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Can Pigeons Fly Without Tail Feathers?

One of the most frequently asked questions about pigeons on different forums is: can pigeons fly without tail feathers?

Pigeons can fly without their tail feathers but it significantly decreases their maneuverability and ability to change directions quickly. Additionally, flying without tail feathers also makes it harder for them to land properly and take off from the ground.

Some people might say that pigeons can’t fly without their tail feathers, but as it turns out, this isn’t actually true. In fact, pigeons can fly perfectly well without their tail feathers, they just might not be able to stay in the air for as long.

However, there is a lot more to learn when it comes to learning about the flight of pigeons without tail feathers. For example, how do they manage to keep their balance? What other functions do the tail feathers serve?

We will explore all of these questions in this article.

Can Pigeons Fly Without Tail Feathers (2)

Does a pigeon have a tail?

The first question that comes into mind is whether or not a pigeon has a tail.

Pigeons do have tails, but they are much shorter than those of other birds. In fact, the average pigeon tail measures just 3 to 4 inches in length.

If it gets wet during rainy seasons then things can go really bad for pigeons. Perhaps this is also one of the main reasons why they avoid flying in the rain. Apart from that, the tail of the pigeon is dark-tipped and usually has long feathers.

Can Pigeons Fly Without Tail Feathers?

As mentioned earlier, the short answer is yes, pigeons can fly without tail feathers. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea for them to do so.

When pigeons lose their tail feathers, they are not able to fly as well as they could before. This is because the tail feathers play an important role in the flight of pigeons.

The tail feathers help the pigeon to balance and keep its body in the correct position while flying. They also help the pigeon to change directions quickly and slow down when landing.

Without tail feathers, pigeons have a hard time keeping their balance and often crash into things. Additionally, they can’t fly as well or for as long as they could before.

Can a Bird With No Tail Fly?

Just like pigeons, other birds can also fly without their tail feathers. It is because the tail of birds serves as a rudder and brake. It allows the bird to make sudden turns and slow down quickly.

Flying without a tail is not easy for birds and they often crash into things. Tail feathers also help birds to keep their balance while flying. Apart from that, only wings are responsible for the flight of the bird as it is the primary source of generating lift.

Tail feathers are just for the maneuverability of the bird in the air.

How Do Pigeons Keep Their Balance Without Tail Feathers?

Pigeons have a hard time keeping their balance without tail feathers because they rely on their tails to help them stay upright. The tail feathers act as a rudder, helping the pigeon to steer and keep its balance while flying.

Without tail feathers, pigeons often crash into things because they can’t keep their balance. Additionally, they can’t fly as well or for as long as they could before.

A beautiful pigeon flying

Why Do Pigeons Lose Their Feathers?

You may have seen pigeons that have lost their tail feathers and are wondering why this happens. There are a few reasons why pigeons might lose their tail feathers.

The first reason is that the pigeon might have been caught by a predator. When predators catch pigeons, they often pull out the tail feathers in order to make it harder for the pigeon to escape.

Another reason why pigeons might lose their tail feathers is that they could be molting. Pigeons molt or shed their feathers, once a year in order to grow new ones. During this time, they lose all of their feathers and have to grow new ones.

Lastly, pigeons might lose their tail feathers if they are sick or have a nutritional deficiency. If a pigeon is not getting enough nutrients, it might start to lose its feathers.

Will A Pigeons Tail Feathers Grow Back?

If a pigeon loses its tail feathers, it will eventually grow back. It takes about six weeks for the pigeon to grow new tail feathers. In the meantime, the pigeon will have a hard time flying and keeping its balance.

Besides that, a pigeon without its tail feather is more vulnerable to predator attacks such as cats, crows, eagles, and falcons. It is simply because the bird will not be able to protect itself by fleeing from the predator due to a lack of tail feathers.

Is it painful for Pigeons to grow feathers?

No, it is not painful for pigeons to grow feathers. The process of growing new feathers is called molting, and it happens once a year for pigeons. During this time, they lose all of their feathers and have to grow new ones.

Pigeons generally molt between June and August. During this time, they might look a bit scruffy because they are growing new feathers. 

However, they should not be molting more than once a year. If they are molting more than once a year, it could be a sign of a health problem.

Do Birds Feel Pain When They Lose A Feather?

It depends on how the bird loses its feathers. For instance, if the feathers are lost due to a natural process called molting, they won’t feel any pain. However, if the feathers are pulled out forcibly, then the bird might feel some pain.

Generally, a bird’s feathers are just like our nails. If you cut them with a nail clipper you won’t feel any pain. However, if it breaks then you know how bad it feels.

Therefore, people who cut the feathers of their pigeons should be conscientious while doing so.

It is because they can hurt the bird during this process which is not a good thing.

A pigeon using tail feather to land

Final Words

So can pigeons fly without tail feathers? Yes, they can fly still but due to the lack of tail feathers, they won’t be able to keep their balance during the flight. Moreover, the tail of pigeons helps them in changing directions during their flight and slowing down.

I hope after reading this article, you will have learned what is the tail feathers actually used for and what happens if a pigeon loses its tail feathers. If you enjoyed reading this article, please feel free to share it with your friends and family.

Thank you for reading!


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  2. Power Requirements for Horizontal Flight in the Pigeon Columba Livia
  3. Momentum and energy in the wake of a pigeon (Columba livia) in slow flight
  4. In vivo strains in pigeon flight feather shafts: implications for structural design
  5. Studies on inheritance in pigeons. VI. Number of tail feathers and uropygial gland

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