Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

November 1979


Feral pigeons (Columbia livia) are not harmless birds. Many potential infections of humans silently exist in pigeons which are not apparent. They have the potential for transmission of over 30 diseases to humans plus another ten to domestic animals. Environmental pollution from pigeon droppings is quite evident. Air pollution involves more than noxious gases from automobile exhausts and belching smokestacks. One serious air pollutant is air-borne fungi, which are agents for infectious diseases. There is much information written about the problem, but it remains primarily in the professional journals and technical references, neatly stacked away on library shelves. The objective of this paper is to provide a brief account of the major diseases and to assess their importance. Feral pigeons have been identified with mycotic, bacterial, protozoal, chlamydial, rickettsial, and parasitic diseases as well as dermatosis (Weber 1979).