Feral Pigeon

Columba livia


The wild, 'pure' rock dove is found around rocky sites and cliffs in remote areas. The ancestor of all our feral pigeons, it was domesticated to provide food and soon found its way into our towns and cities, farmland and woodlands. Feral pigeons breed almost everywhere except uplands, with high densities occurring in our cities. In urban areas, the feral pigeon has become a pest in certain places.

How to identify

Feral pigeons are familiar to us as the grey-blue birds of our towns and cities. They come in all shades, however, from pale grey to cinnamon brown, even resembling the wild rock dove perfectly. Smaller than the woodpigeon and larger than the collared dove, the feral pigeon can be distinguished from the similar-looking stock dove by the latter's pinker breast, grey rump and black wing-bars.

Where to find it

The wild rock dove is now only found on the coasts of Scotland and Northern Ireland. The domesticated version, the feral pigeon, is found everywhere.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Feral pigeons can be a serious pest but mostly will live side-by-side with humans without cause for concern. The Wildlife Trusts work with pest controllers to find the most wildlife-friendly solutions to some of our everyday problems.

Species information

Common name
Feral Pigeon
Latin name
Columba livia
Pigeons and doves
Length: 31-34cm Wingspan: 66cm Weight: 300g Average Lifespan: 3 years
Conservation status