Most interesting Rock Pigeon color variants

Feral pigeons (Columba livia var domestica) have a lot of deviation from the basic Rock Pigeon color patterns. What are the most interesting colors you have seen? Here are a few of mine:


I’d check out the Amazing Aberrants project, it’s full of stuff like this.

Personally I’m most partial to brown pigeons.


Rock pigeons with aberrant colors such as entirely white or marked with spots are all escaped pet or aviary birds, or their immediate descendants, and should not really be regarded as wild when observed. They usually die quickly out of human care.

All pigeons outside coastal Europe are feral and descended from domestic birds, but they tend to revert to a wild-like form in varying shades of gray.

If they are not actively in the custody of a person, they should still be considered wild.


All of them? Really? In Israel a full third or more have atypical colour. Are those really exclusively first/second generation escapees?

1 Like

Definitely not all of them, I see way too many variant pigeons for them all to have been captive

I’d say at least a fifth of the pigeons I see in New Jersey (Metro NYC area) are aberrations, my favorite ones are the bronze colored ones, some of which have white tail feathers and some pink/purple iridescence on the neck. Also love the all white or all black variants

1 Like

In Honolulu, the majority are white, but they are indeed truly feral. It is due to a founder effect.

I find the darkwing variation (center bird in your second photo) interesting myself – looks almost like wild-type (right bird in your second photo), but the wings are uniformly dark gray instead of light. This variant is more common than expected in the feral flock on the Vallejo, California waterfront.

One thing I have never seen, though, is any trace of fancy-pigeon ancestry – no trace of feathers on the feet, nor fantails. Presumably these are more strongly selected against than colors?

Ernie liked to make fun of Bert for being fond of pigeons, but there is more to pigeons than first meets the eye.

1 Like

Full whites often are escapees, the one on the photo is far from being one of them. Also better call them Domestic pigeons, they’re far from being only Columba livia genetically.

This one had admirers:


It can be again the result of which pegions were released there, I met some specimens with feet feathers, but it is indeed rare trait. Probably allele combination that is hard to achieve with free breeding.


yes, in your country in particular there is a huge pigeon raising hobby.

In the way an abandoned dog is wild I guess? But they’re not wild animals. They’re escaped (or more commonly abandoned) domestics.

They’re wild for iNat and live as wild animals, their origin doesn’t matter too much.

1 Like

Just found this observation by @marina_gorbunova - another interesting bird.

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.