Rock Pigeon (Photo: Alan D. Wilson/Wikimedia)

Rock Pigeon

Also known as feral pigeon, rock dove, and city dove, the rock pigeon is at home in urban environments and around farmyards where livestock is kept. Introduced from Europe, it has spread across the continent. Large, blocky, and swift on the wing, rock pigeons are most often seen wheeling in flocks above buildings and picking up tidbits from city streets.

Highly tolerant of humans, they will gather at the feet of anyone providing seeds or bread and will even eat from the hand. They come in a wide variety of plumages but most have whitish rumps and two dark bars on the wing. It is from rock pigeons that the famous “homing pigeons” and “carrier pigeons” have been bred.

They are commonly kept in captivity and the large number of “varieties” created by breeders has contributed to the variations in plumage seen in wild birds. They gather in large flocks on buildings in winter roosts and the accumulated droppings have led some cities to attempt control efforts. Frequently vocal, the common three-note call sounds like coo-ooo-coo.

Listen to a Rock Pigeon:


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