Identification | Biology | Damage ID | Management |Handling

Pigeon on concrete patio
Pigeon (Columbia livia). Photo by Jan Hygnstrom.

Legal Status

Feral pigeons are not protected by federal law and most states do not afford them protection. State and local laws should be consulted, however, before any control measures are taken. Some cities are considered bird sanctuaries that provide protection to all species of birds.  

Physical Description

Pigeons (Columbia livia) average about 12 inches in length and weigh 12 to 17 ounces. They typically are blue-gray with 2 black bands on the wings and 1 black band on the tail that contrasts with its white rump. Feet are red. Color morphs range from all white to mottled brown to sooty black. They are larger than the tawny-brown mourning doves that are native to the US and protected by federal and state regulations. When pigeons take off, their wing tips touch, making a characteristic clicking sound. When they glide, their wings are raised at an angle. 

Species Range

Pigeons are found throughout the United States (including Hawaii), southern Canada, and Mexico.  

Voice and Sounds

Calls consist of a soft and throaty cooing.

Tracks and Signs

Pigeons are diurnal and comfortable around people, making their presence easy to detect.


Information on this species is based on the chapter in Prevention and Control David E. Williams, (State Director, USDA-APHIS-Animal Damage Control, Lincoln, NE) and Robert M. Corrigan (Vertebrate Pest Management, Purdue University).