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Rock Pigeon Columba livia


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Rock Pigeon
credit: J.M. Garg/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Alternate name: Rock Dove

Family: Columbidae, Pigeons and Doves view all from this family

Description ADULT Ancestral form has blue-gray plumage overall, palest on upper wings and back, and flushed pinkish maroon on breast. Has two dark wing bars and dark-tipped tail. In flight, note small white rump patch; upper wings have dark trailing edge and narrow wing bar, while underwings are white. Pure white, reddish brown and marbled and mottled color forms are all common too. JUVENILE Similar, but duller.

Dimensions Length: 13 1/2" (34 cm)

Habitat Old World species, introduced by original European settlers and now common and widespread. Favors urban settings where food is available, but also seen on farmland.

Observation Tips Hard to miss. A positive benefit to urban Peregrine Falcons.

Range Southwest, Plains, Western Canada, Florida, Northwest, Great Lakes, Rocky Mountains, California, New England, Texas, Mid-Atlantic, Eastern Canada, Alaska, Southeast

Voice Utters various cooing calls.

Discussion North America's most familiar pigeon, especially in towns and cities. Typically utterly fearless and many depend to large extent on "hand-outs" from people or carelessly dumped refuse. Forms flocks and usually feeds on ground. Nowadays, most birds are free-living, but centuries of domestication have produced a spectrum of color varieties; hence hard to discern sex differences within species' overall variation.