When you think of a beautiful bird, with enchanting plumage, a pigeon probably isn’t your first choice- but it might be after you look at these beauties!
We have seen some pretty incredible birds from around the world, but we’ve never taken the time to look at one of the most well-known types– pigeons.
Now, pigeons come in all different shapes and sizes, some are extremely rare, and others are a bit more common. The ones we’re going to show you today are some of the rarer species, and you’ve probably never heard of them or seen them before. I know I haven’t!
Pigeons are incredibly complex and intelligent animals. They are one of only a small number of species to pass the ‘mirror test’ – a test of self recognition. They can also recognize each letter of the human alphabet, differentiate between photographs, and even distinguish different humans within a photograph.
And, pigeons are renowned for their outstanding navigational abilities. They use a range of skills, such as using the sun as a guide and an internal ‘magnetic compass’. A study at Oxford University found that they will also use landmarks as signposts and will travel along man-made roads and motorways, even changing direction at junctions.
They are highly sociable animals, and are remarkably smart birds. They are also powerfully built, form cooperative family units, and have an unmatched ability to find their way home. Ever heard of Carrier pigeons? Homing pigeons? These birds aren’t just super intelligent, they are also some of the most beautiful avifauna we’ve ever seen.
Pink-Necked Green Pigeon
The Nicobar Pigeon
Have you ever seen a pigeon chick? I didn’t think so. Interestingly, pigeons don’t reveal themselves to humans until they are fully mature.
This happens because pigeons are very apt at hiding their nests away from prying eyes, and young pigeons (called squabs) remain in the nest until they take on an adult appearance.
Brown Frillback Pigeon
Victoria Crowned Pigeon
Pigeons are monogamous, that’s right, they mate for life. Which is a pretty long time for a bird- they can live to the age of 20.
Scientists are still unsure why exactly pigeons are so awesome at this. But one thing’s for sure: humanity has known about pigeons’ navigational skill since at least 3000 BC. People used to set caged pigeons free and then follow them to nearby land.
What’s more, the ancient Greeks used to train pigeons to carry the results of the Olympics—so sports fans were always in the know! Pigeons truly are mysterious and beautiful birds and we’re still finding out new things about them every year.
Pied Imperial Pigeon
Pigeons have an unparalleled ability to find their way home, no matter what scientists do to confuse them. They have delivered messages through a hail of bullets during wartime, and once delivered messages for Reuters, the world’s largest news organization.
Homing pigeons are the same species as your neighborhood pigeon – they have simply been bred and trained for racing.
English Trumpeter Pigeon
Pigeons and humans have lived in close proximity for thousands of years. The first recordings of this date back to Mesopotamis, modern Iraq, in 3000BC.
Black Helmet Pigeon
Old Dutch Capuchine
German Modena Pigeon
Pigeons can fly at altitudes up to and beyond 6000 feet, and at an average speed of 77.6 mph. The fastest recorded speed is 92.5 mph.
Now that you have seen some of the most beautiful and interesting pigeons from around the world, which one is your favourite?