Pigeon Vs Dove: Are Doves Pigeons? (5 Logical Differences)

If you are wondering ‘Are Doves Pigeons,’ you are not alone. People often get confused when they spot one of these birds for the first time & mistaken identity with the other. Many people also wonder if they are really that distinct. In this article, I will uncover five major differences between pigeon vs dove and tell you how to identify them accurately & confidently. But before I tell you all these things, let’s first explore the question that has puzzled many: are doves pigeons?

Are Doves Pigeons?

Are Doves Pigeons?

No, doves are not pigeons. However, both the species dove & pigeons share the same Family,Columbidae‘ but belong to completely different genera. Pigeons are said to be larger & more versatile Birds than doves. On the other hand, doves are popular for their melody cooing sound compared to pigeon coo-coo. Indeed, doves are also a type of pigeon.

Still, they are completely different species that have their habitat preferences, vocalization patterns, size differences, physical characteristics, as well as behavioral traits. I have shared five major differences between pigeons and doves below to know more about this. We can say that pigeons & doves are very closely related birds, but their differences mainly lie in their size & appearance.

Pigeons are considered larger birds with robust build, while doves are smaller with more delicate build. If you notice one of the most common pigeon species, the rock pigeon, you will find them having a length of average 32 cm & weighing around 238 grams (average).On the other hand, a well-known dove species, the Eurasian dove, usually measures approximately 32 CM in length and around 200 grams.

Also, you should note that pigeons & doves have been woven into the fabric of our history for centuries. Both species hold significant cultural symbolism across various societies, religions, and myths. One such example that you can read lies in ancient Greece, where pigeons were rewarded as symbols of love & fertility, while in Christianity, the dove represents

Pigeon vs Dove: 5 Key Differences

Physical Characteristics & Behavior

If you pay attention to the physical difference between pigeons & doves, you will find that pigeons are blessed with a more robust & muscular build with a shorter neck; in contrast, doves have a slender & elegant appearance with a longer neck. In addition to this, both species’ color and marking patterns may vary slightly differently.

Pigeons are popular for exhibiting boulder coloration & pattern on their body, whereas doves usually have more subdued & uniform colors. One of the most notable examples is the Victoria crowned pigeon, which poses vibrant blue & white feathers in stark contrast to the soft grey plumage of the mourning pigeon. To help you understand these things better, I have given a proper table on the physical characteristics & the differences between pigeons and doves.

BuildRobust & MuscularSlender & Elegant
Neck LengthShorterLonger
Plumage PatternsBold & ColorfulSubdued & Uniform
Example SpeciesVictoria Crowned-PigeonMourning Dove

Behavioral Contrasts

Few behavioral contrasts can help you identify each of the species. Apart from their physical differences, pigeon & doves are known to display distinct behavior, which also sets them apart. Pigeons are said to be very highly adaptable & perching birds who have managed to adapt & thrive in urban environments near human settlements foraging for food scraps in City streets.

On the other hand, if you pay attention to doves, you might not be able to spot them in urban settings so easily because they are commonly found in suburban & rural areas with open space & easy access to water sources. If you are also a traveler who likes to visit new places, you might have already encountered many groups of pigeons in the bustling city square, fearless scavenging for crumbs left behind by passersby. I think that the pigeon’s ability to coexist with us in this kind of environment is truly remarkable, which witnesses the capabilities of our natural adaptation.

Global Distribution

Almost everywhere except Antarctica, you can spot pigeons showcasing their incredible adaptability to diverse environments, existing harmoniously with humans in bursting cities. Rock pigeons, in particular, are said to be true cosmopolitans who have managed to thrive worldwide. You can also consider to read “Rock Dove Vs Pigeon“. On the other hand, dogs are considered more prevalent in temperate & tropical regions.

However, some species may also be endemic to specific areas. During my research, I found the spotted dove the prime example of a species that has adapted well to urban life & areas of many parts of Asia. To help you learn better, I have given the global distribution of both dominant species across different continents below.

North AmericaRock PigeonMourning Dove
EuropeRock PigeonEuropean Turtle-Dove
AsiaRock PigeonSpotted Dove
AustraliaRock PigeonDiamond Dove
South AmericaRock PigeonEared Dove
AfricaSpeckled PigeonAfrican Collared-Dove

Adaptation to Urban Environments

As I told you earlier, pigeons are known for being highly versatile birds & their adaptability to urban settings is well documented. We have already witnessed pigeons successfully capitalizing on the abundance of food sources in bustling cities and have become a familiar site to spot in parks, plazas, and building ledges.

On the other hand, dogs are not commonly associated with urban areas but have also shown a degree of adaptability in cities with accessible green spaces. Also, pigeons demonstrated a higher success rate in urban habitats than doves due to their feeding habits & pigeon nesting behaviors. I will advise you to check our website to learn more about pigeon nesting behavior. Since pigeons are very common in urban settings, they are sometimes considered pests due to their high population.

You might already know that pigeon dropping & their nest can be problematic. Dropping, in particular, contains uric acid that can erode cement, paint, and metals. Therefore, you must learn ‘How To Stop Pigeons Nesting.’ However, if your property already hosts a nest & you want to get rid of it as it is causing issues, I will advise you to consult a professional who might advise you to relocate the nest. Indeed, there will be some immediate & long-term consequences of removal of pigeon nest removal. So ensure you learn ‘What Happens If You Destroy a Pigeon Nest.’


Both the species doves & pigeons are popular for their cooking calls which might be distinctive & may vary between species. As per my experience, I have frequently noticed pigeons emitting repetitive but deep coo-coo calls while doves produce softer & melody queen sounds.

These calls attract mates, defend/mark territories, and communicate with their flock’s members. If you are a bird enthusiast, I advise you to visit a nearby park & spend a few hours listening to the harmonious cooing of doves. It will be a captivating experience and make you appreciate the subtle nuances in their vocalization.

Dove vs Pigeon As Pets 

Dove vs. Pigeon As PetsĀ 

As of now, you know that pigeons share a long history of being kept as pets, particularly due to their high intelligence & trainable nature; you will find many examples used for centuries. For instance, homing pigeons, also known as career pigeons, have been used for centuries to carry messages over long distances. Nowadays, it’s tough to witness any pigeon’s incredible navigational ability, but you can if you visit a pigeon racing event.

You will be amazed how these birds could find their way home from hundreds of kilometers away. Also, you should note that pigeons are popular for their remarkable problem-solving skills & cognitive abilities, further supporting their popularity as pets. Therefore, if you are considering keeping pigeons as pets, you will need to research their requirements & preferences to keep them healthy. However, you must refrain from adopting a dove as they are considered very shy and will have difficulty adapting to urban settings, especially being around humans.


Even though both the species, doves & pigeons, may seem similar at first glance & may share many similarities, they are very different species. Indeed, doves are a type of pigeon with a different genus that sets them apart. Some physical differences, behavioral contrasts, and interactions with humans contribute to their unique & essential role in our ecosystem and history.

I have given my best to give you all the information needed to answer the question, ‘Are doves pigeons’ If not, what is the difference between pigeons and doves? If you find this article helpful, I will advise you to share it. Your share will help many people learn ‘Are pigeons doves’ & if not, what are the differences between doves vs. pigeons to help them guess the species confidently between both species. Do check my other helpful guide on the relationship, similarities, & differences between doves & pigeons. See you in the next post, till then, take care & goodbye.

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