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Fancy Pigeon: What's The Difference Between The Two Basic Birds?

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Regarded as one of the most intelligent bird species, the fancy pigeon, is a domesticated bird that originated in Germany, also known as the "Mecca of the pigeon world".

Currently, they are domesticated in large numbers all across the globe and are popular across livestock exhibitions, particularly at bird shows and pigeon fairs. Several varieties of fancy pigeon breeds exhibiting diverse forms and colors are what fascinated Charles Darwin, whereby he crossbred them, the Ice pigeon in particular, for his research on species variability and evolution.

Keeping a fancy pigeon is quite a hobby for bird lovers all across the world. Their intelligence and gentle nature have been successfully robbing hearts for as long as several thousand years. They are gifted with excellent hearing abilities and exceptional eyesight that can view a number of colors besides ultraviolet light. For this reason, these pigeons have been serving at search and rescue operations for a very long time. They can achieve great flight speed and can fly long distances. Every new breed is born with distinct coloration on its feathers, along with differences in size, shape, and behavioral traits. These pigeons usually mate in the spring or summer seasons and both the male and female counterparts look after and feed their young. Their lifespan ranges between 15-20 years. They are showcased at several livestock exhibitions such as the Philoperisteron Society in England.

Keep reading to uncover more facts about the Fancy Pigeon! If you like this article, don't forget to check out how long do pigeons live and what do pigeons eat and learn lesser-known facts about them, and much more.

What is a fancy pigeon?

The fancy pigeon is a product of domestic breeding. In particular, the wild rock dove (Columba livia) is bred by pigeon fanciers (and breeders) to reach the end result. What fascinates the pigeon fanciers about these birds is the variety of traits they are born with including size, color, shape, and behavior. In fact, they are the only type of domestic animal to have shown diverse forms and colors for thousands of years.

There are nearly 500 breeds of fancy pigeons all around the globe. Most of these German birds exhibit color combinations of white with brown, gray, tan, and/or black. Short beaks and fancy feathers along with red or orange eyes are the physical features commonly associated with them. The fancy pigeons are believed to have exceptional eyesight that reaches up to 25 mi (40 km). They can distinguish between a variety of colors and unlike humans, they can apprehend ultraviolet light enabling them to aid in search and rescue operations. Additionally, distinctive hearing ability (detecting storms and volcanoes) is another remarkable facet of these beautiful birds. They are capable of flying great distances, the average speed being 77 mph (123.91 kph), and can remain in flight for several hours. They fly in large flocks of 20-30 birds and are believed to sense the earth's Magnetic field and the Sun for navigation. However, they are mostly seen roosting on sunshades or inside a coop. The social behavior of these pigeons is commendable, both with humans and individuals of its kind. A docile and gentle nature has made them a favorite among bird enthusiasts.

How long do fancy pigeons live?

Being domestically bred, a fancy pigeon is known to possess a longer life expectancy rate than most other birds. On average, their lifespan ranges between 10-15 years. However, they are nowhere close to parrots, particularly the Macaw parrot, that can live up to 50 years. Well, that's quite a leap!

As fancy pigeons are generally bought from breeders, you must always check for any underlying diseases that the pigeon might have. Some of the common diseases found in pigeons may include canker, lice, flies, coccidia, worms, mites, and so on. Pigeons are herbivores by nature and they tend to indulge in nut-cracking habits in particular. To provide healthy and extended longevity to your pet pigeon, you must ensure a diet that is a quality mixture of grains and nuts (Vitamins B and E). On average, 1.05 oz (30 g) of food is consumed by an adult pigeon in a day. Grits rich in calcium must be fed to mother hens for better strength and sustainability. Your pet pigeon's diet can be enriched by adding fresh fruits and vegetables as well. These will provide extra nourishment and bring change to otherwise monotonous dietary habits. A bowl of fresh water must be kept near them at all times.

Fancy pigeons are extremely popular birds among bird enthusiasts.

Breeding Fancy Pigeons

Breeding fancy pigeons are opted as a hobby by numerous bird enthusiasts. However, it is expected that you would know the method before proceeding with the idea. This will result in a naturally seamless mating experience.

Although fancy pigeons become sexually mature by the seventh month, they do not mate until they are a year old. They usually mate during the spring and/or summer season. They are monogamous by nature and bond with one partner for their entire life. Hence, finding the perfect match for your pigeon is the first and most essential step. The male pigeon usually courts the female by strutting around. Thereafter, both of them build a nest for the baby. The clutch consists of two eggs which are incubated by both the mother and the father. The incubation period generally lasts up to 18 days. Upon hatching, the parents feed and look after them until they are old enough to step out of the nest.

Where can you find them in the wild?

Fancy pigeons first originated in Germany. Ever since they have been bred domestically all over the world by breeders who are fascinated by the variations that come about in them through the process. Hence, it is needless to say that they are not found living in the wild.

Nearly 500 different breeds of fancy pigeons have been recorded to date. Each breed displays a difference in its physicality and behavioral traits. These birds are kept as a hobby by bird fanciers. Although they do not need any special treatment, looking after their wellbeing and proper nourishment is something the owners are obliged by. These pigeons prefer to live in the open. However, they can also accommodate themselves inside a plain cage. They are extremely sociable and forthcoming. You can build a nesting area called coop or pigeon lofts in your garden where they can roost all day. Since they love socializing, having a bunch of them will keep them engaged and happy. You can build perches with fallen branches in your garden for them to perch upon.

Difference Between Normal And Fancy Pigeons

Pigeons are broadly categorized based on the method of breeding. In regard to this, they are either categorized as fancy or feral pigeons. Fancy pigeons are the ones that are domestically bred for exhibitions and winning competitions while feral pigeons are born naturally in the wild.

These two types of pigeons exhibit similar physical features like a gray body with black, white, and/or gray feathers, pink feet, and a feathery neck. An adult pigeon's eye is red or orange in color while the juveniles have a brownish hue. Both of these birds are herbivores by nature and prefer indulging in nuts and grains as the primary source of nutrition. However, feral pigeons are way more enduring than domestic ones as they have to spend a lot of time foraging. Furthermore, they display similar behavioral traits. They are exceptionally social and love spending time with individuals of their kind. Since fancy pigeons are trained for exhibitions and racing competitions, they have higher flying speeds than feral ones. Feral pigeons are good at escaping predation as they grow up in the wild. However, fancy pigeons lack this quality and oftentimes face related dangers if left out in the open.

World's Most Beautiful Types Of Pigeons

Going by popular belief, pigeons are considered dirty and unorganized. However, selective breeding, initially done only in Germany of the Rock Dove has led to the evolution of fancy pigeons. There are nearly 500 different breeds that are classified as fancy pigeons. These pigeons differ in their size, color, and behavior. It is impossible to name each breed here in this article, however, some need a special mention. Here is a list of fancy pigeon breed families that you may want to explore.

To begin with, the Jacobin pigeon has a feathered hood on its head. It got its name from this feathered hood which resembles the hood of a Jacobin monk. Next up we have the white pigeons. This pigeon is popular at ceremonies where a flock of them are released before inaugurations as a sign of "good luck". The Frillback pigeon got its name from the beautiful curls that are found on its wings. The barb pigeons are famous for the flower-like rings and markings that are found around their eyes and beak. The Ice pigeon is gray in color and is identified by the extra feathers covering its feet. The English Trumpet pigeons are extremely popular as ornamental birds for possessing extensive plumage and long feathers around their feet. The German Modena pigeons are categorized as the smallest hen or chicken breeds of fancy pigeons and are relatively rare than the others. The Nun pigeons are named so because of the black-colored head and neck with white plumage, just like a nun. The Helmet pigeon possesses colored feathers on its head which look like a cap or a helmet with a remaining white plumage. This is how it came to be called a "helmet" pigeon.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for fancy pigeon then why not take a look at pigeon eggs, or rock pigeon facts.

Written By
Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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