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What Do Pigeons Eat? Ultimate Guide

One of the best ways to attract pigeons to your yard or garden is by feeding them. But what do pigeons eat?

Pigeons eat a variety of items including breadcrumbs, grains, seeds, berries, and fruits. Sometimes they also feed on insects, snails, and earthworms.

However, that’s not all and there’s a lot more to learn when it comes to pigeons’ diet. For example, wild pigeons have a slightly different diet as compared to domestic pigeons.

Luckily I have covered each and everything for you so that you can learn about what do pigeons eat in the wild. Not only in the wild but you will also learn about what do pigeons eat in the city.

If that sounds appealing to you, I strongly advise you to continue reading.

What Do Pigeons Eat in the Wild?

what do pigeons eat

Pigeons are social birds and they gather in flocks. There are two types of pigeons – the Rock Doves, which are believed to have originated from domesticated pigeons, and the Stock Doves.

The Stock Dove is said to be a feral bird that lives across Europe, North Africa, and temperate regions of Asia. They are not often found in the United States or Australia.

While pigeons primarily feed on seeds, fruits, berries, insects are also eaten depending on the availability of food in the region they live in.

Pigeons mostly feed on grains like wheat that are found in farms and other areas. Rotten fruits on the ground also attract pigeons where they feed on them.

In the wild, domestic pigeons mostly feed on oats that are provided to them by farmers who grow crops or keep livestock.

What Do Pigeons Eat in Cities?

If you live in a city, there’s a good chance you might see pigeons near your home. Pigeons are attracted to ledges, flat roofs, bridges, and building cornices for nesting.

Due to the high population of inhabitants in cities, there’s also a higher availability of food for pigeons as compared to other areas.

Pigeons primarily eat seeds, grains, and fruit in cities. However, they may also feed on food scraps left by humans. It includes a variety of items including bread crumbs, cookies, popcorn, etc. There’s even a chance that pigeons may eat from garbage cans.

Pigeons also visit bird feeders where they feed on seeds meant for smaller birds like sparrows.

What Do Pigeons Eat in the Breeding Season?

Pigeons are very common birds that can be seen on window ledges, bridges, and on top of buildings across the world.  These birds breed at any time during the year depending on certain factors including availability of food, temperature conditions, etc.

Pigeons breed in vast numbers and start breeding at an early age, so they do not have a specific breeding season.

What Do They Eat During the Winter?

A flock of pigeons eating some corn

Like most other birds including pigeons, geese, and ducks that live in cold regions of the world, pigeons also migrate to warmer climates for the winter.

During this period, they mostly rely on food that is available for them in the region where they migrate to.

In warmer climates, pigeons eat fresh fruits and berries as these are easier to find than grains and seeds which require more effort to be gathered during winter months. They also feed on insects such as moths and bugs that are available in the region.

In case, there isn’t any suitable food for pigeons in a particular area, they have been known to survive on dead fish and jellyfish washed ashore by waves.

What about Their Dient In Captivity?

If you happen to see a pigeon close to your house or at your workplace, you can expect that pigeon to be either a feral pigeon or a racing pigeon.

Feral pigeons are the ones that have been domestic in the past but have later adapted to living in cities with humans.

Racing pigeons on the other hand are bred specifically for racing and they are not used for any other purpose.

Both these types of pigeons are usually kept in captivity, so you can expect them to have a proper diet other than the food they find on the streets.

Racing pigeons are fed with specially made pigeon pellets that contain all necessary nutrients for their health during training or racing. This food is available at any reputable pet store.

Feral pigeons on the other hand are not fed with pellets and usually rely on food scraps. They may also feed on seeds that attract them to farms and agricultural land.

Do Pigeons Eat Rice?

Rice is a popular food item served at weddings, restaurants, and other social gatherings. Given the increasing demand for rice worldwide due to its use in cuisine across the world, there have been concerns on whether or not pigeons eat rice.

Pigeons are attracted to many types of foods including seeds, grains, fruits, etc. Rice is an edible grain that is used to make many different types of food items including soups, desserts, and even wine.

Pigeons might eat rice if it falls on the ground because this offers them a better chance than grains or seeds at becoming a regular part of their diet.

However, there’s no reason for you to worry about pigeons eating rice as they only eat grains and seeds in the wild.

Do Pigeons Eat Sunflower Seeds?

Seeds are an important part of the diet of pigeons. Sunflower seeds are popularly served in bird feeders, and pigeons visit these seed feeders to find food.

The nutritional value of sunflower seeds has made them a favorite among bird keepers who want to attract more birds around their homes or facilities.

When it comes to pigeons, they stay away from sunflower seeds and other types of large seeds usually found in bird feeders.

Pigeons eat smaller seeds such as millet and safflower along with grain items such as wheat and corn. These seeds are also available at any pet store where you can buy food for your racing pigeons.

Also Read – Do Birds Eat Sunflower Seeds Whole?

Do Pigeons Eat Grass?

Grass is another popular food item for pigeons as they eat all types of vegetation including fruits, seeds, and grains.

Pigeons usually eat grains such as wheat or corn that grow in farms and agricultural regions. Therefore, they do not go to parks and grasslands where there’s a lot of grass.

However, if you come across a pigeon eating grass in your backyard, you can expect it to be either a feral pigeon trying to survive on whatever food it can find or a racing pigeon that does not have sufficient access to its food supply.

pigeons eating rice from the ground

Do Pigeons Eat Bread?

Bread is one of the most popular items served as a staple in many parts of the world. Due to its demand and increasing popularity, there are various types of bread available including white, wheat, rye, etc.

Pigeons are usually attracted to bread items when they are dropped on the ground accidentally, which is why it is important for people to be careful when walking in public areas with their food items.

Once a pigeon finds out that there’s food on the floor, it will go through all the trouble of eating this type of cuisine to satisfy its hunger.

Bread is readily available everywhere, which makes it an easy target for any pigeon. However, the nutritional value of bread isn’t enough to maintain a pigeon’s health for long.

Pigeons are usually found eating seeds and grains in parks or grasslands that are native to their environment. It is rare to find a pigeon eating bread.

Do Pigeons Eat Fish?

Pigeons eat fish by default as they tend to live near lakes and rivers that offer their main source of water.

These birds also feed on the surface of the water where small organisms such as insects and crustaceans can be found.

The nutritional value of fish is enough to give pigeons the required energy to survive. Fish oil is usually used in pigeon-rearing farms, which offer regular supply of this type of food item.

Is It Possible for Pigeons to Eat Tomatoes?

Pigeons can eat tomatoes as they are drawn towards any fruit or vegetable that falls on the ground.

When people plant tomatoes in their garden, they make sure that there are no pigeons around. However, if a pigeon finds out that there’s fruit on the ground, it will go through all the trouble of eating this type of cuisine to satisfy its hunger.

Tomatoes have high acidity which can cause serious harm to both the fruit itself and the pigeon that eats it. Humans, on the other hand, can eat tomatoes without any serious health risks.

What Do Pigeons Hate?

Pigeons stay away from sour fruits like lemons, oranges, etc. They prefer having sweet items such as fruits and grains in their daily diet.

They also stay away from foods that have a high percentage of acid content in them. Pigeons are usually drawn towards foods with high water content.

What Is Pigeons Favorite Food? (most Favorite)

Although I’ve mentioned several things that pigeons eat still some people might be looking for their most favorite food. Well, in this case, pigeons love seeds, corn, pearl millets, rice, wheat, safflower, chickpea, and oats.

However, they will eat anything they can find on the ground so you don’t have to worry too much about serving them their favorite food items.

doves eating maze

Last Minute Thoughts

So the question was what do pigeons eat? Pigeons mostly eat grains, seeds, fruits, berries, vegetables, insects such as moths and bugs. However, they may also eat from the garbage and even the items that we feed them.

Pigeons primarily breed during all seasons and can be found in most parts of the world except Antarctica.

Since pigeons are birds that live close to humans, they adapt quickly to their surroundings and mostly rely on food that is easily available around their habitat.

So, the question ‘What do Pigeons Eat?’ has a lot of answers and varies depending on where in the world you find them and how they are raised.

If you happen to keep pigeons in captivity then it is important for you to provide them with food that contains all essential nutrients so that they grow healthy and strong.

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