In urban & rural areas, we often observe beautiful birds like pigeons & doves in flocks, gracing us with their appearance & gentle cooing. Also, it’s common to wonder, ‘Can doves and pigeons mate?’. In this article, I am going to help you learn & discover if they ever interbreed.
Here, you will be delving into the fascinating world of doves & pigeons, exploring their mating behavior, and understanding the potential for interspecies hybridization & implications it may have on the population. But before I tell you all this, let’s begin with learning: Can Doves and Pigeons Mate?
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Can Doves And Pigeons Mate?
Although inter-species hybridization is a rare phenomenon, doves & pigeons can meet together, but it’s not common. There can be few instances where you can observe dove & pigeon mating and producing hybrid offspring, especially when domesticated. One such example is the domestication of Rock dove l, also known as the common domesticated pigeons, which are generally bred for different traits, leading to various breeds’ emergence.
All these domesticated pigeons are said to be descendants of wild Rock doves & are the result of human-mediated hybridization. Both species belong to the same family group, making them quite compatible with each other to produce offspring. However, inter-species hybridization is rare & may result in genetic complications. Also, you should know that many factors may influence the likelihood of inter-species mating between pigeons & doves.
Research by the max planck institute for Orthology found that geographic proximity is a significant factor that influences the mating behavior of both species, especially when it comes to inter-species mating & breeding. When different species live in the same area & their breeding season overlap, you will find a high chance of interspecies mating occurrence.
Another thing you did to know is genetic compatibility which plays a huge role in successful interspecies mating. If the genetic makeup of both species is very different, It might hinder the production of viable offspring. But if the genetic compatibility is very high, inter-species hybridization is more likely to occur & succeed.
Since both species look very familiar to each other, many people wonder, ‘Are pigeons doves‘; if you also wonder this, consider reading my recent articles on the relationship between doves and pigeons‘ relationship. You should know that both species share a plump body, small heads, & relatively short legs.
Talking about appearance, you will notice the dove carrying a cylinder body with a long & pointed tail, whereas the pigeon will be bulkier in look but equipped with shorter, rounded tell. Another noticeable difference that can help you tell them apart is their correlation. Doves are likely to be more muted & have Earth-tone colors, whereas pigeons will display a wide range of colors,including iridescence.
Mating Behaviour in Doves & Pigeons
If you are a bird enthusiast, you might have already noticed both these species mating rituals, which are captivating but vary slightly between these two species. Doves are known for tender & affectionate courtship displays where they engage in intricate aerial acrobatics with both & females together in synchronized patterns.
In addition, the male doves may present the female with gifts like small pebbles & twigs as a gesture of courtship. On the other hand, if we look at the pigeons, they exhibit a more straightforward courtship ritual. The male pigeon usually bows to the female & coos loudly to attract her attention. In turn, the female responds by accepting or rejecting the male advances.
Monogamy vs Polygamy
While researching, I learned about a study by the Eastern Kentucky University. There I found that the mating system of dove & pigeon can vary between monogamous & polygamous tendencies, depending on the species & environmental conditions. For instance, some dove species, like mourning doves, are known to form strong monogamous pairs that last throughout the breeding season & in some cases, even longer. On the other hand, pigeons like feral pigeons commonly seen in our urban areas tend to be more polygamous & may mate with multiple partners during a breeding season.
When it comes to understanding the ability of hybrid offspring that has resulted from the mating of doves & pigeons, it depends upon a few factors. Journal evolutionary ecology stated that hybrids face more challenges in Survival, especially in the wild, compared to purebreds. In captivity, hybrid doves & pigeons may perform better as they will continuously receive care and protection from external threats, with all the resources they need to survive.
However, they’ll need help adapting to their environment in the wild and compete with more well-adapted purebred individuals. Also, another study by the National Institutes of Health found that interspecies hybrids have shown reduced fertility compared to purebred individuals. Also, you should know that hybrid offspring experience decreased reproductive success & potentially lower population growth.
Conservation & Management
As our activities are continuously impacting the natural habitat of these Avian creatures, it is important that we also pay attention to the conservation implications of inter-species mating between pigeons & doves. You should know that inter-species mating and the Survival of the hybrids are suffering greatly due to the loss of suitable reading ground pollution & other environmental factors.
Due to the declining population. International union for Conservation of Nature has listed several species of doves & pigeons as near threatened & vulnerable because we understand how inter-species mating affects reproductive success & their overall genetic diversity for effective conservation efforts.
If I were at your place, I would have focused on preserving suitable habitats where both pigeons & doves can thrive and minimize any human-induced disturbance that may disrupt their natural behavior, including mating. Also, the ResearchGate suggests that we should create & focus on safe & undisturbed breeding sites to promote successful mating & increase the chances of their population growth.
Even though pigeons & doves can mate together, it is quite a rare occurrence In The wild. In captivity, you may find very many hybrids of both species due to interspecies mating, but their survival rate is quite low if left in the wild alone to compete with the more well-equipped purebred ones. Therefore, if you encounter any hybrid species of pigeon or dove resulting from interspecies mating, consider protecting it through efforts that you see viable.
These charming birds will continue to captivate us with their beauty & cooing touch of surroundings. I hope I have given you all the information around the question: can doves & pigeons mate? And if yes, what would be the implications of hybridization? If you find the article helpful, consider sharing it, which will further help us appreciate & protect these remarkable creatures for generations to come. Check this website’s other helpful guide on the relationship between pigeons and doves. See you in the next post, till then, take care & goodbye.