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Do Pigeons and Doves Mate? – [Things You May Not Know]

Did you know that pigeons and doves are in the same family? They both belong to the Columbidae family, which contains more than 300 species of birds. However, the question is: do pigeons and doves mate?

Pigeons and doves don’t mate together because they are both different species. Apart from that, these two birds will never crossbreed due to the difference in chromosomes i.e. pigeons have a total of 80 chromosomes while doves have 76-78. 

While they may look similar, there are a few key differences between these two types of birds.  Pigeons are larger in size and have shorter tails. Doves, on the other hand, are smaller and have longer tails. They are more gentle and docile creatures.

In this article, I will answer the question of whether pigeons and doves mate or not. Besides that, I will also share some of my interesting findings of these birds.

So if you are interested in knowing an answer to the question i.e. do pigeons and doves mate then keep on reading!

Do Pigeons and Doves Mate (2)

Do Pigeons And Doves Mate?

I already told you pigeons and doves won’t mate in normal conditions. It is simply because they are two different species. Although the family of both birds is the same but still.

However, according to some people, pigeons will occasionally mate with doves. This usually happens if there aren’t any other pigeons around and both birds are kept in a small cage.

The problem is that this situation is not natural and it rarely happens. So, we can say that it is not possible for pigeons and doves to mate in the wild.

Are Doves And Pigeons The Same Breed?

Pigeons and doves belong to the same family i.e Columbidae. However, they are not the same breed.

There are a few key things that make a pigeon different from a dove. For example, the size of a pigeon is bigger than the dove while you may have noticed pigeons having short tails.

While on the other hand, the doves are not only smaller in size but also have longer tails compared to pigeons. In addition, the number of chromosomes differs in both birds. Pigeons have 80 chromosomes while the doves have 76-78 chromosomes.

Are Doves Female Pigeons?

Another thing that confuses most people is whether doves are female pigeons or not?

The answer is no, dove females are not pigeons. Although both birds belong to the same family still, they are different species.

While it is true that both have a few similarities like size and shape. However, there are also many differences between them as well which I have already mentioned in this article.

Can A Dove And Pigeon Live Together?

You might also be wondering about the living habits of both birds. Can a dove live with a pigeon?

The answer is yes, both birds can live together but they won’t mate because they are different species. Pigeons and doves are peaceful birds and they don’t have any problem living with humans or other birds.

This is one of the main reasons why you might see pigeons and doves grazing together in parks etc.

What Happens To A Dove When Its Mate Dies?

The Columbidae family is interesting because both male and female pigeons/doves mate for life. Once they find a pair they won’t breed with other pigeons or doves.

So, what happens when one of the mates dies?

The simple answer is that the remaining bird will try to find another partner after some time. Doves are known for taking care of their deceased partners and they have been spotted mourning the death of their loved ones.

People have also seen doves visiting the same place where their partner died. However, they will eventually accept the reality and find another mate for breeding. This might be very sad but that’s how nature works sometimes.

A pigeon grazing

How Do You Tell The Difference Between A Male And Female Dove?

This is one tricky thing that confuses most beginner birdwatchers. You might be interested in knowing how to determine the gender of a dove.

The easiest way is by looking at their physical appearance. Male doves tend to be slightly bigger than females and they also have longer tails. Another difference is that the male doves usually have brighter plumage as compared to females.

If you want to be 100% sure about the gender of a dove then your best bet is to wait for the breeding season.

During this time, the male doves will start building nests and attracting females. So, if you see a dove doing this then it is most likely a male.

Another way of telling the difference is by their sounds. Male doves usually coo softly to attract females while the females have a higher pitched sound.

Can Pigeons And Chickens Mate?

Ok so far, you’ve learned that pigeons and doves won’t mate. But can pigeons and chickens mate?

The answer to this question is no. There is a huge difference between chickens and pigeons and therefore, they won’t breed. While it’s true that they can live together.  However, they will not mate because they are different species.

They can breed in very rare cases and as a result, they will get crossbreed offspring. However, this happens in extremely rare cases, and that too in captivity. In wild, I have never seen a pigeon mating with a chicken or vice versa.

Do All Pigeons Coo?

Yes, all pigeons coo but not as loudly as the mourning doves. Pigeons usually coo to attract mates or to warn other birds about the presence of predators.

The pigeon’s cooing is softer and gentler than the sound of a dove. Mourning doves are known for their loud cooing which can be heard from a distance as well.

A beautiful dove looking for food

How Long Do Pigeons Live?

The average lifespan of a pigeon is about 15 years. However, some pigeons have been known to live up to 30 years in captivity. The main reason behind the long life of pigeons is that they are not hunted by humans or other animals.

In the wild, the average lifespan of a pigeon is reduced to only 5-10 years because of the predators and harsh conditions.

Do Pigeons Mate For Life?

Yes, pigeons usually mate for life. Once they find a suitable mate, they stay with them until one of them dies. Pigeons are very loyal creatures and they take care of their mate and offspring.

Pigeons usually build their nests in high places like trees, cliffs, etc. They lay 2-4 eggs at a time and both parents take turns incubating them. Once the chicks are born, both parents feed them until they are old enough to fend for themselves.

Final Words

Do pigeons and doves mate? Well, the answer to this question is both yes and do. While I haven’t seen a pigeon mating with a dove in all these years of my birdwatching.

However, I have heard from people that their pigeons and doves mated together. This doesn’t happen often and usually in extremely rare cases when both birds are kept in captivity.

However, still, these birds won’t crossbreed due to a different number of chromosomes. I hope this article helped you in understanding the difference between these two birds and their mating habits.


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