Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Columba livia
(pigeons)

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Datasheet

Columba livia (pigeons)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 04 October 2022
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Animal
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Columba livia
  • Preferred Common Name
  • pigeons
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Chordata
  •       Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •         Class: Aves
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Columba livia is native to Europe and has been introduced worldwide as a food source, or for game. These pigeons prefer to live near human habitation, such as farmland and buildings. They cause considerable damage to buildings and monumen...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Columba livia (feral pigeon); group of birds, with feathers puffed out. UK. December, 2004.
TitleGroup of birds
CaptionColumba livia (feral pigeon); group of birds, with feathers puffed out. UK. December, 2004.
Copyright©Andrew Dunn/Cambridge, UK/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 2.0
Columba livia (feral pigeon); group of birds, with feathers puffed out. UK. December, 2004.
Group of birds Columba livia (feral pigeon); group of birds, with feathers puffed out. UK. December, 2004.©Andrew Dunn/Cambridge, UK/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 2.0
Columba livia (pigeons); group of birds bathing on a city street.
TitleStreet pigeons
CaptionColumba livia (pigeons); group of birds bathing on a city street.
CopyrightPixabay License - Free for commercial use, no attribution required.
Columba livia (pigeons); group of birds bathing on a city street.
Street pigeonsColumba livia (pigeons); group of birds bathing on a city street.Pixabay License - Free for commercial use, no attribution required.
Columba livia (pigeons); large group flock on a city street. Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada. February 2013.
TitleLarge flock
CaptionColumba livia (pigeons); large group flock on a city street. Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada. February 2013.
Copyright©Teles/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Columba livia (pigeons); large group flock on a city street. Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada. February 2013.
Large flockColumba livia (pigeons); large group flock on a city street. Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada. February 2013.©Teles/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Columba livia (pigeons); group of birds scavenging spilt foodstuffs.
TitleBirds scavenging
CaptionColumba livia (pigeons); group of birds scavenging spilt foodstuffs.
CopyrightPixabay License - Free for commercial use, no attribution required.
Columba livia (pigeons); group of birds scavenging spilt foodstuffs.
Birds scavengingColumba livia (pigeons); group of birds scavenging spilt foodstuffs.Pixabay License - Free for commercial use, no attribution required.
Columba livia (pigeons); large group of birds being fed, a practice now banned or discouraged in many cities. Washington Square Park, Washington DC, USA. April 2011.
TitlePigeon feeding
CaptionColumba livia (pigeons); large group of birds being fed, a practice now banned or discouraged in many cities. Washington Square Park, Washington DC, USA. April 2011.
Copyright©JoeInQueens/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Columba livia (pigeons); large group of birds being fed, a practice now banned or discouraged in many cities. Washington Square Park, Washington DC, USA. April 2011.
Pigeon feedingColumba livia (pigeons); large group of birds being fed, a practice now banned or discouraged in many cities. Washington Square Park, Washington DC, USA. April 2011.©JoeInQueens/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Columba livia (pigeons); nest and two eggs on a city balcony. Krakow, Poland. 2005.
TitleNest and eggs
CaptionColumba livia (pigeons); nest and two eggs on a city balcony. Krakow, Poland. 2005.
Copyright©Mogor/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Columba livia (pigeons); nest and two eggs on a city balcony. Krakow, Poland. 2005.
Nest and eggsColumba livia (pigeons); nest and two eggs on a city balcony. Krakow, Poland. 2005.©Mogor/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Columba livia (pigeons); nest and two young 'squabs'. India.
TitleNest and young
CaptionColumba livia (pigeons); nest and two young 'squabs'. India.
Copyright©Karthik Easvur/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 4.0
Columba livia (pigeons); nest and two young 'squabs'. India.
Nest and youngColumba livia (pigeons); nest and two young 'squabs'. India.©Karthik Easvur/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Columba livia (Gmelin, 1789)

Preferred Common Name

  • pigeons

International Common Names

  • English: carrier pigeon; common pigeon; domestic dove; domestic pigeon; dove, feral rock; feral pigeon; feral rock dove; feral rock pigeon; homing pigeon; kolombo; pigeon; pigeon, domestic; rock dove; rock dove pigeon; rock dove, feral; rock pigeon
  • Spanish: paloma; paloma bravia; paloma casera; paloma común; paloma de castilla; paloma doméstica
  • French: pigeon biset; pigeon biset domestique; pigeon de ville; pigeon domestique
  • Russian: sizy Golub; sizyj golubnull
  • Chinese: yuan ge
  • Portuguese: pombo da rocha; pombo o pombo-doméstico; pombo-das-rochas; pombo-doméstico

Local Common Names

  • Albania: pëllumbi i egër i shkëmbit
  • Armenia: Tkhakapuyt Aghavni
  • Belarus: šyzy holub
  • Bulgaria: skalen g"l"b
  • Croatia: golub pecinar; gradski Golub; pecinar
  • Czech Republic: holub domácí; holub skalní
  • Denmark: klippedue
  • Eastern Europe: bareski-golumbaika; baresko-golumbo
  • Faroe Islands: bládúgva; bládúva
  • Fiji: ruve
  • Finland: kalliokyyhky; kesykyyhky
  • France: dubet,; pichon
  • Germany: dziwi holb; Felsentaube; Haustaube, Strassentaube; Verwilderte Haustaube; ziwy golub
  • Hungary: szirti galamb
  • Iceland: bjargdúfa; húsdúfa
  • Ireland: colm aille; colunullr aille; pomba brava
  • Isle of Man (UK): calmane creggey
  • Israel: colomba salvaria
  • Italy: colomp salvadi; piccione; piccione domestico; piccione selvatico; piccione selvatico semidomestico; piccione terraiolo; piccione torraiolo
  • Italy/Sardinia: agreste; columbu agreste; columbu aresti; columbu de is arrocas; tidori; tidu; tzidu
  • Japan: dobato; kawarabato; kawara-bato
  • Latvia: klinšu balodis
  • Lithuania: balandis; kieminis; naminis karvelis
  • Macedonia: div gulab
  • Malta: tudun tal-gebel
  • Netherlands: rotsduif
  • Norway: bydue
  • Poland: golab miejski¦Golab skalny; golab skalny; pustynnik
  • Romania: porumbel de stânca
  • Scandinavia: bákteduvvá
  • Serbia: divlji golub; golub pecinar
  • Slovenia: domaci golob
  • Spain: colom roquer; colom roquer,; haitz-uso; kaljutuvi; Xixella
  • Sweden: klippduva; tamduva
  • Switzerland: columba da chasa; columba selvadia
  • Turkey: güvercin
  • UK: colomen ddôf; colomen y graig
  • UK/England and Wales: colom wyls; kolomm an garrek
  • UK/Scotland: calman-creige
  • Ukraine: sizij golub
  • Vietnam: b? câu

Summary of Invasiveness

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Columba livia is native to Europe and has been introduced worldwide as a food source, or for game. These pigeons prefer to live near human habitation, such as farmland and buildings. They cause considerable damage to buildings and monuments because of their corrosive droppings. They also pose a health hazard, since they are capable of transmitting a variety of diseases to humans and to domestic poultry and wildlife.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Chordata
  •             Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •                 Class: Aves
  •                     Order: Columbiformes
  •                         Family: Columbidae
  •                             Genus: Columba
  •                                 Species: Columba livia

Description

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Rock pigeons have a grey body with a whitish rump, two black bars on the secondary wing feathers, a broad blank band on the tail, and red feet. The body colour can vary from grey to white, tan, and black. Body mass is highly variable ranging from 243 to 359g (Johnston & Johnson 1989) and averaging 28cm in length (Williams & Corrigan 1994). When they take off, their wing tips touch, making a characteristic clicking sound. When they glide, their wings are raised at an angle (Williams & Corrigan 1994).

Distribution

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Native range: Native to most of Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa (Avibase, 2007).
Known introduced range: Throughout the world, including Asia, North and South America, Australasia and most island systems worldwide (Avibase, 2007).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 10 Feb 2022
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

AlgeriaPresentNative
AngolaPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
BeninPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
BotswanaPresentIntroduced
Burkina FasoPresentNative
Cabo VerdePresentNative
CameroonPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
ChadPresentNative
ComorosPresentIntroduced2003As: Columba livia
Congo, Democratic Republic of thePresentNative
Côte d'IvoirePresentNative
DjiboutiPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
EgyptPresentNative
EritreaPresentNative
EswatiniPresentIntroduced1993As: Columba livia
EthiopiaPresentNative
GabonPresentNative
GambiaPresentNative
GhanaPresentNative
GuineaPresentNative
Guinea-BissauPresentNative
KenyaPresentNative
LesothoPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
LiberiaPresentNative
LibyaPresentNative
MadagascarPresentIntroduced1818As: Columba livia
MaliPresentNative
MauritaniaPresentNative
MauritiusPresentIntroduced1640As: Columba livia
-RodriguesPresentNative
MayottePresentIntroduced2003As: Columba livia
MoroccoPresentNative
MozambiquePresentNative
NamibiaPresentNative
NigerPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
NigeriaPresentNative
RéunionPresentNative
Saint HelenaPresentIntroducedFirst reported: 16th or early 17th century
São Tomé and PríncipePresentNative
SenegalPresentNative
SeychellesPresentNative
Sierra LeonePresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
SomaliaPresentNative
South AfricaPresentNative
SudanPresentNative
TanzaniaPresentIntroduced1982As: Columba livia
TogoPresentNative
TunisiaPresentNative
UgandaPresentNative
Western SaharaPresentNative
ZambiaPresentNative
ZimbabwePresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia

Antarctica

South Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsPresentIntroduced1968As: Columba livia

Asia

AfghanistanPresentNative
ArmeniaPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
AzerbaijanPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
BahrainPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
BangladeshPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
BhutanPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
BruneiPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
CambodiaPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
ChinaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Inner MongoliaPresentNative
-QinghaiPresentNative
-XinjiangPresentNative
GeorgiaPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
Hong KongPresentIntroduced1952As: Columba livia
IndiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentNative
-Andhra PradeshPresentNative
-Arunachal PradeshPresentIntroduced
-AssamPresentIntroduced
-BiharPresentIntroduced
-ChandigarhPresentIntroduced
-DelhiPresentIntroduced
-GoaPresentIntroduced
-GujaratPresentIntroduced
-HaryanaPresentIntroduced
-Himachal PradeshPresentIntroduced
-Jammu and KashmirPresentIntroduced
-KarnatakaPresentIntroduced
-KeralaPresentIntroduced
-LakshadweepPresentIntroduced
-Madhya PradeshPresentIntroduced
-MaharashtraPresentIntroduced
-MeghalayaPresentIntroduced
-OdishaPresentIntroduced
-PuducherryPresentIntroduced
-PunjabPresentNative
-RajasthanPresentIntroduced
-SikkimPresentIntroduced
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroduced
-TripuraPresentIntroduced
-Uttar PradeshPresentIntroduced
-West BengalPresentIntroduced
IndonesiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-JavaPresentIntroduced
-Lesser Sunda IslandsPresentIntroduced
-SulawesiPresentNative
-SumatraPresentIntroduced
IranPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
IraqPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
IsraelPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
JapanPresentIntroducedInvasive
JordanPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
KazakhstanPresentNative
KuwaitPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
KyrgyzstanPresentNative
LaosPresentNative
LebanonPresentNative
MalaysiaPresentIntroduced1993As: Columba livia
MaldivesPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
MongoliaPresentNative
MyanmarPresentNative
NepalPresentNative
North KoreaPresentNative
OmanPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
PakistanPresentNative
PalestinePresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
PhilippinesPresentIntroduced2006As: Columba livia
QatarPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
Saudi ArabiaPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
SingaporePresentIntroduced1958As: Columba livia
South KoreaPresentNative
Sri LankaPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
SyriaPresentNative
TaiwanPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
TajikistanPresentNative
ThailandPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
TurkeyPresentNative
TurkmenistanPresentNative
United Arab EmiratesPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
UzbekistanPresentNative
VietnamPresentNative
YemenPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia

Europe

AlbaniaPresentNative
AndorraPresentNative
AustriaPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
BelarusPresentNative
BelgiumPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
Bosnia and HerzegovinaPresentNative
BulgariaPresentNative
CroatiaPresentNative
CyprusPresentNative
CzechiaPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
DenmarkPresentNative
EstoniaPresentNative
Faroe IslandsPresentNative
FinlandPresentNative
FrancePresentNative
-CorsicaPresentNative
GermanyPresentNative
GibraltarPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
GreecePresentNative
-CretePresentNative
GuernseyPresentNative
HungaryPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
IcelandPresentNative
IrelandPresentNative
Isle of ManPresentNative
ItalyPresentNative
-SardiniaPresentNative
-SicilyPresentNative
JerseyPresentIntroduced
LatviaPresentNative
LiechtensteinPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
LithuaniaPresentNative
LuxembourgPresentNative
MaltaPresentNative
MoldovaPresentNative
MonacoPresentNative
MontenegroPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
NetherlandsPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
North MacedoniaPresentNative
NorwayPresentNative
PolandPresentNative
PortugalPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-MadeiraPresentIntroduced
RomaniaPresentNative
RussiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Eastern SiberiaPresentNative
-Southern RussiaPresentNative
-Western SiberiaPresentNative
San MarinoPresentNative
SerbiaPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
Serbia and MontenegroPresentNative
SlovakiaPresentNative
SloveniaPresentNative
SpainPresentNative
-Balearic IslandsPresentNative
-Canary IslandsPresentNative
SwedenPresentNative
SwitzerlandPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
UkrainePresentNative
United KingdomPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-ScotlandPresentNative

North America

AnguillaPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
Antigua and BarbudaPresentIntroduced1981As: Columba livia
ArubaPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
BahamasPresentIntroduced1976As: Columba livia
BarbadosPresentIntroduced1939As: Columba livia
BelizePresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
BermudaPresentIntroducedInvasive
British Virgin IslandsPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
CanadaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AlbertaPresentIntroduced
-British ColumbiaPresentIntroduced
-ManitobaPresentIntroduced
-New BrunswickPresentIntroduced
-Newfoundland and LabradorPresentIntroduced
-Northwest TerritoriesPresentIntroduced
-Nova ScotiaPresentIntroduced
-OntarioPresentIntroduced
-Prince Edward IslandPresentIntroduced
-QuebecPresentIntroduced
-SaskatchewanPresentIntroduced
-YukonPresentIntroduced
Cayman IslandsPresentIntroduced1984Invasive
Costa RicaPresentIntroduced1989As: Columba livia
CubaPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
DominicaPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
El SalvadorPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
GrenadaPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
GuadeloupePresentIntroduced1956As: Columba livia
GuatemalaPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
HaitiPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
HondurasPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
JamaicaPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
MartiniquePresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
MexicoPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
MontserratPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
Netherlands AntillesPresentIntroduced
NicaraguaPresentIntroduced1989As: Columba livia
PanamaPresentIntroduced1989As: Columba livia
Puerto RicoPresentIntroduced1981As: Columba livia
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
Saint LuciaPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
Saint Pierre and MiquelonPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroduced1981As: Columba livia
Turks and Caicos IslandsPresentIntroduced1987As: Columba livia
U.S. Virgin IslandsPresentIntroduced1981As: Columba livia
United StatesPresentIntroducedInvasiveFirst reported: Early 1600s
-AlabamaPresentIntroduced
-AlaskaPresentIntroduced1900As: Columba livia
-ArizonaPresentIntroduced
-ArkansasPresentIntroduced
-CaliforniaPresentIntroduced
-ColoradoPresentIntroduced
-ConnecticutPresentIntroduced
-DelawarePresentIntroduced
-District of ColumbiaPresentIntroduced
-FloridaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-GeorgiaPresentIntroduced
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced1796As: Columba livia
-IdahoPresentIntroduced
-IllinoisPresentIntroduced
-IndianaPresentIntroduced
-IowaPresentIntroduced
-KansasPresentIntroduced
-KentuckyPresentIntroduced
-LouisianaPresentIntroduced
-MainePresentIntroduced
-MarylandPresentIntroduced
-MassachusettsPresentIntroduced
-MichiganPresentIntroduced
-MinnesotaPresentIntroduced
-MississippiPresentIntroduced
-MissouriPresentIntroduced
-MontanaPresentIntroduced
-NebraskaPresentIntroduced
-NevadaPresentIntroduced
-New HampshirePresentIntroduced
-New JerseyPresentIntroduced
-New MexicoPresentIntroduced
-New YorkPresentIntroduced
-North CarolinaPresentIntroduced
-North DakotaPresentIntroduced
-OhioPresentIntroduced
-OklahomaPresentIntroduced
-OregonPresentIntroduced
-PennsylvaniaPresentIntroduced
-Rhode IslandPresentIntroduced
-South CarolinaPresentIntroduced
-South DakotaPresentIntroduced
-TennesseePresentIntroduced
-TexasPresentIntroduced
-UtahPresentIntroduced
-VermontPresentIntroduced
-VirginiaPresentIntroduced
-WashingtonPresentIntroduced
-West VirginiaPresentIntroduced
-WisconsinPresentIntroduced
-WyomingPresentIntroduced

Oceania

American SamoaPresentIntroduced1951As: Columba livia
AustraliaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Lord Howe IslandPresentNative
-New South WalesPresentIntroduced
-Northern TerritoryPresentIntroduced
-QueenslandPresentIntroduced
-South AustraliaPresentIntroduced
-TasmaniaPresentIntroduced1788As: Columba livia
-VictoriaPresentIntroduced
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroduced
Cook IslandsPresentNative
Federated States of MicronesiaPresentIntroduced1987As: Columba livia
FijiPresentIntroducedInvasiveFirst reported: before 1840
French PolynesiaPresentIntroduced1950As: Columba livia
-Marquesas IslandsPresentNative
GuamPresentNative
KiribatiPresentIntroduced1987As: Columba livia
New CaledoniaPresentNative
New ZealandPresentIntroduced1855As: Columba livia
Norfolk IslandPresentIntroduced1838As: Columba livia
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentIntroduced1987As: Columba livia
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroduced
SamoaPresentIntroduced1840As: Columba livia
TongaPresentIntroduced1840As: Columba livia
Wallis and FutunaPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
BoliviaPresentIntroduced2003As: Columba livia
BrazilPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AcrePresentIntroduced
-AlagoasPresentIntroduced
-AmapaPresentIntroduced
-AmazonasPresentIntroduced
-BahiaPresentIntroduced
-CearaPresentIntroduced
-Espirito SantoPresentIntroduced
-GoiasPresentIntroduced
-MaranhaoPresentIntroduced
-Mato GrossoPresentIntroduced
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentIntroduced
-Minas GeraisPresentIntroduced
-ParaPresentIntroduced
-ParaibaPresentIntroduced
-ParanaPresentIntroduced
-PernambucoPresentIntroduced
-PiauiPresentIntroduced
-Rio de JaneiroPresentIntroduced
-Rio Grande do NortePresentIntroduced
-Rio Grande do SulPresentIntroduced
-RondoniaPresentIntroduced
-RoraimaPresentIntroduced
-Santa CatarinaPresentIntroduced
-Sao PauloPresentIntroduced
-SergipePresentIntroduced
-TocantinsPresentIntroduced
ChilePresentIntroduced1572As: Columba livia
ColombiaPresentIntroduced2009As: Columba livia
EcuadorPresentIntroduced1972As: Columba livia
-Galapagos IslandsPresent, LocalizedIntroducedInvasiveFirst reported: 1972-73
Falkland IslandsPresentIntroduced2011As: Columba livia
French GuianaPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
GuyanaPresentIntroduced2011As: Columba livia
ParaguayPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia
PeruPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
SurinamePresentIntroduced
UruguayPresentIntroduced1996As: Columba livia
VenezuelaPresentIntroduced2005As: Columba livia

Habitat

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Rock pigeons prefer human habitations and are commonly found around farm yards, grain elevators, feed mills, parks, city buildings, bridges, and other structures (Williams & Corrigan 1994). In some settings, rock pigeons will roost and nest in natural areas and make daily foraging flights of several kilometres (Baldaccini et al. 2000, Earle & Little 1993, Phillips et al. 2003).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedUrban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)

Biology and Ecology

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Nutrition
Rock pigeons are primarily granivorous, but will consume insects and other food items (Johnston & Janiga 1995). In rural areas, rock pigeons forage primarily in fields for grains, such as corn, wheat, barley, and oats. In winter when the ground is snow-covered, spilled grain at storage sites (e.g., silos and grain elevators) is an important food source. When available, high protein food items, such as peas, are preferred by rock pigeons. They mostly rely on free-standing water but can also use snow to obtain water (Williams & Corrigan 1994).

Reproduction
Rock pigeons are monogamous. The male provides nesting material and guards the female and the nest. The young are fed pigeon milk, a liquid solid substance secreted in the crop of the adult (both male and female) that is regurgitated. Breeding may occur at all seasons, but peak reproduction occurs in the spring and fall. A population of rock pigeons usually consists of equal numbers of males and females (Williams & Corrigan 1994).
 
Lifecycle stages
Eggs are laid 8 to12 days after mating, with a normal clutch size of 1 to 2 eggs, but up to 4. The eggs hatch after 16 to 21 days incubation and the young fledge at 4 to 6 weeks of age. More eggs are laid before the first clutch leaves the nest. Sexual maturity occurs after 6 months of age. In captivity, rock pigeons commonly live up to 15 years. In urban populations, however, rock pigeons seldom live more than 3 or 4 years (Johnston & Janiga 1995, Williams & Corrigan 1994).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Introduction pathways to new locations
Live food trade: Pigeons have been introduced as a food source (Eguchi & Amano 2004)
Transportation of domesticated animals: Europeans moving to new locations were a source of early introduced populations (Robbins 1995).

Local dispersal methods
Escape from confinement: Some rock pigeons kept by fanciers for homing and racing competition fail to return to their lofts, establishing new populations or bolstering existing ones (Robbins 1995).

Natural dispersal (local): Rock pigeons are not considered migratory, but are known to make daily roundtrip flights in excess of 50 km from roosting and nesting sites to feeding areas (Johnston & Janiga 1995). Within urban habitats, recruitment from adjacent rock pigeon sub-populations compensates for losses from natural mortality or control efforts (Sol & Senar 1995, Rose et al. 2006).

Pathway Causes

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Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Crop production Negative
Environment (generally) Negative

Impact

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General Impacts

Compiled by IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
 
Rock pigeons are known to transmit pigeon ornithosis, encephalitis, Exotic Newcastle Disease, cryptococcosis, toxoplasmosis, salmonella food poisoning, and several other diseases (Weber 1979, Long 1981). Rock pigeons and their nests are infested with ectoparasites, such as ticks, fleas, and mites, which can cause health problems for humans (Dautel et al. 1991, Haag & Spiewak 2004).
 
Rock pigeon droppings can accelerate the deterioration of buildings and increase cost of maintenance (Haag 1995). Large amounts of droppings may kill vegetation and produce an objectionable odour. Around grain handling facilities, pigeons consume and contaminate large quantities of food destined for human or livestock consumption (Little 1994). Furthermore, rock pigeons located around airports can be a threat to human safety because of potential bird-craft collisions (Seamans et al. 2007). In the U.S. alone, they cause $1.1 billion dollars of damage in urban areas annually (Pimentel et al. 1999). In the Galápagos, the rock pigeon is the carrier of Trichomonas gallinae, a potentially fatal disease for endemic Galápagos doves and poultry (Harmon et al.1987).

Risk and Impact Factors

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Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Gregarious
Impact outcomes
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts human health
  • Negatively impacts animal health
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods
  • Reduced amenity values
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
  • Damages animal/plant products
Impact mechanisms
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Fouling
  • Herbivory/grazing/browsing

Uses

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Rock pigeons are kept and bred by pigeon fanciers for homing and racing competition (Robbins 1995) and in some locations such as Japan (Eguchi & Amano 2004) and the Galápagos Islands (Phillips et al. 2003) they are kept as a food source. In cities worldwide rock pigeons are a source of pleasure for many people who enjoy watching and feeding them.

Uses List

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General

  • Game bird
  • Ornamental
  • Pet/aquarium trade
  • Sport (hunting, shooting, fishing, racing)

Human food and beverage

  • Fresh meat

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Management Information

Compiled by IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
 
Preventative measures: Several techniques are available to prevent rock pigeons from establishing in an area or to exclude them if they are already established (Williams & Corrigan, 1994). Habitat modification includes physically altering roosting and nesting sites and removing food and water sources. The latter two aspects are critical for long-term control and require cooperation from the public. Exclusion methods, such as blocking access to roost sites or installing anti-perching devices are effective. Rock pigeons can also be prevented from perching or roosting by applying various chemical repellents to these areas.

Physical: Williams & Corrigan (1994) suggested that frightening, repellents, trapping, shooting, and nest removal may be useful and practical approaches to manage rock pigeons in conjunction with habitat modification measures.

Chemical: Toxicants, including both oral and contact poisons, may also be used to control rock pigeons. Oral poisons require prebaiting before the toxicant can be applied and can pose significant risks to non-target species (Williams & Corrigan, 1994). Fumigants can also be used to control rock pigeons, however, they are generally not practical (Williams & Corrigan, 1994).
Please follow this link for more details about preventative measures, physical and chemical control methods Hygnstrom, et al. 1994.

Integrated management: Eradication campaigns have been carried out on Isabela, San Cristóbal and Santa Cruz islands using a combination of methods: shooting, catching them by hand, using baits laced with alpha-chloralose to stupefy them (Phillips, R. B., unpublished data).

Bibliography

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Avibase (The world database), Online database Columbia livia http://www.bsc-eoc.org/avibase/avibase.jsp?pg=summary

Buden, D.W. 2000. A comparison of 1983 and 1994 bird surveys of Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. In Wilson Bull 112(3): 403-410.

CONABIO. 2008. Sistema de información sobre especies invasoras en México. Especies invasoras - Aves. Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad. Fecha de acceso. http://www.conabio.gob.mx/invasoras/index.php/Especies_invasoras_-_Aves

Eguchi, K. and Amano, H.E. 2004. Spread of exotic birds in Japan. In Ornithological Science 3:3-11. http://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/osj/3/1/3/_pdf

Forys, E.A. and Allen, C.R. 1999. Biological invasions and deletions: community change in south Florida. In Biological Conservation 87:341-347

Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation (GNP and CDF), 2004. Galapagos Invasive Species: Harmful animals. http://www.hear.org/galapagos/invasives/topics/management/vertebrates/projects/doves.htm

Phillips, R. B., Snell, H. L., and Vargas, H. 2003. Feral rock doves in the Galapagos Islands: biological and economic threats. Noticias de Galapagos 62:6-11.

Post Fiji Web Site: Pigeons of Fiji Stamp Issue: www. stamps fiji.htm.

Robbins, C. S. 1995. Non-native birds. Pages 437-440 in LaRoe, E. T., Farris, G. S., Puckett, C. E., Doran, P. D., and Mac, M. J. ed. Our Living Resources. National Biological Service, Washington, D.C. xi, 530 pp.

Ryan, P. 1999. Fiji’s Natural Heritage. Exile Publishing.

Schorger, A.W. 1952. Introduction of the domestic pigeon. Auk 69:462-463 http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/Auk/v069n04/p0462-p0463.pdf

Trainor, C. R. 2002. The birds of Adonara, Lesser Sundas, Indonesia, Forktail 18: 93-100 http://orientalbirdclub.org/publications/forktail/18pdfs/Trainor-Adonara.pdf

Varnham, K. 2006. Non-native species in UK Overseas Territories: a review. JNCC Report 372. Peterborough: United Kingdom. http://www.jncc.gov.uk/page-3660

Watling, D. 1999. Pocket poster guide to the Birds of Fiji. Landbirds.

Watling, D. and Pernetta, J.C. 1978. The Introduced and Native Terrestrial Vertebrates of Fiji. Pacific Science: Vol. 32, no. 3.

Williams, D.E. and Corrigan, R.M. 1994. Pigeons (Rock Doves) in Hygnstorm, S.E., Timm, R.M. and Larson, G.E., Prevention and control of wildlife damage :E87-E96. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/icwdmhandbook/69/

References

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ISSG, 2011. Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). Invasive Species Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. http://www.issg.org/database

Jn Pierre L, 2008. Mitigating the Threat of Invasive Alien Species in the Insular Caribbean (Saint Lucia). Report to CABI. 56 pp.

Krauss U, 2012. 161 Invasive Alien Species present in Saint Lucia and their current status. Caribbean Alien Invasive Species Network (CIASNET), 12 pp. http://www.ciasnet.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/IAS-present-in-SLU-May-2012-revision.pdf

Distribution References

CABI, Undated. CABI Compendium: Status inferred from regional distribution. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG), 2011. Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). In: Global Invasive Species Database (GISD), Auckland, New Zealand: University of Auckland. http://www.issg.org/database

Jn Pierre L, 2008. Mitigating the Threat of Invasive Alien Species in the Insular Caribbean (Saint Lucia). In: Report to CABI, 56 pp.

Krauss U, 2012. 161 Invasive Alien Species present in Saint Lucia and their current status. In: Caribbean Alien Invasive Species Network (CIASNET), 12 pp. http://www.ciasnet.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/IAS-present-in-SLU-May-2012-revision.pdf

Seebens H, Blackburn T M, Dyer E E, Genovesi P, Hulme P E, Jeschke J M, Pagad S, Pyšek P, Winter M, Arianoutsou M, Bacher S, Blasius B, Brundu G, Capinha C, Celesti-Grapow L, Dawson W, Dullinger S, Fuentes N, Jäger H, Kartesz J, Kenis M, Kreft H, Kühn I, Lenzner B, Liebhold A, Mosena A (et al), 2017. No saturation in the accumulation of alien species worldwide. Nature Communications. 8 (2), 14435. http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14435

Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS)http://griis.org/Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Contributors

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Reviewed by: R. Brand Phillips, PhD Candidate Department of Biology University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, USA
 
    Compiled by: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
Last Modified: Thursday, May 29, 2008

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