at the base of the beak. They drink by immersing their bill and sucking up the liquid, a characteristic unique to this order alone. There is a wide range of vocalization, from cooing to growls, hisses and whistles.

These birds are monogamous. Usually one to two eggs are laid in flimsy nests made of straw, twigs or similar pieces. Incubation, lasting about 2 ½ weeks, is shared by both parents. The sightless, naked young birds are hatched totally dependent on their parents. Both parents feed the young crop milk, which is a mixture of sloughed off epithelial lining of the crop. About a month after hatching the young birds are on their own. Adults often renest, producing 2 or more broods per year.

Dodos and Solitaires were members of this order, but are both now extinct.