what is the difference between a pigeon and a dove

Pigeons vs. Doves: What is the Difference?

Many people have a love-hate relationship with pigeons. On the one hand, they are beautiful birds that provide hours of entertainment to humans who feed them. But on the other hand, their droppings can be unsightly and hazardous to those with sensitivities. Doves are often seen as symbols of peace and prosperity but they also cause quite a bit of damage if you happen to own a car in an area where these birds live. What is the difference between these two species? Read on for more information!

Pigeons and doves are both types of birds. They have similarities, but also some key differences. You may or may not be surprised to learn that pigeons and doves are actually two different families of birds! Pigeons belong to the family Columbidae while doves belong to the family Columbidae. A dove is a type of pigeon with long legs, rounded body shape, short neck, and pointed tail feathers on its backside (known as “rectrices”). The word “dove” derives from Old English ‘dūfe’ meaning “a plump bird” or “soft-feathered bird,” which probably comes from an old Indo-European root for “to swell.” 

What Is the Difference Between a Dove and a Pigeon?

The general view is that doves and pigeons are the same bird. The Rock Dove, which many people consider to be vile creatures found mainly in dark colors like brown or grayish blue, but this pigeon family also includes beautiful birds such as white Doves of Peace. There are 344 known species in all now- thirteen have been extinct since 1769.

The English word “dove” has been around since the 14th century to refer only to turtle doves, but today it is used for all sorts of birds. What makes this confusing? Well, expressions like “I’ll send you a dove” or “a draft as light as air,” don’t help either! The study of words and their origins has evolved over time so that most people use different terms interchangeably with little regard for what they actually mean.

The word dove has a Germanic origin and is used to describe the bird’s diving flight. The French use pigeon, which is derived from Latin for “peeping” chick.” One individual may call a dove while another person might say it was really just an oversized talking turkey with wings; language means different things to each of us without knowing any scientific or taxonomic knowledge about that subject!

Characteristics of The Columbidae Family

The Columbiformes order is home to all known species of pigeons and doves, but it also includes other animals that are not typically thought of as birds.

The family name for this group within the category is Columbidae which contains both true-to-name pigeons and doves (including those in our own backyard), along with woodpeckers, toucans, cuckoos ̶ even swifts!

Pigeons and doves are birds of a feather. They share many traits in common such as, short stout bodies with dense feathers all over their body; small heads on the end of slender necks; tapered wings that allow them to fly gracefully through the sky at great speed or glide peacefully across water without making so much noise – they can be heard singing softly from afar when you come close enough!

Canada Geese have developed different calls and extravagant feathers in some areas such as the frillbacks and fantails.

However, they all conform to a basic characteristic-they are either gray or white with black underparts, an orange bill, dark brown irises that turn yellow by July 4th (aka Independence Day), webbed feet perfect for swimming on flat land but not so much when it comes to running across fields  and marshes at top speeds of 50 miles per hour.

I think it would be more interesting to know why these two birds are not similar. For example, the budgie is a great pet because they can mimic human speech and learn up to 100 words while being totally adorable! The cockatiel however has an edge in that their feathers have natural oils which gives them protection from weather conditions such as extreme temperatures or cold winds (see note below). 

They also sing sweet tunes but unlike some other bird species who do this for mating purposes only, cockatiels will continue singing even after setting eggs making you want one of your very own right away!

Doves are a monogamous species of bird and the females always lay two eggs at one time. The hatching process takes 18-20 days after egg laying, so it’s important for both parents to take turns sitting in their nest during this critical period in order to keep predators away from the hatchlings that can’t fly yet.

Pigeons, the birds often seen in urban areas and parks around the world. Pigeons mate for life but only produce one egg a day! These eggs are incubated by both parents until they hatch after 18-19 days of development. With such high rates of reproduction, ten pairs can lay eight young pigeons within just one month – an amazing feat among avian species who usually have to wait three months before their first fledgling arrives!

Variations of Columbidae

While the generalizations of “dove” and “pigeon” serve no purpose beyond personal preference; there are still many different variations amongst 310 species of Columbidae. These animals come in a wide span of sizes, with much more variation than some would expect. For instance, the largest known Columbidae is nearly as large as a turkey. 

This being the “crown pigeon” species that can grow to be so big it fits into your hand for petting or even on a plate if you were inclined to eat one! The smaller traits tend to have closer contact with humans and better know how they react based on their size when encountering other people who are not familiar with them.

Columbidae have evolved to be the ultimate urban bird. They’re small, so they can nest in many human structures like attics or chimneys; their short legs keep them from escaping up high and getting stuck. And with an average body size of just six inches long, Columbidae are hard for predators to spot!

Columbids were built by evolution specifically for city life: Their tiny bodies make it easy for them to live among humans without detection – since they can hide easily inside any kind of building that you might find on your block (think attic space). But what really makes these birds special is how well-adapted they’ve become when faced with a predator threat. 

Columbidae birds are known for their various shapes and sizes, as well as a wide variety of colors. For example, some people view doves to be traditionally solid white while pigeons come in many different hues or shades depending on the head and neck area. Regardless of what you call them (dove vs pigeon), these feathery creatures will always remain beautiful!

Columbidae bird species have been observed with varying body shapes including small size like that seen in mourning dove versus larger ones such as those found among passenger pigeons where both types can vary widely when it comes to coloration too- from pure white all the way down to dark browns spotted throughout their feathers.

The colors of pigeons are as varied and beautiful as any other bird found in nature. Some species, such as the Columbidae family members have amazing bright feathers that show off their brilliant hues to best effect.

Differences Between Dove and Pigeon

The question of whether doves and pigeons are the same thing has been a long-running debate, but there is one point on which everyone agrees: these two birds have very distinct appearances. However, many people perceive them to be different based on various factors; all of these differences come down to breed variability within the Columbidae family. In other words, while they may look distinctly different from each other at first glance (or even second), in reality both animals belong to the columbidae species – meaning that they’re just variations between pigeon types!

Size and Appearance

In the world of birds, doves and pigeons are both members of the Columbidae family. What sets them apart is their size: smaller-bodied dove species tend to be less than 14 inches in length while pigeon sizes can range from 16 to 30 inches (40 – 75 cm). One might think that this small difference could mark a distinction between two closely related bird groups. 

However, as it turns out there is much more diversity within these families than just those few body lengths. Morphological differences come into play with regards to tail shape and coloration patterns also being very different for each group… The smallest breed is New World Ground Dove which measures about 5 inches long!

The body of a pigeon is streamlined with thin, long wings and short legs. Their tails vary in size depending on the breed but most have 11 feathers to aid them while flying. They’re capable of performing acrobatics due to their low wing loading that allows for more agility than other birds. 

Such as doves who generally have narrower tail designs which are also lined with downy materials like cotton or wool fibers, making it easier for these fliers during winter months when they need extra insulation from colder temperatures at higher altitudes where there’s less oxygen available too!

Different species of birds have evolved in various ways, one being that granivorous and frugivorous species differ from each other. The former tend to be duller while the latter are more brightly colored with vivid colors usually seen on fruit doves which can also range as far east as Fiji or west into India’s Indian Ocean.

Diet and Predators

There are two different types of diets: granivore and frugivores. Granivores have gizzards with thicker walls, esophagi, and intestines than those found in a frugivist’s digestive system. Fruits also require some adaptations that enable the animal to live off them; this is why frugalista can cling onto branches while they hang upside down just so they could get a taste or scratch their hunger itch for fruit on tree bark!

As mentioned previously, diet enables the classification into either granivores or frugavors (gran-a-voorz). These diets give rise to some anatomical differences specifically related to digestion systems which allow animals like monkeys who eat mostly from trees.

Atoll Fruit Doves are a small species of bird that is found in the Maldives Islands and other parts of Asia. They like to eat insects, worms, reptiles and snails including their namesake atoll fruits which they find on trees not so far from where you can watch them perched atop branches!

The struggle to survive is a difficult one when you are prey. The larger birds that glide down from the sky have the advantage over their smaller counterparts, and even doves with superior gliding speed aren’t safe if they fall into rat- or snake-infested territory on earth below. Humans can also be considered one of these predators – particularly for common pigeons.


Columbidae has adapted to almost all types of environments which is why species are found all over the world, including in places such as Eastern Polynesia and Réunion Island, both of them remotest parts. Places where they haven’t been able to establish themselves include Antarctica and The Sahara Desert but whether this pattern will be broken remains unknown. 

For a long time, many people have been looking for the perfect home. Some want to live in temperate woodlands while others prefer living on sandy atolls or rocky mountains and some even like grassland as well. But what about those who wish they could be found in towns and cities? Well if you are one of these creatures then good news! 

You can find them all over North America where there are plenty of urban areas with food sources available such as fruit trees that will always give you something tasty-looking to eat when your hungry stomach needs it most. Many different species of birds enjoy settling down anywhere from mountain ranges, deserts, forests, you name it! 

The Whistling Dove and The Grenada Dove have restricted ranges, only being found in one place. For example, the Whistling dove can be found on Kadavu Island in Fiji while The Grenada dove is endemic to its namesake country.

The Rock Dove – which as you recall all doves and pigeons are descended from – has the largest distribution. Its range stretches from Ireland to China, but others have smaller distributions that hold them back in more localized areas of their respective regions. 

The Somali Pigeon only lives in a tiny area of Northern Somalia, while Black-Banded Fruit-Dove is restricted to Arnhem Land on Australia’s east coast; both these species number less than 10 thousand individuals each. Moreno’s Ground Doves live abundantly within an extremely small area spanning northern Argentina and southern Bolivia with fewer than 1 million individual birds alive today!


These beautiful birds have long been associated with their melodious cooing. In fact, “pigeons” also make this sound because they’re the same! The coo can vary depending on different situations – for example, when alarmed it may change to something like a short and sharp “oorh” noise in order to alert other doves nearby of danger or any potential predators catching them by surprise.

There are many breeds of pigeons and doves, but they all have one thing in common–a coo. One breed is called trumpeters because their call sounds more like a low laugh than the gentle coo that other pigeon/dove breeds produce. 

Trumpeter pigeons were originally bred for racing purposes due to how quickly it takes them (less time) to fly home when released from another location up until this point some domesticated trumpeters exist among fancy pigeon owners who want an entertaining pet at times not available with dogs or cats!

Interaction with Humans

Columbidae have forged a close relationship with humans; sometimes it is greatly beneficial and other times deadly. Some species find that living off of human settlements help them flourish, while others tragically go extinct from the interaction. In fact one of the most popularly known extinctions ever known–the dodo bird– was actually a Columbidae family member! The dodo birds were hunted into extinction after they found their way to islands where there weren’t many predators but plenty for themselves to eat as an easy meal.

As the world’s population continues to surge, so does our impact on wildlife. The 310 species of Columbidae are under threat; nearly 60 of them face an eminent fate which sadly mirrors that of the dodo. We need more efforts from people like you and me if we want to ensure these animals’ survival in some form or another before they’re totally gone forever! 


It’s not enough to know what a pigeon is; you need to understand the difference between pigeons and doves. The most important distinction between these two birds is how they are used in language, but there are many other interesting facts about them that may catch your attention as well. For instance, pigeons have been around for up to 25 million years–ten times longer than humans! In addition, did you know that ducks actually evolved from chickens? 

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