Pigeon Reproduction

pigeon on nest1
pigeon on nest2
  • Pigeons are monogamous and typically mate for life.

  • Female pigeons can reach sexual maturity as early as 7 months of age.

  • Pigeons build a flimsy platform nest of straw and sticks, put on ledge, under cover, often located on the window ledges of buildings.

  • Eight to 12 days after mating, the females lay 1 to 3 (usually 2) white eggs which hatch after 18 days.

  • Condition at Hatching: Helpless, with sparse yellow or white down.

  • Chicks fledge (leave the nest) in 25-32 days (45 days in midwinter).

  • The male provides nesting material and guards the female and the nest.

  • The young are fed pigeon milk, a liquid/solid substance secreted in the crop of the adult (both male and female) which is regurgitated.

  • More eggs are laid before the first clutch leaves the nest.

  • Breeding may occur at all seasons, but peak reproduction occurs in the spring and fall. A population of pigeons usually consists of equal numbers of males and females. When populations suddenly decrease, pigeon production increases and will soon replenish the flock.

  • In captivity, pigeons commonly live up to 15 years and sometimes longer. In urban populations, however, pigeons seldom live more than 2 or 3 years. Natural mortality factors, such as predation by mammals and other birds, diseases, and stress due to lack of food and water, reduce pigeon populations by approximately 30% annually.