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Feral Pigeon

Feral Pigeon
Both sexes: Variable plumage.

The Feral Pigeon (also known as Domestic or Town Pigeon) is descended from the Rock Dove (shown in the photograph), and can have similar plumage, though there are also many mixes of black, browns, white and piebald. Feral Pigeons can be larger than Rock Doves owing to their mixed breeding.

The adult Rock Dove is smaller than a Wood Pigeon. The underparts and upper parts are blue-grey, but the back is paler, and there is always a white patch on its rump. The neck is iridescent with green and purple. The wings are grey except for two distinct black wing-bars. The eyes and legs are red.

Feral Pigeons have adopted ledges on buildings and other structures in our towns and cities whereas the Rock Dove uses cliffs.

Scientific Name Columba livia
Length 31-34 cm  (12-13")
Wing Span 63-70 cm  (25-28")
Weight 230-370 g  (8-13 oz)
Breeding Pairs > 100000
Present All Year
Status Green

Distribution map - when and where you are most likely to see the species.


The call is a continuous, bubbling moan.


© Jean Roché,


The feral pigeon feeds on grain, seeds and kitchen scraps.


The nest of twigs is built on a ledge by both sexes but mostly by the female.

The white eggs are smooth and glossy, and about 39 mm by 29 mm in size. Both parents share the duty of incubating the eggs and feeding the nestlings.

Breeding Starts Clutches Eggs Incubation (days) Fledge (days)
March 2-3 1-2 17-19 20-28


Rock Doves are very sedentary, rarely moving from their nest site.


Feral Pigeons have become a nuisance in many towns and cities because their droppings accumulate and pose a health hazard to us. Additionally, the droppings are acidic and cause damage to the stonework of buildings. The expansion of its range and hybridisation with Rock Doves is so successful that relatively few "pure" Rock Doves remain.