The genus was introduced in 1841 by the English ornithologist and bird artist John Gould with the white-quilled rock pigeon (Petrophassa albipennis) as the type species. the genus name combines the Ancient Greek words petros meaning "rock" and phassa meaning "pigeon".
The genus contains two species:
They are not closely related to Columba livia, the rock dove (also called rock pigeon), a species which includes the domestic and feral pigeons as well as the wild species native to Europe, North Africa and Asia.
- Gould, John (1840). "Genus Petrophassa". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. Part 8: 173. Although bearing the year 1840 on the title page, the volume did not appear until 1841.
- Peters, James Lee, ed. (1937). Check-list of Birds of the World. Volume 3. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 117.
- Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 300. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
- Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (2020). "Pigeons". IOC World Bird List Version 10.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
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