Wild and domestic pigeons

Pigeons were tamed by humans more than 5, 000 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 material we will talk about the characteristics of wild and domestic pigeons, their lifestyle, species and breeds that breeders created.


Pigeon Description

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

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

  • dentate (1 genus and 1 species);
  • fruit-eating (6 genera and 113 species);
  • Crowned (1st 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. Drones lived on the island of Mauritius and were completely destroyed by the colonialists 300-400 years ago.

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

  • The pigeon’s head is small, on 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 sockets of the nostrils are visible.
  • The eyes are large, with a good view, the dove has a third eyelid, eyesight is very sharp, irises of different colors.
  • The feathers cover the ears, the pigeons have excellent hearing, they are able to hear ultrasound and infrasound.
  • The little 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.
  • The paws are short, have 4 fingers, a shade of gray to pink.
  • Feathers of a rigid structure, tightly fit to the body, the downhole is well developed. This bird species does not have coccygeal glands that secrete lubricant for plumage. Feathers are protected by the powder formed when they are erased.
  • The tail has a rounded shape, the outer tail feathers are shorter than the average.
  • The plumage color of 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 shade of 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 & Area

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 Doves, Ochakov Doves or Murray Doves.

Winged winters 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 do not 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 water, they swell and are more easily etched.

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.

Breeding pigeons

Breeding pigeons, especially in the wild, is intense. Winged are capable of laying eggs from 4 to 8 times in a season. In temperate zones, courtship and mating takes place from March to October, in the tropics - all year round.

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

During 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 of the couple is offended, 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 doves with a thin gray plumage are born, they must be well looked after. A hatched newborn chick is completely unable to eat and barely moves independently, it can easily freeze.

In the first 7-10 days, parents feed offspring with a white secret, a porridge forms in the goiter in 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.

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

Types of wild pigeons

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

  • Gray pigeon;
  • Forest pigeon (whirlwind and clintukh);
  • Rocky dove;
  • Turtle dove (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 the destruction of a species 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. At stake is the maned wild pigeon that lives on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

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

Growing pigeons at home does not present any special difficulties, there is no particular need to take care of winged ones. 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 be at least 20 × 20 cm. Birds rarely freeze in the cold, but winterizing is not a problem.

It is advisable to make an aviary near the dovecote, where 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. This largely determines how many domestic pigeons live, whether they will have a healthy appearance.


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

You can feed the 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. Also, the diet includes mineral water and vitamin supplements, feed the birds 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 starting to breed them.

How long does a 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.

Pigeon diseases

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

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

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 lame, breathing heavily.

When infected with skin 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 given to the chicks before departure, at about the age of 30 days.

Inoculate birds every year. 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. What exactly to glance, the veterinarian will advise.

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 made it possible 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);
  • flight;
  • high flying;
  • chased;
  • role-playing;
  • slaughter;
  • 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. Now the flying qualities and beauty of poultry are most appreciated.

Carrier pigeons

For many centuries, carrier pigeons regularly served, 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 postal.

Trained carrier pigeons are able to fly hundreds of kilometers, developing high speed, 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 doves of postmen. They focus not only on the breed, but also on the quality of a particular individual, they must conduct a trial run. The best postmen are considered Belgians, but among other varieties there are amazing specimens.

Flying pigeons

One of the main directions of modern pigeon breeding is the education 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-flying breeds include:

  • Perm high-flying;
  • Izhevsk;
  • Sverdlovsk flyers;
  • Budapest and Hungarian pigeons;
  • Kazan;
  • Volsky flight and Volsky tourmans;
  • Persian, or Persian;
  • Odessa;
  • Ochakov pigeons;
  • Kuptsovsky blackheads;
  • Doves of Prikamye;
  • Nikolaev high-flying face and sickle;
  • Mordovian black-slabs from Mordovia;
  • Chistopol or Bugulma flyers;
  • Chiliki.

Now it is difficult to find individuals that would really rise 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) annually competitions among such pigeons are held.

Mount Doves

The breeds, which are called the persecuted, are not able to rise to great heights. 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 racing pigeons;
  • Kamyshinsky;
  • Bryansk Ukrainian;
  • Moscow racing pigeons monks;
  • Tula hot turmans;
  • German racing pigeons monks;
  • Thoroughbred;
  • Budapest Sredneklyuy;
  • Archangel doves bullfinches;
  • Tula racing "magpie";
  • Ural monks;
  • Pigeons monks of Tula;
  • Sickle-inverted Nikolaev;
  • Pavlovsk race cars;
  • Crimean circleless, or kremaki;
  • Dubovskie chased, or Kondratieff;
  • Chebarkul;
  • Staroufimskie;
  • Khmelnitsky flight;
  • Kherson from the Upper Rogachik;
  • Kharkov air flight;
  • Militopolsky sickles;
  • Kursaki;
  • Gonny from Konotop and Salsk;
  • Kiev light, or fireflies;
  • Zhdanovsky;
  • Kremenchug;
  • Царицынские вислокрылые;
  • Индийские дериши (индус дериш) или арабы.

В полете обязательно оценивают угол постановки крыльев. Чем он меньше, тем лучше. Еще одна особенность гонных голубей — умение загонять в свою стаю других птиц. Нередко их использовали для воровства голубок из других голубятен. Оставалось ворованную птицу лишь приучить к новому месту. Цвет гонных голубей может быть любым, среди них встречаются черные, белые, коричневые, красные, разноцветные, серые и даже синие птицы.

Рольные голуби

Рольные голуби, роллеры или вертнуы, получили свое название из-за способности оборачиваться в полете вокруг собственной оси. Некоторые особи еще и умеют делать щелчки крыльями. Высота полета у них низкая или средняя. Способность вертеться в воздухе может проявляться не только у рольных пород, такие особи встречаются и среди гонных, и среди бойных. В то же время не все представители вертунов имеют характерное свойство. Таких птиц отбраковывают и не допускают к разведению. Самые популярные породы вертунов:

  • Ориентальный (восточный) роллер;
  • Бирмингемский роллер;
  • Гелацкий голубок кувыркун или роллер;
  • Степной украинский вертун;
  • Староказацкий голубь вертун.

Оценивают вертунов по способности держать высоту, одновременно совершая повороты в воздухе. Научить летать голубей таким способом трудно, здесь замешана генетика, но совершенствовать технику можно, чтобы бороться за приз. Стоят лучшие экземпляры довольно дорого. Цена в каталогах колеблется от 700 до 1000 рублей за голову.

Бойные голуби

Бойные голуби так называются, потому что умеют в полете издавать специфические щелчки крыльями, или дробный бой. Разводить их начали на ближнем Востоке и в Персии. Скорее всего эта разновидность ведет свою родословную от турецких и персидских пород. Сейчас направление очень популярно. Основные места разведения — Турция, Иран, Кавказ и Закавказье, некоторые регионы Дагестана, Россия, Украина, популярны голуби стали в Германии, на территории Азербайджана, Ставрополья. Занимаются их выращиванием поляки и чехи. Вот самые популярные породы:

  • Андижанские голуби, или андижаны;
  • Армавирские бойные космачи;
  • Афганские (афганы);
  • Азербайджанские острочубые карагезы;
  • Армянские бойные;
  • Агасиевские;
  • Бакинские голубки чили;
  • Берлинский голубь турман с коротким клювом;
  • Бойные косаны;
  • Дамасские;
  • Иранские щекатые, головатые и хохлатые;
  • Краснодарские бокатые или неверовские;
  • Кахетинские бойные или кахетинцы;
  • Ленинаканские бойные;
  • Угольночерный голубь кара сочи;
  • Белый голубь ок сочи;
  • Мелитопольские;
  • Польские, или старопольские;
  • Красные и белые цветные руяны;
  • Русские головастые;
  • Северокавказские космачи;
  • Турецкие бойные;
  • Турецкая такла;
  • Тегеранские голубки;
  • Ташкентские гульбадамы и чимкента;
  • Таджикские;
  • Узбекские термезские или термезы;
  • Узбекские авлаки из Джамбула.

Стиль полета у бойных птиц очень разный. Одни вздымаются в небо прямо (свечой), другие сначала проделывают круги, набирают высоту и лишь потом начинают кувыркаться и бить крыльями в воздухе. Некоторые особи могут подниматься очень высоко, до состояния мерцающей точки. Главное качество, по которому оценивают этих птиц, — качество боя, его громкость и продолжительность. Важно постоянно тренировать всех бойных птиц, без этого они потеряют форму.

Декоративные голуби

Сейчас голубей разводят чаще всего для красоты, потому декоративные породы стали вытеснять другие. Даже некоторые летные породы стали выращиваться ради внешних характеристик. Декоративные птицы различаются между собой формой тела, осанкой, цветом, рисунком и типом перышек. Голубь разновидности Дутыш имеет гипертрофированный зоб, похожий на шарик. У некоторых пород по-особому развита восковица, глаза, есть шипы на лапках. Голову нередко украшают чубчики или хохолки. Некоторые выглядят, как другие виды птиц, например, чайки, аисты, ласточки.

Вот самые популярные декоративные направления:

  • По форме тела — статные, высококрылые птицы, формовые голубки.
  • Цветные голуби с разными оттенками оперения, иногда очень экзотичными (бывают красные, рыжие, рябые, мраморные, сиреневые, черные, синие, высоко ценится белый цвет и желтая окраска).
  • «Имитаторы», выглядящие, как стрижи, чайки, аисты, снегири, соколы, ласточки, совы и т.д.
  • По длине клюва — длинноносые, малоносые, короткоклювые, с толстым или загнутым клювом.
  • По структуре оперения — курчавые и гладкие.
  • Породы с украшениями — бородачи, птицы «в штанишках», дутыши и т.д.

В последнее время появилось столько декоративных пород, что перечислить их все невозможно. Это означает, что данное направление — фаворит и очень перспективно. Here are the most popular:

  • Королевский павлин;
  • Бернский и померанский дутыши;
  • Марченеро;
  • Урюпинские статные;
  • Ростовские статные;
  • Немецкий выставочный;
  • Сирийский складчатый;
  • Узбекский цветные руяны и гульсары;
  • Узбекские лохмоногие и челкари;
  • Чешский чибис;
  • Китайские чайки;
  • Двухчубе тасманы;
  • Богемская ласточка с косматыми ногами;
  • Волжские ленточные голуби;
  • Ржевские ленточные;
  • Мурые голуби;
  • Ивановские ходовые;
  • Кудрявые, или кучерявые голубки;
  • Крыловские лохматые;
  • Саксонский священник с хохолком и загнутым клювом;
  • Саксонские белохвостые;
  • Немецкие чубатые и двухчубые барабанщики;
  • Якобины;
  • Барб;
  • Собейт;
  • Лохматые капуцины;
  • Агасия или агасийские;
  • Аккерманские;
  • Артамоны пестрогрудые;
  • Блондинеты одноцветные (красные, шоколадные, черные, белые, бежевые, желтые, коричневые);
  • Блондинеты с чешуйками и полосатые;
  • Бухарские декоративные;
  • Токийский белый гуль;
  • Мраморные чеграши;
  • Шалевые голубки из алтайского края;
  • Крюковские декоративные короткоклювые.

Внешнее строение тела, перья иногда такие оригинальные, что птица мало напоминает голубя. Мастям могут позавидовать даже самые экзотические пернатые. Летают многие из этих птиц плохо, нередко из-за большого зоба, огромных перьев на хвосте и т.д. Держат их часто в закрытых вольерах на даче, в квартире в клетках. Многие редкие экземпляры завести очень дорого, им обязательно проводится окольцовка.

Декоративные голуби широко используются, несмотря на кажущуюся бесполезность. Они украшают подворья, зимние сады и парки. Их выпускают на свадьбы, Благовещение, без них не обходится ни один городской праздник. В отдельную категорию декоративных птиц относятся трубачи барабанщики, или торкуты, с оригинальным голосом.

Мясные голуби

Эти породы появились самыми первыми. Сейчас голуби используются на мясо редко. Большой спрос на них сохранился только в Британии, Германии и Америке. В связи с этим выделяют американское, английское и немецкое направление селекции.

Мясные голуби крупные, имеют толстый и мускулистый корпус с хорошо развитыми бедрами и широкой грудкой. Настоящий гигант весит до 1 кг. Все породы разделены на 3 направления:

  • Исполинские с большой массой (масса максимальная — 900-1000 г), коренастым корпусом, как настоящие качки.
  • Куриные с длинными ножками, укороченным тельцем и крохотным хвостиком.
  • Мясные со средним весом (около 600 г).

Старейшей породой считаются модены, но есть и другие:

  • Римские мясные;
  • Кинги;
  • Штрассеры;
  • Тексаны;
  • Венские;
  • Польские голубки рыси;
  • Белые мальтийские;
  • Голубки из Модены;
  • Крупные венгерские великаны;
  • Магнани;
  • Соттобанка;
  • Курбугский голубок жаворонок;
  • Карно;
  • Монтенблан;
  • Испанский голубь гомер;
  • Кошуа;
  • Бенешовский голубок.

Все мясные породы плохо летают, внешность у них не слишком примечательная. Крупная птица предпочитает ходить по земле. В странах, где они разводятся, мясо птиц считается деликатесом и стоит очень дорого, так что бизнес достаточно прибыльный. В России популярность таких пород низкая, так как нет традиции есть голубиное мясо.

Сейчас чистые породы любого направления найти и спарить трудно. Часто за разведение берутся дилетанты — метисы меняют свой цвет, форму тела, качество полета. Чтобы приобрести хорошего голубя, нужно проверить, насколько доверяют заводчику покупатели, какая у него ферма. Лучше всего искать породистых голубей в регионах, из которых они происходят. Например, Полтавских — в Полтаве, Николаевских — в городе Николаеве, польских — на территории Польши.


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