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Britain's most common is the wood-pigeon, which grows up to about 40cm/16 ins, and is good to eat if young. Traditional dishes include 'Pigeon Pie' and 'Devonshire Squab Pie' (squab being the name for a specially reared, so tender, pigeon). Squab's, mostly coming from France, are available from up-market butchers - but are expensive.

Like all birds, particularly those that are wild, the breasts need much less cooking than the more-heavily-exercised legs are thighs; and if birds are to be roasted whole, need the protection of strips of bacon if they're not to dry out. Smaller varieties are often called doves.

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