Identification | Biology | Damage ID | Management | Resources

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

Learning Objectives

  1. Demonstrate ability to educate clients about control options.
  2. Provide a diagram of typical traps used to capture unprotected birds.
  3. Identify the risks involved with buildings infested with invasive birds.


Pigeons (Columbia livia) typically have a gray body with a whitish rump, two black bars on the secondary wing feathers, a broad black band on the tail, and red feet (Fig. 1). Body color can vary from gray to white, tan, and black. The average weight is 13 ounces (369 g) and the average length is 11 inches (28 cm). When pigeons take off, their wing tips touch, making a characteristic clicking sound. When they glide, their wings are raised at an angle.  

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 weigh about 12 inches long 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 (Figure 1c). 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.

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.