Pigeon

Feral Pigeon – Columba livia

Description of Appearance

  • Length: 29-33cm.
  • Weight: 260-580g.
  • Feral pigeons have grey, slightly iridescent feathers on the neck that shine pink and green in the sunlight.
  • Other colours include white, brownish-red, and mixtures.

Lifecycle

  • Feral pigeons can produce up to 9 broods per year, but usually produce 2–3 on average. There are two eggs in each clutch, and new eggs can be laid when the young are just 20 days old.
  • Feral pigeons’ eggs have a 17–19 day incubation period. Young birds spend 35–37 days in the nest.
  • Feral pigeons’ lifespan is around 3-5 years in the wild, but up to 35 years in captivity.

Habits & Behaviour

  • Nests are built by the female pigeon using material collected by the male.
  • Pigeons roost together in buildings, ledges, lofts, walls or even statues in towns and cities.
  • Pigeons feed on seeds, bread, vegetables, meat and other food discarded by humans.
  • Pigeons are able to dip their bills into the water and drink continuously without having to tilt their heads back.
  • Young pigeons are known as squabs. They are fed from a special substance produced in the pigeon’s crop known as pigeon milk.
  • When disturbed, a pigeon in a group will take off with a noisy clapping sound. This informs other pigeons that there is danger present.
  • They are capable of rapid dives and changes in direction and most of the time will easily out manoeuvre a bird of prey, as they can reach speeds of up to 50mph.
  • They are resident and do not migrate.

Important

  • Do not feed pigeons around your building. This could lead to them nesting nearby.
  • Pigeons’ acidic droppings can erode most surfaces, causing structural degradation to your building.
  • The best known disease passed from birds to man is Psittacosis. Fouling can be a public health hazard and must be cleaned regularly.

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