As someone who has rescued and cared for my own pigeon, I can attest to the incredible intelligence and personality of these often-overlooked birds. There is so much to love and learn about pigeons.
In this article, I’ll be sharing 25 interesting facts about pigeons that will hopefully inspire you to appreciate them as much as I do.
Whether you’re a pigeon enthusiast or just looking to learn more about these amazing animals, I hope you’ll find these facts as captivating and exciting as I do.
30 interesting facts about pigeons
Pigeon Fact 1: Pigeons are found all over the world
Pigeons, also known as rock doves or Columba livia, are a bird species found all over the world.
They are found in a variety of habitats, including cliffs, forests, and urban areas. Pigeons live on all continents except Antarctica.
Pigeon Fact 2: There are 300 breeds of pigeons
There are over 300 breeds of wild pigeons.
They have been kept by humans for thousands of years for their ability to carry messages, as a food source, or in pigeon racing.
Pigeon Fact 3: A feral pigeon is a domesticated pigeon that has returned to the wild
A feral pigeon is a domesticated pigeon that has returned to the wild and is able to survive on its own in a natural habitat.
Feral pigeons are often found in urban areas and are known for their ability to adapt to different environments. They are descended from rock doves, which are a type of wild pigeon that naturally inhabit cliffs and other rocky areas.
Feral pigeons are typically the same species as domesticated pigeons, but have adapted to living in the wild and are able to find food and shelter on their own.
They are often considered pests in urban areas due to the mess created by their droppings and the damage they can cause to buildings and other structures.
Check this out: 11 pigeon myths
Pigeon Fact 4: Pigeons mate for life
Pigeons are a monogamous species, which means that they form pairs and mate with a single partner for life and they are known to be loyal to their mates.
If a pigeon loses its mate, it may take some time to find a new partner, but they are generally able to form new pair bonds.
Pigeon Fact 5: Pigeons grieve for a lost partner
They are also known to grieve for a lost mate and may exhibit signs of depression or distress until they find a new partner.
Pigeon Fact 6: Pigeons take turns when incubating eggs and caring for chicks
Both male and female pigeons participate in incubating the eggs and caring for the chicks, and they work together to ensure the eggs are kept warm and the chicks are well-fed.
Check this: How Many Eggs Does A Pigeon Lay?
Pigeon Fact 7: Pigeons produce a milk-like substance called “pigeon milk”
Pigeon milk is a special milk-like substance produced by the parents of baby pigeons, also known as squabs, to feed their chicks.
Pigeon milk is produced by a gland on the head called the cere, and is fed to the chicks by the parents through regurgitation.
- Pigeon milk is high in nutrients and helps to nourish the chicks until they are able to eat solid food.
- It is the only known example of non-mammals producing a milk-like substance to feed their young outside of the mammary gland.
Pigeon milk is produced by both male and female pigeons and is fed to the chicks for the first few days of life until they are able to eat solid food. Pigeon milk is similar in composition to human milk and contains a high percentage of protein, fat, and lactose.
Pigeon Fact 8: Pigeons have an amazing homing ability
Pigeons are known for their homing ability, which allows them to find their way back to their nests or home loft even over long distances.
This ability has made them valuable as homing pigeons and racing pigeons, as well as pigeon messengers throughout history.
- Homing pigeons are trained to return to their home loft from a distance and are often used in pigeon racing or for carrying messages.
- Racing pigeons are trained to fly long distances at high speeds and compete to be the first to return home.
Pigeon messengers have been used for centuries to carry messages over long distances, and have played a significant role in human history by saving thousands of lives during times of war.
Check this out: How Fast Can A Pigeon Fly?
Pigeon Fact 9: Pigeons have amazing eyesight
Pigeons have excellent eyesight, which allows them to see a wide range of colors and details that are not visible to humans.
They are also able to see ultraviolet light, which allows them to see flowers and other objects that appear invisible to humans.
This ability is thought to be an adaptation that helps them find food and navigate their environment.
- Pigeons have good visual acuity and are able to see objects at a distance, which is helpful for their homing ability and for avoiding predators.
- Pigeons also have a wide field of vision and are able to see in all directions, which helps them to detect potential threats.
While other birds and other species may have similar eyesight, pigeons are known for their exceptional visual abilities.
Pigeon Fact 10: Pigeons have complex vocalizations
Pigeons are known for their complex vocalizations, which include coos, clicks, and whistles.
- Pigeons use their vocalizations to communicate with each other and to defend their territory, and their voices are an important part of their social behavior.
- Pigeons are known to coo loudly when they are at the nest and when they are courting a mate, and they also make a variety of other vocalizations to express a range of emotions.
Check: Why Does A Pigeon Coo?
- Rock doves, the wild ancestors of domesticated pigeons, are known for their distinctive cooing, which is often heard in large flocks of pigeons.
Pigeons are also known to make a variety of other vocalizations, including clicks, purrs, and whistles, to communicate with each other and to defend their territory.
Check this out: What Sound Does A Pigeon Make?
Pigeon Fact 11: Pigeons can live from 5 to 15 years
Pigeons generally have a lifespan of about 5 to 15 years, although some individuals may live longer.
- The lifespan of a pigeon depends on a variety of factors, including genetics, diet, and environmental conditions.
- Pigeons are known to be hardy birds and are able to adapt to a wide range of environments, which helps to increase their lifespan.
- In general, pigeons live longer in captivity than in the wild due to the availability of food and shelter and the absence of predators.
When compared to other animals, pigeons have a relatively long lifespan, and many individuals are able to live well into their teens.
Check this: How Long Do Pigeons Live?
Pigeon Fact 12: Pigeons have a unique respiratory system
Pigeons have a highly efficient respiratory system that allows them to extract oxygen from the air more effectively than other birds.
This is due to the presence of a number of adaptations that increase the surface area of the lungs and allow for efficient gas exchange.
These adaptations include the presence of small, branching tubes called bronchioles and a system of air sacs that helps to circulate air throughout the body.
The efficient respiratory system of pigeons allows them to fly for long periods of time without getting tired and helps them to survive in a variety of environments.
Pigeon fact 13: Pigeons are a sign of peace
Pigeons have often been used as a symbol of peace and are often seen as a symbol of hope and renewal.
- In many cultures, white pigeons are seen as symbols of peace and are often used in wedding ceremonies and other important events.
- Pigeons have also been used as messengers throughout history, carrying messages between individuals and across long distances.
- In times of war, pigeons have played a significant role in saving thousands of lives by carrying messages that contained important information.
These characteristics have contributed to the pigeon’s reputation as a symbol of peace and have helped to make them a beloved and respected animal in many cultures around the world.
Pigeon Fact 14: Pigeons have a very strong immune system
Pigeons have a strong immune system and are resistant to many diseases that affect other bird species.
This is due, in part, to their ability to adapt to a wide range of environments and to the presence of specialized immune cells and proteins that help to protect them from infection.
- Pigeons are known to be hardy birds and are able to withstand harsh conditions, such as extreme temperatures and limited food and water.
- They are also resistant to many diseases that are common in other bird species, including avian influenza and salmonella.
In addition, pigeons have a unique digestive system that helps to protect them from parasites and other infectious agents.
Pigeon Fact 15: Pigeons are very intelligent
Pigeons are intelligent birds and are known for their ability to learn new tasks quickly when properly trained.
Pigeons have been used for a variety of purposes throughout history, including carrying messages, as a food source, and in pigeon racing.
- They have also been used in a variety of scientific studies and are known to have excellent spatial memory and problem-solving abilities.
- Pigeons are able to recognize and differentiate between different shapes, colors, and patterns, and are able to remember and recall information over long periods of time.
- Domestic pigeons, which are a domesticated version of the rock dove, have been used in a variety of research studies and are known to be intelligent and highly trainable.
Check this out: Are Pigeons Smart?
Pigeon Fact 16: Pigeons can fly as fast as 90 mph
Pigeons are known for their ability to fly long distances at high speeds and are able to reach speeds of up to 90 mph in some cases.
- Pigeons are used in pigeon racing and are trained to fly long distances at high speeds, and their homing instincts allow them to find their way back home even over long distances.
- The passenger pigeon, a species of pigeon that is now extinct, was known for its ability to fly at speeds of up to 60 mph and was once considered a common sight in North America.
Despite their impressive flying abilities, passenger pigeons are now a rare sight due to habitat loss and overhunting and are considered extinct.
Pigeon Fact 17: Pigeons form large flocks
Pigeons are known to form large flocks and are often seen flying in large groups, sometimes numbering in the thousands.
Pigeon Fact 18: Pigeons are considered the first domesticated bird
Pigeons are a domesticated bird that is descended from the rock dove, a species of wild pigeon that is found in a variety of habitats, including cliffs, forests, and urban areas.
Pigeons have been domesticated by humans for thousands of years and are considered to be the first domesticated bird.
Pigeon Fact 19: Pigeon racing is a real sport
Pigeon racing, in which trained pigeons are released from a distant location and compete to be the first to return home, has been a popular sport for centuries.
Pigeon racing involves the training of special racing pigeons, which are kept in pigeon houses and are carefully bred and nurtured to ensure that they are in top condition.
- Pigeons are known for their homing ability, which allows them to find their way back to their nest or home loft even over long distances, and for their ability to fly long distances at high speeds.
- Pigeon racing involves the release of the pigeons from a distant location, usually several hundred miles away, and the timing of their return to the home loft.
- Pigeons are trained to fly long distances at high speeds and are released from a variety of locations, including cities, forests, and mountains.
The first pigeon to return home is declared the winner, and pigeon racing has been a popular sport for centuries due to the skill and endurance required to be successful.
Pigeon Fact 20: Pigeon droppings are not as scary as you think
Pigeon droppings are a common concern for many people, as they are often seen as unsightly and can be a potential health hazard if not properly managed.
However, it is important to note that pigeon droppings are not as harmful as many people think, and can actually be beneficial in some cases.
- Pigeon droppings contain a variety of nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which can be beneficial for plants and soil.
- In fact, some people use pigeon droppings as a natural fertilizer in their gardens.
While pigeon poop can pose a risk of disease if they come into contact with food or are inhaled, this risk can be easily managed by properly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that come into contact with droppings.
Check these pigeon poop articles:
Pigeon Fact 21: Pigeons have saved thousands of human lives
Pigeons have been used to carry messages for thousands of years and have played a significant role in saving thousands of human lives during times of war.
- During World War I and World War II, carrier pigeons were used extensively to carry messages between military units and to convey important information, such as the location of enemy troops.
- Pigeons were often used in place of radios, which were not always reliable, and were able to deliver messages quickly and accurately.
Pigeons played a crucial role in saving thousands of lives during these conflicts and are still used as messenger pigeons in some parts of the world today.
Pigeon Fact 22: Pigeons usually lay two eggs and incubate them for 17
It is uncommon for pigeons to lay more than two eggs in a single clutch, although it is not impossible.
- Pigeons typically lay two eggs in a single clutch, with both eggs being laid a day or two apart.
- The incubation period for pigeon eggs is about 17 to 19 days, after which the eggs will hatch and the baby pigeons, called squabs, will emerge
Check this out: What Does A Baby Pigeon Look Like?
Pigeon Fact 23: Pigeons recognize human faces
Pigeons are intelligent birds and are able to recognize and remember a wide range of visual stimuli, including human faces.
Studies have shown that pigeons are able to differentiate between individual human faces and are able to remember these faces over long periods of time.
In addition to their ability to recognize and remember individual human faces, pigeons are also able to recognize and remember their owners and are known to be affectionate and loyal to their caregivers.
Here is the article for you: Are Pigeons Good Pets?
Pigeon Fact 24: Pigeons bob their head
Pigeons are known for their distinctive head-bobbing behavior, which is a common behavior among many bird species.
Pigeons bob their heads for a variety of reasons, including to maintain balance, to communicate with other pigeons, and to search for food.
When pigeons bob their heads, they move their heads up and down in a rapid, rhythmic motion. This behavior is often seen when pigeons are walking or foraging for food, and is thought to help them maintain their balance and stability while they move.
Pigeons also bob their heads when they are communicating with other pigeons, and this behavior is often seen in pairs or groups of pigeons.
Read this: Why Do Pigeons Bob Their Head?
Pigeon Fact 25: Pigeons drink in a unique way
Pigeons are able to drink water in a unique way that is different from other birds.
- Unlike other birds, which use their tongues to drink water, pigeons are able to drink by sucking water into their beak.
- This behavior is known as ‘sucking’, and it is thought to be an adaptation that allows pigeons to drink water more efficiently.
- Pigeons are able to drink water by sucking it into their beak and then swallowing it, and are able to drink from a variety of sources, including fountains, puddles, and bird baths.
Pigeons are also able to extract moisture from their food, which helps them to stay hydrated even when water is scarce.
Pigeon Fact 26: Pigeons love taking baths
Pigeons are known to enjoy bathing and are often seen splashing around in water and preening their feathers.
- Pigeons are able to bathe in a variety of ways, including by splashing water on their feathers with their beaks, by preening their feathers in water, and by immersing themselves in water and flapping their wings.
- Bathing helps pigeons to keep their feathers clean and well-maintained, and is an important part of their grooming routine.
In addition to helping to keep their feathers clean and well-maintained, bathing also helps pigeons to stay cool and to control their body temperature, especially in hot weather.
Pigeon Fact 27: Pigeons are very clean
Pigeons are generally considered to be clean birds and are known to be fastidious groomers.
Pigeons are able to keep their feathers clean and well-maintained by preening them on a regular basis and are known to spend a significant amount of time grooming themselves.
Pigeon Fact 28: Newly hatched pigeons are so vulnerable and sweet
Newly hatched pigeon squabs, or baby pigeons, are small and have fluffy, downy feathers that cover their bodies. Squabs are born with their eyes closed and are unable to see or move around on their own.
- Squabs are completely dependent on their parents for food and care, and are fed a substance called ‘pigeon milk’ by their parents.
Pigeon milk is produced by the female pigeon’s crop and is fed to the squabs by the male pigeon. Squabs are fed pigeon milk for the first few days of life and are gradually introduced to solid food
Pigeon Fact 29: You should not feed pigeons bread
While it is common to see people feeding pigeons bread, it is actually not the best food for pigeons to eat.
- Pigeons are naturally adapted to a diet of seeds and grains, and bread does not provide the necessary nutrients that pigeons need to stay healthy.
- Bread can also be harmful to pigeons if it is moldy or stale, as it can contain toxins that can make the pigeons sick.
Check this out: What Do Pigeons Eat?
Pigeon Fact 30: Pigeons make great pets and companions
Pigeons are intelligent, social birds that are known for their affectionate and loyal nature, and can make great pets and companions for people who are willing to take the time and effort to care for them.
- Pigeons are also easy to care for and do not require a lot of specialized equipment or attention, making them a good choice for people who do not have a lot of experience keeping birds.
- Pigeons are adaptable and are able to thrive in a variety of environments, and can be kept in a variety of settings, including in aviaries or as indoor pets.
- Pigeons are also highly trainable and can be taught a variety of tricks and behaviors when properly trained.
- Pigeons are known for their strong homing instincts and are often used in pigeon racing, and can be trained to return home from long distances.
Overall, pigeons can make great pets and companions for people who are interested in keeping birds and are looking for a loyal and affectionate companion.
Bonus Pigeon Fact: Adopting a pigeon is so rewarding
Adopting a pigeon that is unable to fly or get back into the wild can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience.
- Pigeons that are unable to fly or get back into the wild may require special care and attention, but with the right care and support, they can lead happy and healthy lives.
- Adopting a pigeon that is unable to fly or get back into the wild can be a wonderful way to provide a loving home for a bird in need and to form a special bond with a unique and intelligent companion.
Overall, adopting a pigeon can be a wonderful and rewarding experience for both the pigeon and the adopter.
Related article: How To Tell If A Pigeon Is Male Or Female?
Funny facts about my pigeon
I want to share a few interesting facts about my pigeon, Gerard:
- Gerard has a special fondness for sitting on my head or on my shoulder when I walk around the house, and he seems to enjoy being right in the middle of all the action.
- Gerard also loves to sit on my chair behind me as I work and watch me type and click away on my computer.
- Gerard loves to land on my keyboard as soon as I walk away from my computer.
- Gerard is super jealous of my husband and is especially aggressive toward him
- Gerard is convinced that he is a popstar pigeon and loves to sing and dance whenever he gets the chance.
- Gerard is convinced that he is a fashion icon pigeon and loves to strut his stuff, showing off his feathers and preening in front of the mirror.
- Gerard is a formidable pigeon with a lot of personality, and he is not afraid to stand up for himself. Despite being much smaller than my husky dog, Gerard is not intimidated by the larger animal and is not afraid to let him know who is boss. Gerard has a fierce and determined look in his eye and is not afraid to puff out his chest and strut his stuff when he feels threatened.
- Gerard is a proud and confident pigeon and is not afraid to assert his dominance when necessary.
Pigeons are truly remarkable birds with a wide range of unique abilities and characteristics. From their strong homing instincts and ability to fly for long periods of time, to their unique respiratory system and intelligence, pigeons are truly one-of-a-kind creatures.
One of the most fascinating things about pigeons is their strong personalities and individual quirks. Whether they are convinced they are Jedi Knights or mermaids, or are fiercely protective of their territory, pigeons are always full of surprises and never fail to bring a smile to our faces.
In conclusion, pigeons are truly amazing birds that deserve our admiration and respect. Whether they are wild and free or domesticated and loved, pigeons are an integral part of the natural world and make our lives richer and more meaningful.
So, the next time you see a pigeon, take a moment to appreciate their beauty and uniqueness, and be grateful for the opportunity to share your life with these amazing creatures.