Rock Dove Pigeons are the pigeons found in town and cities around us. The scientific name of Rock Dove Pigeon is Columba livia. Earlier these pigeons were called Rock Dove until and unless they were officially named by the British Ornithologists’ Union and the American Ornithologists’ Union. These rock dove pigeons are usually seen in parks and neighborhoods, around farms, under the highway or under or above the railroad bridges. These birds are usually found in larger flocks on crowd streets and public squares walking around looking for something to eat (mainly from discarded foods).


  • The average length and wingspan of a Rock Dove Pigeon is 30–35 cm and 62–68 cm simultaneously.
  • The average weight of rock dove is 1.25 pounds.
  • It is easy to identify pure Rock Pigeon due to the white color of its lower back and the black color bars found on its pale grey wings.
  • The plumage varies in color but generally, it is found that most of Rock Pigeon are bluish grey in color along with two black bands on the wings and a tipped black tail.
  • There is also another variety of plumaged Rock Pigeon that is a reddish variety which is most commonly found in the southwestern United States rather than northern and eastern areas.
  • The wing pattern for these pigeons generally consists of two bars, sometimes with dark spots; but some can be plain also. They also have a tail which is usually dark tipped with a white margin around it.
  • The head and neck of mature birds can be identified as the darker shade of blue-grey in comparison to the shade of blue-grey back and wings.
  • Most of these birds have eyes of an orange color but some other birds of the same category have white-grey irises. The eyelids are orange in color and the eyes are circled with the grey-white color ring.
  • The other immature plumage is darker in color overall.


  • These birds can be seen in the natural environment.
  • The pure (or the original) form of Rock dove Pigeons inhabits the natural rocky cliffs or usually on coasts. These pigeons are usually seen in remote regions of Europe mainly Britain and Ireland and mostly in the parts of its former range.
  • The domesticated form of Rock dove Pigeons or feral pigeon had been earlier introduced in other areas, and nowadays they can be very commonly found over much of the world.
  • Rock dove Pigeons have a wide range of population which can is found in the western and southern region of Europe, North Africa, and the southwest region of Asia. Europe introduced these pigeons to North America in the year 1606 at Port Royal, Acadia (present-day Nova Scotia).
  • These birds are found throughout Connecticut and almost every part of North America ranging from southern Canada south, as well as Hawaii region.


  • It is an important fact about pigeons that they are highly complex in nature and are one of the most intelligent animals. This can be said because pigeons are the only species of animals that have ever passed the “mirror test” (a test made to test self-recognition).
  • You must have read that in old days pigeons were an important means of communication.
  • Rock Dove pigeons have many names such as Columba livia, feral pigeon, domestic pigeon and a homing pigeon.
  • These flocks of pigeons are typically made up of an equal number of male and female pigeons.
  • These pigeons have the ability to fly at higher altitudes up to and beyond 6000 ft. The average flight speed of the pigeon is 15 to 35 mph; since these birds can also be trained and their flight speed is recorded up to 97 mph.
  • These pigeons are really smart as they can recognize each letter of the human alphabets. They also have an ability to differentiate between photographs, and also, they can distinguish different humans within a photograph.
  • Rock dove pigeons are known for their mastery of navigational abilities. They use the sun as a guiding source as well as an internal ‘magnetic compass’ to navigate. According to a study conducted at Oxford University Rock dove pigeons also have the ability to make use of landmarks such as signposts and they also have skills to travel along man-made roads and motorways, they even change directions at junctions.
  • These pigeons are highly social animals; hence they are mostly seen in flocks of 10 to 15 pigeons together.
  • These pigeons reproduce for life and tends to raise two birds at the same time.
  • One of the best features of these birds is the idea of responsibility sharing of both Male and female partners. They both share equal responsibility of taking care and raising the young pigeons. Both the male and female pigeons incubate the eggs turn wise in a well- planned manner. They both feed their chicks with pigeon milk (it is a special secretion from the lining of the crop which is produced by both male and female pigeons).
  • Along with navigational abilities, Pigeons have a great hearing ability. The Pigeons can easily detect sounds coming from far that too at lower frequencies in comparison to human’s ability and thus have an ability to hear distant storms and volcanoes.
  • There is a myth associated with pigeons of being dirty and disease-ridden in nature but the fact is completely opposite. Pigeons are highly sensitive to their appearance that’s why they always remain clean; they are one of the cleanest animals.
  • Talking about myths, in older times, the pigeon dropping or pigeon guano was considered to be highly valuable. As it was one of the best fertilizers available, there are also stories of armed guards standing outside of dovecotes or pigeon houses to protect the droppings from being taken away by other farmers. But present day, pigeon droppings are seen as a problem and enemy of cleanliness.
  • Another best feature of rock dove pigeon is it is fed by members of almost every community. Be it a Muslim community, Hindu community or a Sikh community all have their own spiritual reasons behind feeding these birds shortening the religious barriers. In Sikh community, pigeons are fed in honor of Saint Guru Gobind Singh, who was a great saint and priest known for his friendship with pigeons.
  • These birds when released at a new location up to 1000 km away from its home, these birds can still find their way back home to their loft. This is a highly impressive ability and is used as a basis in pigeon races.
  • There are war pigeons as well. These pigeons have literally saved many human lives and have been awarded for their services. They have been given medals such as Croix de Guerre title was awarded to Cher Ami, and the Dickin Medal was awarded to the famous G.I. Joe.
  • These pigeons were also very commonly used in maritime rescue operations due to their better and innate navigational abilities in comparison to human beings. The pigeons can easily spot shipwreck victims at sea.
  • These rock dove pigeons are of great help during biological, medicinal and cognitive science experiments. These small pigeons are trained to differentiate between an impressionist and cubist painting. The scientist has used them in the study the perception of shape and texture, its prototype and exemplary memory as well as category based and associative concepts.
  • Due to the advance skills possessed by rock dove pigeons, these birds are often considered to be exclusive human beings in nature.
  • These pigeons are highly powerful in nature and are hence bred to race. There is a whole pigeon race business running around the globe. These birds can fly pretty long stretches in comparison to other birds due to their massive breast muscles. These muscles account for one- third of their combined body weight.
  • The pigeons try keeping themselves in private until and unless they are fully developed. Therefore, they hide their nest pretty well away from the eyes of humans.
  • These birds are also very patient as the young pigeons known as squabs remain in their nest until they develop their adult appearance.
  • The rock dove pigeons are Monogamous (having sexual relation with one partner at one time) in nature.
  • These pigeons can live up to 20 years of age.
  • Due to their extraordinary visual abilities, these birds can very easily distinguish between medical images as malignant and non-malignant images.
  • The usual clutch size of pigeons is one to two eggs (it is rare to find three eggs).
  • The average incubation period is 11 to 30 days.
  • The young pigeons leave their nest only after 10 to 36 days.
  • It is interesting to know that rock dovepigeon is one of the world’s old birds to be domesticated. It has a history of domestication of more than 5000 years from the Mesopotamian era.

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