What Color Are Pigeons- Pigeons, those ubiquitous urban dwellers, have long captured our attention and imagination with their intriguing plumage. When we observe these birds as they gracefully traverse our cityscapes and parks, one question that often arises is: What color are pigeons? While the answer may seem deceptively simple at first glance, a deeper exploration reveals a fascinating world of color variations and adaptations that make these birds far more captivating than they might initially appear.

Pigeons, scientifically classified as members of the Columba genus, encompass a diverse range of species and subspecies. As a result, their plumage exhibits a striking array of colors, patterns, and shades. Common pigeons, also known as rock pigeons or feral pigeons, are perhaps the most recognizable in urban settings. These pigeons often feature a predominantly bluish-gray hue, which has led to the misconception that all pigeons are blue. However, this is merely the tip of the colorful iceberg that is the pigeon family.

What Color Are Pigeons

Beyond the familiar blue-gray rock pigeons, there are an astonishing number of pigeon species worldwide, each with its unique coloration. For instance, the vibrant and eye-catching Nicobar pigeon, native to Southeast Asia, boasts iridescent green and purple feathers. The resplendent Victoria crowned pigeon, native to Papua New Guinea, showcases a stunning combination of blue and white plumage with an intricate lace-like pattern on its wings. The strikingly beautiful fruit doves, part of the pigeon family, come in an array of colors, from vivid greens to deep purples and brilliant oranges.

To fully appreciate the diversity and significance of pigeon plumage, we must delve into the world of pigments, genetics, and environmental influences that shape these birds’ appearances. This exploration will not only answer the question of what color pigeons are but also shed light on the remarkable evolutionary strategies and adaptations that have allowed them to thrive in a wide range of habitats. Join us as we embark on this colorful journey into the world of pigeons, unraveling the mysteries of their plumage and uncovering the secrets behind their captivating array of colors.

Are pigeons blue or gray?

Pigeons typically do not come in blue or purple colors in their natural form. The most common colors of pigeons are gray, white, and various shades of brown. However, there are certain pigeon breeds that have been selectively bred to exhibit different colors, including blue and purple.

Pigeon plumage can vary widely in color, and they are not strictly blue or gray. The coloration of pigeons depends on their specific species, age, and environmental factors. In general, common city pigeons, often referred to as “rock doves” or “rock pigeons,” are typically gray with subtle bluish undertones on their feathers. These birds are the ones most commonly seen in urban areas worldwide. Their grayish-blue appearance is a result of the interplay between the pigments in their feathers and the angle of light.

Pigeons come in a wide range of colors and patterns due to selective breeding and genetic diversity. Some pigeon breeds, known as “fancy pigeons,” exhibit striking color variations, including blues, whites, reds, and even iridescent hues. The most famous blue pigeon breed is probably the “Victoria Crowned Pigeon,” native to Papua New Guinea, which boasts a vibrant blue body with elegant white crest feathers. So, while many people associate pigeons with grayish-blue colors, it’s essential to recognize the diversity of hues and patterns that exist among pigeon species and breeds.

What are the basic colors of pigeons?

The major color locus (a locus is a specific area on a chromosome) controls whether birds are blue, brown, or ash-red. Blue is considered “wild type”, because it was the color of the domestic pigeon’s wild ancestor. The differences between blue, brown, and ash-red color are most visible in the wing pattern.

Pigeons exhibit a diverse range of colors and patterns, but some basic colors and variations commonly found in pigeon plumage include:

Gray: Many pigeons, including the common city pigeon (rock dove), have gray feathers. These feathers may vary in shades of gray, often with subtle bluish or purplish undertones.

White: White pigeons, also known as “white doves,” are a common color variation. Their feathers are entirely white, giving them a clean and pristine appearance.

Brown: Some pigeons have brown feathers, which can range from light tan to deep brown. This coloration is often seen in wild pigeons and some domestic breeds.

Black: Black pigeons have predominantly black plumage. This coloration can create a striking contrast with their white or colored markings.

Blue: While not a pure blue like the color of the sky, certain pigeon breeds exhibit blue-gray feathers. These can vary in intensity, from pale blue-gray to a deeper, more noticeable blue hue.

Red: Some pigeon breeds showcase reddish-brown or chestnut-colored feathers. This coloration can be particularly striking when paired with contrasting markings.

Iridescence: In addition to solid colors, pigeons may display iridescent hues, often seen as shiny patches or metallic sheens on their feathers. These iridescent colors can range from greens and purples to blues and even pinks.

These basic colors and their combinations, along with various patterns and markings, contribute to the rich diversity of pigeon plumage seen in the world of pigeons and doves. Pigeon breeders have selectively bred pigeons for specific colors and patterns, leading to a wide array of stunning variations in this avian species.

What Color Are Pigeons

Are pigeons white or grey?

Feral Pigeon Colours and Patterns Columba livia domestica

Most feral birds’ plumage is based on this. Some wild pigeons are completely white (above right). and brown with grey, among others.

Pigeons can come in various colors, but the most common pigeon species found in urban areas, often referred to as “rock doves” or “rock pigeons,” typically have grayish plumage with subtle bluish undertones. This coloration is why they are commonly perceived as gray. However, the exact shade of gray can vary among individual pigeons, and environmental factors, such as lighting conditions, can also affect their perceived color.

It’s important to note that not all pigeons are gray. Pigeon species and breeds can exhibit a wide range of colors, including white, brown, black, and even various shades of blue and red. White pigeons, also known as “white doves,” are a well-known color variation and are often associated with ceremonies and celebrations due to their symbolic purity and beauty. So, while grayish-blue is a common coloration for city pigeons, the pigeon family encompasses a broader spectrum of colors and patterns, depending on the specific species and breed.

What is the rarest pigeon color?


This is where I have put the rarest of wild pigeon colors- Indigo. There are only two records of wild pigeons displaying indigo.

Determining the “rarest” pigeon color can be somewhat subjective and depends on various factors, including geographic distribution, breeding practices, and human influence. However, some color variations in pigeons are indeed less common or even considered rare in the context of pigeon breeding and observation.

One of the rarer pigeon colors is the striking pure white plumage. While white pigeons do exist in the wild, they are less common than gray or brown pigeons, especially in urban environments. In some cultures, white pigeons are highly regarded and associated with peace and purity. Some breeds, such as the “Dutch Capuchine” and “Archangel” pigeons, have been selectively bred for their predominantly white plumage with specific markings.

Another rare pigeon coloration is the deep, vibrant blue seen in some breeds, such as the “Victoria Crowned Pigeon.” This species native to Papua New Guinea is known for its intense blue plumage, making it a rare and visually striking member of the pigeon family.

Iridescence in pigeons, where their feathers exhibit a metallic sheen with colors like green, purple, or pink, can also be considered rare. This feature is not as commonly found in pigeons as solid colors like gray or brown.

Rarity in pigeon colors can vary by region and the specific breed or species under consideration. Breeding practices and conservation efforts also play a significant role in the prevalence of certain colors. While some colors are rarer than others, the diversity of pigeon plumage remains a fascinating aspect of avian biology and culture.

What are the most common colors of pigeons found in urban areas?

The most common colors of pigeons found in urban areas are typically variations of gray and grayish-blue. These pigeons are often referred to as “rock doves” or “rock pigeons” and are the familiar city-dwelling birds seen worldwide. Their plumage tends to be predominantly gray, but it can exhibit subtle bluish or purplish undertones depending on the lighting conditions.

The gray coloration of urban pigeons is a result of the interplay between the pigments in their feathers and the way light interacts with these pigments. The specific shade of gray can vary among individual pigeons, giving rise to slight differences in appearance. This gray coloration provides effective camouflage in the concrete and stone environments of cities, helping them blend in and evade predators.

While gray is the most common coloration for urban pigeons, it’s important to note that pigeon species and breeds exhibit a wide range of colors and patterns. White pigeons, for instance, are less common but can still be found in urban areas, particularly in flocks where individuals with different colors may coexist. The prevalence of certain colors may also vary from one region to another, influenced by factors such as local breeding populations and environmental conditions.

Can you name a pigeon species known for its striking blue plumage?

One of the most well-known pigeon species recognized for its striking blue plumage is the “Victoria Crowned Pigeon” (Goura victoria). Native to the rainforests of Papua New Guinea, this majestic bird is one of the largest and most visually captivating pigeon species in the world.

The Victoria Crowned Pigeon gets its name from the distinctive crown of lacy, white-tipped feathers on its head. However, it’s their predominantly deep blue-gray body feathers that make them truly remarkable. The rich blue color is intense and vibrant, and it covers their entire body, making them appear regal and almost otherworldly.

These pigeons are not only visually striking but also culturally significant. In Papua New Guinea, they are considered a symbol of beauty and are featured in local art, dance, and folklore. Sadly, their stunning appearance has made them a target for the illegal pet trade and habitat destruction, causing concern for their conservation.

The Victoria Crowned Pigeon is indeed a pigeon species renowned for its extraordinary blue plumage, making it a captivating and sought-after bird both in the wild and in captivity.

What Color Are Pigeons

What is the symbolic significance of white pigeons in some cultures?

White pigeons have held symbolic significance in various cultures throughout history. While the meanings associated with these birds can vary, they often convey messages of peace, purity, and hope.

Peace: Perhaps the most well-known symbolic association with white pigeons is peace. White doves, a common name for white pigeons, are often used as symbols of peace and reconciliation. This symbolism traces back to ancient cultures and is prominently featured in the Judeo-Christian tradition, where a white dove carrying an olive branch is a symbol of peace and hope, as depicted in the biblical story of Noah’s Ark. This image has become a powerful and universal emblem of peaceful coexistence and resolution of conflicts.

Purity and Innocence: White is often associated with purity and innocence. White pigeons, with their clean and pristine plumage, symbolize purity and the absence of blemish or impurity. This symbolism can be found in various religious and cultural contexts, where white pigeons are used in ceremonies, weddings, and religious rituals to represent the pure and untarnished aspects of life and the human spirit.

Hope and New Beginnings: White pigeons can also symbolize hope and new beginnings. Their release at special occasions like weddings, graduations, and celebrations signifies a fresh start and a hopeful future. The act of releasing white pigeons into the sky can be a powerful and emotional expression of optimism and the pursuit of better times ahead.

White pigeons have deep symbolic meanings associated with peace, purity, and hope in various cultures worldwide. Their graceful appearance and cultural significance make them a beloved and cherished symbol of positive values and aspirations.

What factors can influence the coloration of pigeons’ feathers?

The coloration of pigeons’ feathers can be influenced by a variety of factors, including genetics, diet, environmental conditions, and selective breeding.

Genetics: Genetic factors play a fundamental role in determining the coloration of a pigeon’s feathers. Pigeons inherit their plumage colors from their parents through their genetic makeup. Various genes control pigment production and distribution, leading to the wide range of colors and patterns seen in different pigeon breeds and species.

Diet: Diet can impact the intensity and vibrancy of a pigeon’s feather color. The pigments responsible for feather coloration, such as melanin and carotenoids, are derived from the food pigeons consume. A balanced diet with adequate nutrients can help pigeons maintain and develop their plumage colors. For example, carotenoid-rich foods like certain fruits and vegetables can enhance the red and yellow hues in a pigeon’s feathers.

Environmental Factors: Environmental conditions can affect the appearance of a pigeon’s feathers. Exposure to sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) light can influence the coloration of feathers by altering the structure of pigment molecules. In some cases, feathers may appear faded or bleached when exposed to prolonged sunlight.

Selective Breeding: Human intervention through selective breeding has led to the development of pigeon breeds with specific colors and patterns. Pigeon breeders have actively chosen pigeons with desired color traits to create new breeds or enhance existing ones. This selective breeding has resulted in the vast array of pigeon colors and patterns seen in domestic pigeon breeds today.

Health and Genetics Interplay: The overall health of a pigeon can also affect its feather coloration. Poor health or genetic issues may lead to anomalies in feather colors or patterns. Additionally, some pigeon breeds are more prone to certain color variations due to their genetic predisposition.

The coloration of pigeons’ feathers is a complex interplay of genetics, diet, environmental factors, and selective breeding. These factors contribute to the diversity of colors and patterns observed within the pigeon species and among various breeds.


The world of pigeon plumage is a testament to the stunning diversity and adaptability of these remarkable birds. While the question “What color are pigeons?” may seem straightforward, the answer is far more intricate and intriguing than a mere description of blue-gray feathers. Pigeons, from the common rock pigeon to the exotic Nicobar pigeon and the enchanting fruit doves, exhibit an astounding spectrum of colors, patterns, and shades.

We have ventured into the fascinating realm of pigments, genetics, and environmental influences, learning how these factors interact to shape pigeon plumage. From the interplay of melanin and carotenoid pigments to the subtle influences of natural selection and human-driven urbanization, pigeons’ appearances have evolved as a response to their surroundings and the demands of their habitats.

What Color Are Pigeons

As we gaze upon pigeons in our cities and natural landscapes, let us not take their seemingly ordinary appearances for granted. Instead, let us marvel at the hidden beauty within their feathers and appreciate the rich tapestry of colors that adorn these avian ambassadors of resilience and adaptability.

In the grand tapestry of the natural world, pigeon plumage serves as a vivid reminder of the awe-inspiring diversity of life on Earth. So, the next time you encounter a pigeon, take a moment to admire its plumage, for within those feathers lies a captivating story of evolution, survival, and the remarkable palette of colors that adorn the avian world.