Wild and domestic pigeons

Pigeons were tamed by humans more than 5000 years ago, but many species still live in the wild. There are extinct species, including those caused by human fault. All that remained of them was only standards and a description, at best, drawings or photographs. In this article we will talk about the characteristics of wild and domestic pigeons, their lifestyle, species and breeds that breeders created.

  1. Description of the dove
  2. Lifestyle and habitat
  3. Breeding pigeons
  4. Species of wild pigeons
  5. Domestic pigeons
  6. Conditions of detention
  7. Feeding <
  8. Breeding <
  9. Diseases of pigeons
  10. Breeds of domestic pigeons
  11. carrier pigeons
  12. flying pigeons
  13. High-flying pigeons
  14. Mounted pigeons
  15. Role pigeons
  16. Slaughter pigeons
  17. Decorative pigeons
  18. meat pigeons



Description of the pigeon

There are more than 280 species of pigeons. Some live in the wild, others are tamed. Several species have become extinct today. How many chromosomes does a pigeon have? All members of the family have 16 chromosomes, many interbreed and produce fertile offspring.

All pigeons belong to the pigeon family, which consists of 4 subfamilies:

  • dentate (1st genus and 1 species);
  • fruit-eating (6 genera and 113 species);
  • crowned (1 genus and 3 species);
  • real pigeons (16 genera and 163 species).

In addition, there was a family, which included the extinct giant Dodo, which consisted of 3 species.The dodoes lived on the island of Mauritius and were completely destroyed by the colonialists 300-400 years ago.

All races and varieties of pigeons have similar features. Their description looks something like this:

  • The head of the pigeon is small, with a short neck.
  • The small beak is slightly elongated and thickened in front. Scales cover it above, the wax is soft above the beak, the color is in harmony with the color of the feathers.
  • At the very base of the beak, 2 open nostril clicks are visible.
  • The eyes are large, with a good view, the dove has developed third eyelid, vision is very sharp, irises of different colors.
  • The ears cover the feathers, the pigeons have excellent hearing, they are able to hear ultrasound and infrasound.
  • The body is small, compact, weighing from 200 g to 650 g, individual species can reach a weight of 900 g. Males are larger than females.
  • Wingspan – 20-27 cm.
  • Paws Yenko have 4 fingers, shade from gray to pink.
  • Feathers rigid structure, fit snugly to the body, podpushka well developed. This bird species does not have coccygeal glands that secrete lubricant for plumage. The feathers are protected by the powder that forms when they are erased.
  • The tail has a rounded shape, the outer tail feathers are shorter than the average.
  • The color of plumage in pigeons is very diverse. In the temperate zone they are light gray, dark gray, black or brown, in the tropics the feathers are brighter, green, blue, red. The external plumage is always darker than the down.
  • The hue of the eggs is gray, with specks, may depend on the plumage and species

This species has a low voice, the sound that birds make is called cooing. They sleep with their heads under their wings. The flight speed of pigeons is large, from 60 km / h to 140 km / h. They are well oriented on the ground. Not without reason since ancient times, birds have been used as postmen.

Lifestyle and habitat

Pigeons inhabit almost the entire territory of the globe. The bird does not live only in Antarctica and the Arctic zone of the northern hemisphere. Many species live in the city or near agricultural land. There are species that live in forests or mountains, far from or near a person. These include Tape pigeons, Ochakov pigeons or Murray pigeons.

The winged ones hibernate in the same place where they breed. In the northern regions, birds sometimes migrate to the south, which is never observed in the tropics, because there is no need for wintering.

What does the pigeon eat in the wild? The basis of the diet of this species is plant food. Pigeons love cereals (oats, wheat, barley, meadow grass seeds), sunflower seeds, corn, birch buds, acorns. Also, many species eat berries and other juicy fruits. In the city, people often look for food on the trash, pick up crumbs from the sidewalks.A fly, a worm, a ladybug and other animals are eaten by chance, but such “additives” are important for the intake of animal proteins.

When pigeons drink, they don’t throw their heads back like other birds. The beak is designed so that the pigeon can draw fluid into it, as if through a tube. The need for drinking in this species is high. The basis of his diet is wheat and other dry grains that they find on the ground. In the water, they swell and get smoothed faster.

How many pigeons live in the city and wildlife? Their life expectancy is 3-5 years. Very often, natural enemies become the cause of death. In urban settings, these are stray cats, dogs, crows and magpies, as well as humans. In the forest, lynxes, foxes, weasels, ferrets, birds of prey prey on birds, although a dove soars in flight. Pigeons often suffer from diseases that can even cause epidemics. Sick birds are carriers of dangerous pathogens.

Pigeon breeding

Pigeon breeding, especially in the wild, is intensive. Winged are capable of laying eggs from 4 to 8 times in a season. In temperate zones, courtship and mating take place from March to October, in the tropics – all year round.

Pigeons are monogamous birds, they often create pairs for life, even if a dominant male repels a female from a weaker one, she is able to return to his former partner.

During the courtship, the male actively cooes, attracts the female by dancing.When she reciprocates, carefully guards, drives her away to a safe place with the encroachment of other males. You can often see how doves communicate, kiss, try to drink and feed each other from their beaks. Steaming takes place in a secluded place several times a day. Birds in a flock often fight among themselves, but no matter who the couple offends, the second partner immediately runs to the rescue.

Both parents build the nest using their own feathers and improvised materials. In the city, for the construction of bird nests, attics of houses and abandoned buildings are often chosen. In the forest – hollow trees, dense shrubs. Near the nest, the bird never spoils. The female lays 2 to 3 eggs with a difference of 12 hours. Hatching offspring dove with a dove in turn. When sitting, carefully monitor so that the testicles do not fall out. The incubation period for eggs lasts 16-19 days, each chick hatches with a difference of 24-36 hours.

When the incubation ends, blind pigeons with a thin gray plumage are born, they should be well looked after. A hatched newborn chick is completely unable to eat and can barely move independently, can easily freeze.

In the first 7-10 days, parents feed offspring with a white secret, a porridge forms in the goiter of both the male and the female. The white secret is sometimes called “bird milk”. Only from the second week the pigeon cub begins to eat small grains little by little.

Nestlings do not grow very quickly, slowly gain weight.They begin to fly out of the nest and fly independently at the age of 30-45 days.

Species of wild pigeons

As mentioned above, the columba dove has about 300 species, each of which is unique and has its own standards. It is impossible to enumerate all the species here, therefore we will name only the most common:

  • Gray pigeon;
  • Forest pigeon (whirlwind and clintukh);
  • Rocky pigeon;
  • Dovetail (common, short-tailed, small, Siberian, ringed);
  • Brown, gray and white-breasted pigeons.

Some species are widespread, even their fishing is allowed, since flocks can harm agriculture, fill the streets of cities, which threatens epidemics. Such methods are justified when the fight against birds benefits the person and does not threaten the extinction of the species. For hunting decoy, snares, trap, shotgun are used. The meat of these birds is rarely consumed now, mainly hunting is sanitary or sports.

There are species that are listed in the Red Book. These are mainly forest or rocky pigeons that live away from human habitation. Often, the reduction in numbers is associated with the destruction of the habitat of economic activity. A striking example of species destruction is the completely disappeared American wandering pigeon, which at the beginning of the last century was massively found in the forests of the USA, Canada and Mexico.The maned wild pigeon that lives in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is at stake.

Domestic pigeons

About 5,000 years ago, the pigeon was domesticated in the Middle East. Birds were eaten, raised as ornamental. Merchants and soldiers noticed their amazing ability to navigate in space and always return home, so they began to use pigeons as postmen.Now the pigeon is a fairly popular poultry, although its golden age has already passed. The habits of poultry are similar to the behavior of wild ones.

Conditions of detention

It is not difficult to grow pigeons at home, it is not necessary to take care of winged animals. You can equip the house in the attic, in the yard or near the wall of the house. Inside the dovecot, perches of square planks or special racks of shelves for nesting are arranged. The walls of the dovecote are best made wooden or brick. The area of ​​the exit windows should not be less than 20 × 20 cm. Birds rarely freeze in the cold, but wintering is not a problem for wintering.

It is advisable to make an aviary near the dovecote, where the birds can safely go out for walking. You can put a container with wood ash in the enclosure where pets can bathe their feathers. Once a year, they molt, then the feathers can be slightly plucked. The rooms where the birds are kept must be clean. It depends on how many domestic pigeons live, whether they will have a healthy appearance.


Pigeons are almost the only poultry that have retained the ability to fly. They can easily get their own food on their own.

You can feed birds with grain of any kind. Only rye, oats and brown rice are given in limited quantities.Sunflower seeds for pigeons, acorns are well suited, sometimes you can feed them berries, mash of vegetables, bread crumbs, green food. In winter, more feed should be given, since it is difficult to find them on the street. Mineral water and vitamin supplements are also included in the diet, birds are fed with salt.

Be sure to put a container of water in the dovecot, and not just feeders: pets drink a lot.


How are pigeons born at home? There is no fundamental difference between tamed and wild birds. You need to pair domestic pigeons in accordance with the breed. Breeding them is not always easy, since this type is capricious in choosing a pair. If the male and the female do not like each other, courtship and mating do not happen, they do not lay eggs and do not give birth to chicks, so it is so important to learn everything about pigeons before breeding them.

How long does the pigeon live at home ? Unlike wild, the life span of this bird is longer. On average, winged representatives live at home for 15 years, less often 20.

Dove disease

Improper care and maintenance can lead to disease of birds. Often infections and even epidemics among poultry are caused by microbes, the peddlers of which are street doves.Most often, pigeons can pick up the following diseases:

  • henchworm, or twist;
  • ornithosis;
  • bird flu;
  • paramyxovirus infection ;
  • paratyphoid;
  • trichomoniasis;
  • smallpox;
  • coccidosis;
  • tuberculosis;
  • thrush;
  • arthritis;
  • bloating;
  • various parasites: helminthiases, lice, nests, fleas, etc.

The symptoms of many diseases are similar. Pigeons are choked up, lose activity, appetite, burp, they begin to vomit, have fever, runny eyes, runny nose, snot, birds sneeze, they bend their heads down, sometimes the dove is limp, breathing heavily.

If skin lesions occur parasites pigeons itch. To correctly diagnose, it is better to send the pigeon to the veterinarian. Without timely assistance, birds die.

The main way to prevent and protect is vaccination. The first injection is done to the chicks before departure, at about the age of 30 days.

Birds should be vaccinated annually. Pigeons can get infected from their street counterparts, therefore this rule cannot be ignored. In addition, the infection is transmitted to humans through the air and with dirty hands. To remove parasites, it is necessary to conduct worming from time to time. The veterinarian will advise you on exactly what to peel.

It is also important to know what pigeons can eat and what cannot, than solder them. Cells are preferably kept clean.

Breeds of domestic pigeons

Long-term selection, inbreeding of domestic pigeons allowed to create more than a hundred breeds and develop their standards. All of them came from sisar, which can be found everywhere on city streets, in parks and squares. Some have existed for several centuries, others have arisen recently.

Conventionally, all flying pigeons are divided into several groups:

  • postal (sports);
  • flying;
  • high-flying;
  • chased;
  • roly;
  • martial;
  • decorative;
  • meat.

First, birds of this species were bred for meat, then they became postal and decorative. In the courtyards of the Asian and European nobles there were huge pigeons. Nowadays, flying qualities and the beauty of domestic birds are most appreciated.

Carrier pigeons

Carrier pigeons have been carrying out service for many centuries, transmitting news to the addressee, wherever they are. They were used until the end of World War II. In the armies of all the warring parties, these birds were kept, which often served as spies, and aerial photography. Now they have lost relevance.

Postmen transferred to the category of sports. Postal breeds are considered the most expensive, as for the selection and training of birds you need to make a lot of effort.

The most famous sports breeds today:

  • Belgian carrier pigeons;
  • English quarry;
  • English dragon;
  • German carrier pigeons;
  • Russian carrier pigeons.

Trained carrier pigeons can fly hundreds of kilometers at high speeds and return to their home. How do they know where to fly? How do birds navigate in space? There are several versions. Some believe that the main sensory organ of the winged is the eyes; sharp vision helps to navigate. Others claim that pigeons are helped by infrasounds or the earth’s magnetic field. Which version is correct, is not known for certain.

In order to raise a champion, you need to know how to choose postman doves. They focus not only on the breed, but also on the quality of a particular individual, they must conduct a trial run. The Belgians are considered the best postmen, but among other varieties there are amazing specimens.

Flying pigeons

One of the main directions of modern pigeon breeding is the training of flying qualities in birds. The blue flight is very beautiful, you can enjoy it for hours. Some rocks can take off to such a height that they can be seen from the ground only with the help of an optical device. Others are valued for flapping their wings and the sounds that they make (militant, sickly). Some birds can beautifully somersault in the air.

High-flying pigeons

These breeds of birds are bred for the height of flight. Estimate it in meters or the size of flyers in the air. Pigeons can raise to the height of the belfry, lark, sparrow, butterfly, flickering points or even disappear in the sky. High-altitude breeds include:

  • Perm high-altitude;
  • Izhevsk;
  • Sverdlovsk flyers;
  • Budapest and Hungarian pigeons;
  • Kazan;
  • Volsky flight and Volsky turmans;
  • Persian or Persians;
  • Odessa;
  • Ochakov pigeons ;
  • Merchants black-headed;
  • Doves of Prikamye;
  • Nikolaev high-flying end-face and sickle;
  • Mordovian black-slab from Mordovia;
  • Chistopol or Bugulma flyers;
  • Chiliki.

Now it is difficult to find individuals that would rise on to great heights. Breeders make concessions to consumers. Many people prefer to buy birds that make beautiful figures in the air, flap their wings, and not just go tall. Someone keeps pets in the aviary, does not train, being afraid that they will not fly away, although professional poultry farmers still appreciate good flyers. In different countries of the world (in Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic, England) competitions are held annually among such pigeons.

Mounted pigeons

The breeds called gonny are not able to climb to a great height.They rise from the roof of the dovecote, if you scare them away. From here the birds got their name. Their flight is very diverse, pigeons swirl, make figures in the air, hang at one point. Often racing species fly in flocks, making footage in the sky even more beautiful. Now they are very popular, because in the world many race breeds are bred. The most famous of them are:

  • Warsaw driving pigeons;
  • Kamyshin;
  • Ukrainian Bryansk;
  • Moscow racing pigeons monks;
  • Tula hot turmans;
  • German racing pigeons monks;
  • Sparkling purebred;
  • Budapest mid-billed;
  • Arkhangelsk bullfinches doves;
  • Tula racing “magpie”;
  • Ural monks;
  • Tula monks pigeons;
  • Sickle-inverted Nikolaev;
  • Pavlovsky chased;
  • Crimean circleless, or kremaki;
  • Dubovsky chased or Kondratieff;
  • Chebark lsk;
  • Staroufimskie;
  • Khmelnitsky flight;
  • Kherson from Upper Rogachik;
  • Kharkov air flight;
  • Militopolsky sickpathians;
  • Kursaki;
  • Gonny from Konotop and Salsk;
  • Kiev light, or fireflies;
  • Zhdanovsky;
  • Kremenchug;
  • Tsaritsyno winged wings;
  • Indian Derish (Hindu Derish) or Arabs.

In flight, they must evaluate wings. The smaller it is, the better.Another feature of chasing pigeons is the ability to drive other birds into their flock. Often they were used to steal pigeons from other pigeons. It remained only to train the stolen bird to a new place. The color of the racing pigeons can be any, among them there are black, white, brown, red, multi-colored, gray and even blue birds.

Role doves

Role doves, scooters or vertices, got their name because of the ability to turn around in flight around their own axis. Some individuals also know how to make wing clicks. Their flight altitude is low or medium. The ability to rotate in the air can be manifested not only in roloe breeds, such individuals are found among both chased and martial. At the same time, not all representatives of the spindles have a characteristic property. Such birds are rejected and not allowed for breeding. The most popular breeds of spindles:

  • Oriental (oriental) scooter;
  • Birmingham scooter;
  • Gelatskiy dove kuvyrkun or roller;
  • Steppe Ukrainian swivel;
  • Starokazatsky pigeon swivel.

They assess the spirits by their ability to hold their heights, while making turns in the air. It’s difficult to teach pigeons to fly in this way, genetics are involved here, but you can improve the technique to fight for the prize. The best copies are quite expensive. The price in the catalogs ranges from 700 to 1000 rubles per head.

Fighting pigeons

Fighting pigeons are so called because they know how to make specific clicks of wings in flight, or fractional combat. They began to breed in the Middle East and Persia. Most likely this species has its pedigree from Turkish and Persian breeds. Now the direction is very popular. The main breeding sites are Turkey, Iran, the Caucasus and Transcaucasia, some regions of Dagestan, Russia, Ukraine, pigeons became popular in Germany, in Azerbaijan, Stavropol Territory. Poles and Czechs are engaged in their cultivation.Here are the most popular breeds:

  • Andijan pigeons, or Andijan;
  • Armavir battle cosmos;
  • Afghan (Afghans);
  • Azerbaijani pointed karagezs;
  • Armenian militant;
  • Agasiyevsky;
  • Baku chili doves;
  • Berlin pigeon turman with a short beak;
  • Fighting Kosan;
  • Damascus;
  • Iranian, cheeky, head and crested;
  • Krasnodar bokaty or Neverovsky;
  • Kakheti warriors or Kakhetians;
  • Leninakan warriors;
  • Coal-black dove of Kara Sochi;
  • White dove of ok sochi;
  • Melitopol;
  • Polish or old Poland;
  • Red and white colored ruddy;
  • Russian big-headed;
  • North Caucasian cosmachi;
  • Turkish fighting;
  • Turkish takla;
  • Tehran doves;
  • Tashkent gulbadams and chimkent;
  • Tajik;
  • Uzbek Termez or Termez;
  • Uzbek Awlaki from Dzhambul.

The style of flight for slaughter birds is very different. Some soar directly into the sky (with a candle), others first make circles, gain height, and only then begin to tumble and beat wings in the air. Some individuals can rise very high, to the state of a flickering point. The main quality by which these birds are evaluated is the quality of the battle, its volume and duration. It is important to constantly train all the dead birds, without which they will lose their shape.

Decorative pigeons

Nowadays, pigeons are bred most often for beauty, because decorative breeds began to crowd out others. Even some flying breeds began to be grown for external characteristics. Decorative birds differ in body shape, posture, color, pattern and type of feathers. The pigeon variety Datysh has a hypertrophic goiter, similar to a ball. Some breeds have a special development of wax, eyes, spikes on the legs. The head is often decorated with forelocks or crests. Some look like other types of birds, for example, gulls, storks, swallows.

Here are the most popular decorative directions:

  • In shape of the body are stately, tall birds, shaped doves.
  • Colored pigeons with different shades of plumage, sometimes very exotic (there are red, red, pockmarked, marbled, lilac, black, blue, white and yellow are highly valued).
  • “Imitators “, Looking like swifts, gulls, storks, bullfinches, falcons, swallows, owls, etc.
  • along the length of the beak – long-nosed, small-nosed, short-billed, with a thick whether with a curved beak.
  • The plumage structure is curly and smooth.
  • The rocks with decorations are bearded, birds “in panties”, puffs, etc.

Recently, there are so many decorative breeds that it is impossible to list them all. This means that this direction is a favorite and very promising.Here are the most popular:

  • The royal peacock;
  • Bernese and Pomeranian dutysh;
  • Marchenero;
  • Uryupinsky stately;
  • Rostov stately;
  • German exhibition;
  • Syrian folded;
  • Uzbek colored rudders and gulsars;
  • Uzbek shaggy and chelkari;
  • Czech lapwing;
  • Chinese gulls;
  • Two-tasman tasman;
  • Bohemian swallow with shaggy legs;
  • Volzhsky ribbon pigeons;
  • Rzhevsky ribbon pigeons;
  • Murky pigeons;
  • Ivanovo running;
  • Curly, or curly doves;
  • Krylovsk e shaggy;
  • Saxon priest with crest and curved beak;
  • Saxon white-tailed;
  • German chubat and two-toed drummers;
  • Jacobins;
  • Barb;
  • Sobate;
  • Shaggy capuchins;
  • Agassia or Agassian;
  • Akkerman;
  • Artamon are variegated;
  • Blondes are one-color (red, chocolate, black, white, beige, yellow, brown);
  • Blondes with scales and striped;
  • Bukhara decorative;
  • Tokyo white ghoul;
  • Marble chegrashes;
  • Shawl doves from Altai Krai;
  • Hook ovskie decorative short-billed.

The external structure of the body, the feathers are sometimes so original that the bird does not resemble a pigeon. Even the most exotic birds can envy suits.Many of these birds fly poorly, often due to large goiter, huge feathers on their tail, etc. They are often kept in closed enclosures in the country, in the apartment in cages. It’s very expensive to make many rare specimens; they must undergo a ringing.

Decorative pigeons are widely used, despite the seeming uselessness. They adorn courtyards, conservatories and parks. They are released for weddings, the Annunciation, not a single city holiday can do without them. A separate category of decorative birds includes trumpeters drummers, or torkuts, with an original voice.

Meat pigeons

These breeds appeared very first. Now pigeons are rarely used for meat. Great demand for them remained only in Britain, Germany and America. In this regard, the American, English and German breeding lines are distinguished.

The meat pigeons are large, have a thick and muscular body with well-developed hips and a wide breast. A real giant weighs up to 1 kg. All breeds are divided into 3 directions:

  • Gigantic with a large mass (maximum weight – 900-1000 g), stocky body, like real pitching.
  • Chicken with long legs, shortened body and tiny tail.
  • Meat with an average weight (about 600 g).

Modena are considered the oldest breed, but there are others:

  • Roman meat;
  • Kingings;
  • Strassers ;
  • Texans;
  • Viennese;
  • Polish lynx doves;
  • White Maltese;
  • Modena doves ;
  • Large Hungarian giants;
  • Magnani;
  • Sottobank;
  • Kurbugsky dove lark;
  • Carnot;
  • Montenblanc;
  • The Spanish dove Homer;
  • Coshua;
  • Benesov’s dove.

All meat breeds fly poorly, their appearance is not too noticeable. A large bird prefers to walk on the ground. In countries where they are bred, poultry meat is considered a delicacy and is very expensive, so the business is quite profitable. In Russia, the popularity of such breeds is low, since there is no tradition of eating pigeon meat.

Now it is difficult to find and mate pure breeds of any direction. Often amateurs take up breeding – mestizos change their color, body shape, flight quality. To get a good pigeon, you need to check how much customers trust the breeder, what kind of farm he has. It is best to look for thoroughbred pigeons in the regions from which they come. For example, the Poltava – in Poltava, Nikolaev – in the city of Nikolaev, Polish – in Poland.

You can bookmark this page

Anna Evans

Author ✓ Farmer

View all posts by Anna Evans →