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

When distinguishing between the elegant ‘Turtle Doves’ & ubiquitous ‘Pigeons,’ people often get confused. If you are also wondering, ‘Are Turtle Doves Pigeons?’, this article is for you. In this article, we will quickly examine the five key differences between Turtle Doves vs. pigeons that set them apart.

Therefore if you are also keen on learning the difference between turtle dove vs. pigeon, read this article thoroughly & explore the fascinating question of whether turtle doves are indeed pigeons. Undoubtedly, both avian creatures are famous for their cooing calls & graceful flights, making them a common sight in various environments, from urban landscapes to rural countryside.

Therefore, learning the differences between both species will further help you tell both creatures apart and learn some intriguing facts. Hence, without wasting more time, let’s quickly look at the five key differences between the turtle dove and the pigeon.

Are Turtle Doves Pigeons?

Turtle Dove Vs Pigeon, Are Turtle Doves Pigeons?

No, the turtle doves are not pigeons. Even though both species belong to the same family, they are distinct species with noticeable differences in appearance, vocalization, habitat preferences, & breeding behavior. Pigeons are said to be the least concerned species, whereas turtle doves are facing a sudden decline in their population.

Turtle Dove Vs Pigeon: 5 Key Differences

Turtle Dove Vs Pigeon: Size & Appearance

We have shared many other guides on Pigeon Vs Dove for you to check out. One such species of dove that often confuses bird enthusiasts in terms of appearance is said to be a turtle dove. When you closely examine both the creatures’ appearance & size, you will be able to spot a few noticeable differences.

Even though both share many similarities & belong to the same family Columbidae, turtle doves will appear smaller in size & more delicate in build compared to the pigeon. On average, an adult turtle dove is likely to measure around 25 CM in length, weighing approximately 120 grams. On the other hand, pigeons are likely to be larger & heavier than turtle doves, with an average length of 30 cm & a weight of 300-400 grams approximately, triple of turtle doves.

Turtle Dove Vs Pigeon: Habitat & Range

If you pay attention to the geographical ranges & the habitat preferences of both these creatures, you will find some intriguing insights. Both species tend to have distinct preferences when it comes to their habitat & geographical ranges. Generally, turtle doves are mostly found in Woodlands, farmland, & scrublands, where they prefer open spaces with scattered trees for nesting purposes.

Also, you should note that these dove species are known to undertake impressive migratory journeys, flying across continents during their annual migration. Pigeons, on the other hand, are said to be very adaptable & can easily be spotted in urban locations. Yes, pigeons have been closely associated with urban environments where they thrive in cities making use of buildings & bridges for nesting purposes.

Their nest can sometimes be a problem & if you want to know why, consider reading my recent articles on ‘Why Are Pigeon Nests So Bad.’ Also, pigeon droppings can contain acids known to corrode metal, cement, and paint. Hence make sure you also pay attention to learning ‘How To Stop Pigeons Nesting‘ & if there is already, you might want to consider learning ‘How to Get Rid of Pigeon Nests‘.

But, before doing it, I will advise you to research to learn further ‘What Happens If You Destroy a Pigeon Nest.’ All these topics have been covered in depth on this website on pigeon nesting behavior. Back to the point, pigeons are almost found on every continent except Antarctica. We can say that pigeons have established a significant population in cities worldwide. 

Turtle Dove Vs Pigeon: Vocalizations & Calls

Even though both are known for their vocalization, some notable aspects of their identity exist. If you pay attention to the cooing calls of both turtle dove & pigeon, you will find some distinctive qualities in their vocalization. Let’s first look at the turtle dove sound to help you learn how to tell both species apart using vocalization. Turtle doves produce soft melodies that are often described as soothing and romantic.

Also, you should note that their call has always been associated with love & you can find their references in many poetries & literature inspired by it for centuries. On the other hand, if we look at the pigeon calls to carry a wider repertoire of vocalization. Pigeons are known to coo, gurgle & even make clapping sounds with their wings to communicate with their mates or mark territory via subtle body language included.

During nesting season, pigeons are known to perform courtship rituals where they will try to communicate with frequent vocalization & subtle body language like head bobbing & tail fanning to impress the female or to convey other messages. To know more about the pigeon nesting season, I will advise you to learn from my recent article on ‘When Do Pigeons Nest‘ & ‘How Do Pigeons Nest.

Turtle Dove Vs Pigeon: Breeding Behavior

Fascinatingly, the breeding behavior of both species can help you a lot in distinguishing the two species. Pigeon & turtle doves are known to display distinct rituals & habits when it comes to breeding behavior. Talking about turtle doves, they are said to be monogamous Birds who will form long-term pair bonds. Regarding courtship, you will notice the male turtle dove performing elaborate displays to attract females, showcasing their beautiful plumage and calling with enthusiasm. Once they’re successfully paired, the male & female will collaborate to build a nest for their offspring.

On the other hand, if we pay attention to the breeding behavior of pigeons, we will find them engaging in communal nesting Behavior. Pigeons are popular for gathering in large flocks, especially in urban locations & environments where they share nesting sites. It’s not uncommon to spot pigeons building their nest using twigs & other materials in sheltered areas on buildings & ledgers of urban environments.

Turtle Dove Vs Pigeon: Conservation Status

Lastly, I will advise you to also pay attention to both species’ conservation status, which has always been a topic of concern for many avian enthusiasts & conversationalists alike, especially people like me. If you have ever paid attention to the history & cultural significance of turtle doves, you will find them popular for their symbolism of love & devotion.

Plus, turtle doves are less common in urban settings due to their declining population, where lots of factors contribute & influence. Habitat loss due to agriculture intensification and hunting during their migratory journey contributes to this decline.

On the other hand, pigeons have managed to be classified as a least concern species by the international union for Conservation of Nature. You can witness the pigeon’s adaptability to urban environment & widespread presence that has already contributed to their stable population globally.

How to Identify Turtle Doves & Pigeons

How to Identify Turtle Doves & Pigeons

If you are a bird watcher like me or a nature enthusiast, it’s important that you accurately identify any bird species, especially pigeon & turtle dove, for a rewarding experience. Even though I have shared all the information on the difference between pigeon & turtle doves, below, I’m mentioning a few tips to help you distinguish between the two more easily. Below I have mentioned only the key point that you need to pay attention to identify pigeons or turtle doves.

  1. Size & Shape: At the first class, it can be tough to guess the overall size & build of any species, but if you notice the bird being generally smaller than common pigeons, you are likely to look at doves. In addition, turtle doves are known for their slender & smaller body compared to pigeons.
  2. Color & Plumage: As discussed earlier, turtle doves are known to carry a subtle appearance, whereas pigeons may come in varieties of colors & patterns.
  3. Habitat: Living in an urban city makes you more likely to spot pigeons than doves. Turtle doves usually inhabit Woodlands & farmlands with open spaces with abundant trees. On the other hand, pigeons have adapted quite well across urban environments globally.
  4. Vocalizations: As mentioned earlier, pigeons have a more varied vocal repertoire than turtle doves. Therefore, if you hear soft & melody goose, you will likely be surrounded by turtle doves.
  5. Social Behavior: if you are witnessing avian creatures in pairs, especially during the breeding season, there is a huge possibility that you are looking at a turtle dove. Pigeons are popular for gathering in larger flocks during the breeding season.


Even though pigeon & turtle doves share some similarities, they’re completely distinct species with unique characteristics that set them apart. I have done my best to give you a proper understanding of their differences, which enriches our knowledge of the avian world and highlights the importance of conservation efforts to protect these remarkable Birds.

If you find this article helpful, where I have answered the question ‘Are turtle doves pigeons?’ and shared five major differences between turtle doves vs. pigeons, consider sharing it. Your share will help people learn how to tell both species apart and make them realize the importance of taking a moment to appreciate the diverse & fascinating world of birds around us.

I hope I have given you all the information you need on the question ‘Are turtle doves pigeons’ or the difference between turtle doves vs pigeons? Check my other helpful guides on this website on the relationship similarities & differences between Pigeon Vs Dove. See you in the next post, till then, take care & goodbye.

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