Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon

Scientific name: Columba livia

Did you know: The Rock Dove, also known as the Feral Pigeon, was the first bird domesticated by humans, primarily for food purposes.

What Do Rock Doves Look Like? (how to identify them)

Rock Doves, commonly known as Feral Pigeons, are a familiar sight with their varied palette of colours. Their plumage ranges from shades of blue to black, pale grey with chequered patterns, and even unique tones of brick-red or cinnamon-brown. Some may closely resemble their wild counterparts, the wild Rock Doves.

Differences Between Male and Female Rock Doves

Males and females of this species show little distinction in appearance, making them less sexually dimorphic compared to other birds. Generally, males may exhibit slightly more intense iridescence on their necks and are a bit larger in size than females.

What Do Rock Doves Eat?

Rock Doves primarily feed on seeds and grains. In urban landscapes, they adapt to eat almost anything, including discarded human food and kitchen scraps. In natural settings, they may consume grass seeds, berries, and occasionally insects and spiders.

Where Do Rock Doves Live? (inc. migration info)

Originally native to the coastlines of Scotland and Northern Ireland, Rock Doves have adapted to thrive in diverse habitats. These include urban areas, suburbs, farmlands, and even marine environments. They are predominantly sedentary, not migrating but staying close to their local areas.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Rock Doves)

The Rock Dove’s call is a soft, melodious coo, varying slightly in pitch and tone. It also produces a range of other sounds, including alarm calls and nest coos, especially when communicating within a flock or during mating displays.

Fun Rock Dove Facts (kid friendly)

  • Rock Doves can navigate home from long distances, making them excellent at homing.
  • They were used as message carriers in wars, earning medals for bravery.
  • A Rock Dove’s wingspan ranges from 62 to 70 cm.
  • They can live up to 15 years in captivity.
  • Young Rock Doves, called squabs, are fed a special ‘milk’ produced by their parents.
  • Their feather colours vary greatly due to different types of melanin.
  • Rock Doves often make a loud clapping sound with their wings when they take off.
  • The species plays a significant role in scientific studies, including research on navigation and evolution.
  • They are one of the few bird species with the ability to recognise themselves in a mirror.
  • In ancient times, Rock Doves were often kept for their ability to return home, leading to the development of pigeon post systems.

Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile

Facts About The Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon

Diet: Seeds and cereals.
Bird Family: Pigeons and doves
Length: 31-34cm
Wingspan: 63-70cm
Weight: 230-370g
Scientific Name: Columba livia

The Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December