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A dovecote or dovecot /ˈdʌvkɒt/ (Scots: doocot) is a structure intended to house pigeons or doves. Dovecotes may be square or circular free-standing structures or built into the end of a house or barn. They generally contain pigeonholes for the birds to nest. Pigeons and doves were an important food source historically in Western Europe and were kept for their eggs, flesh, and dung. In Scotland the tradition is continued in modern urban areas.