U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


PIGEONS (Rock Doves) Columba livia

David E. Williams, State Director, USDA-APHIS-Animal Damage Control, Lincoln, Ne 68501
Robert M. Corrigan, Staff Specialist, Vertebrate Pest Management, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907

Document Type Article


Pigeons (Columbia livia) typically have a gray body with a whitish rump, two black bars on the secondary wing feathers, a broad black band on the tail, and red feet. Pigeons are found throughout the United States (including Hawaii), southern Canada, and Mexico. Pigeons are highly dependent on humans to provide them with food and sites for roosting, loafing, and nesting. Pigeons are primarily grain and seed eaters and will subsist on spilled or improperly stored grain. The common pigeon was introduced into the United States as a domesticated bird, but many escaped and formed feral populations. Pigeon droppings deface and accelerate the deterioration of buildings and increase the cost of maintenance. Feral pigeons are not protected by federal law and most states do not afford them protection.