Pigeons are considered one of the most intelligent birds on the planet, with pigeons being able to undertake jobs previously thought to be the sole preserve of humans and primates. Pigeons have been domesticated for countries, primarily for food production. However, pigeon breeds have also been developed for racing, carrying massages, exhibition, and entertainment. Enthusiasts also keep pigeons for the enjoyment of flying or Sporting competitions.
Most Common Pigeon Breeds
Pigeons are representative of the bird family Columbidae. Doves tend to be smaller birds, and pigeon’s larger ones. The Rock dove, which is generally thought to be the ancestor of domesticated pigeons, was probably domesticated around 10 thousand years ago. They are highly productive and more disease resistant. There are many varieties of pigeons. The most commonly found pigeons are Gola, Domestic Pigeon, Giribug, Jalali, Loton, Oriental Frills/Frillback, Shirajee, and Kaka.
1. Pigeon Breeds: French Bagdad
This breed of pigeon is entire of French development, e.g., Great wattled Bagdads, Small Bagdads, Steinheimer Bagdad, Creech Bagdads, Ostrava Bagdad, Syrian Bagdad. They are large and robust in all respects and fiery outward appearance, reflecting their strength and spirit. Their heads are very narrow with a level skull. The length of the beak should be one and a half inches.
2. Barbs Pigeon
The Barb, also called the English Barb, is a breed of fancy pigeon developed over many years of selective breeding. This short-faced pigeon originated in Europe around four hundred years ago. It is most notable for the heavy wattling above the beak and around the eyes, which is a ‘frog-like’ appearance. Barbs are found in black, red, dun, yellow, and white.
3. Carriers Pigeon
A carrier pigeon is a homing bird that is used to carry messages. Most homing or racing type varieties are used to carry messages. Carrier pigeons that are the basic Racing Homer were used to carry messages in World War 1 and World War 2. They should not be confused with English carriers, which were once used many ago to carry messages but are now bred primarily for their ‘carriage’ and other show qualities.
4. Pigeon Breeds: Cumulets
Cumulus is the highflier of France, and this English name is presumably derived from the Latin word Cumulus, the sizeable white summer cloud. The birds flying create the impression of the white, fleecy cumulus cloud. Examples of this breed are Show Cumulet, Flying Cumulet.
5. Czechoslovakian Pigeons
The breeds which are apparently with authenticity are Prague Tumbler, Rakovnik Roller, Brunner Pouter, Moravian Saddle Pouter, Czechsaddle pouter, Swing Pouter, etc. The Prachen Kanik is bred in black, blue, red, yellow, dun, brown, and khaki.
6. Damascenes, Mahomet’s Pigeon Breed
The Damascene is an ancient breed of Damascus, Syria, and there are indications that the species might have been originated in either Turkey or Persia. Some 200 years later, in AD Treatise of Domestic pigeons, it is suggested that they were then called Mahomets because of their association with the founder of Islam, Prophet Muhammad.
7. Dewlaps Pigeon
There are several color varieties: Blue-barred, Black, and other variations such as a whitetail. These varieties are-
- Alolaq means black and white.
- The Msawwad, meaning’ blackened,’ is a self-black bird, the black being of excellent color.
- The Mawardi meaning rose water, with unusual water.
- The Mattel meaning ‘kinky’ or ‘curly’ includes three varieties, and the color varieties are Mfattel ( self white ), Abrush ( meaning spotted or speckled and Ash’ari meaning ‘hairy’ or ‘shaggy’).
- The Reehani means ‘pertaining to the flower of basil.’
8. Pigeon Breeds: Dragoons
The Dragon-like Carrier pigeons are entirely an English breed created in the last 200 years, e.g., blue Dragoon. The Dragoon is a fancy type pigeon developed over many years of selective breeding. It was one of the species used in the development of the racing Homer.
9. Duchess Pigeons
The ‘Duchess’ appears to be a strictly American name for a breed of continental Mondain. The species is of the right Mondrian size and has heavily muffed tarsi and feet. Commencing about the year 1010, the Duchess gradually disappeared due to the leg’s heavy feathering and is rare in this country today.
10. Fantail Pigeon: Most Beautiful Pigeon Breed
The Fantail is an ancient breed that many to have come originally from India, China, or Spain, and indeed, Fantails are common in India. It has probably had less outcrossing than any other breed and is described as the broad-tailed shaker and states they are called by some ‘fantails.’ The Fantail is a popular type of fancy pigeon, and it is characterized by a fan-shaped tail composed of 30 to 40 feathers.
11. Pigeon Breeds: Flights
The American Domestic Flight is an American creation, principally, and almost exclusively bred in New York. The Modern Show Flight is also created in New York.
12. Florentines Pigeons
The Florentine is a member of the hen of the fowl pigeon family, and the bred is of Italian origin, being named after the city of Florence in Italy. Florentine, a type of domestic fancy pigeon, somewhat resembling the Modena.
13. Pigeon Breeds: Frillbacks
The Frillbacks is an ancient breed, believed to have originated somewhere in Asia Minor. The Frillbacks is a breed of fancy pigeon developed over many years of selective breeding. The species is known for the frill or curls on the wing shield feathers. The feather curl should also be present at the ends of the foot feathers or muffs.
14. Golas or Golah Pigeon Breed
The Gola is a native of India, including Bangladesh. The pigeons, which are commonly found throughout rural Bangladesh, all are Gola pigeons. The Gola was once a wild pigeon in the Indo-Bangladesh subcontinent and occurred in large numbers. The variety is a medium-sized bird weighing at best 14 ounces, and considerable variation in size exists even in the same lofts.
15. Pigeon Breed: Goolee
The Goolee is another Indian breed that seems to have been imported to continental Europe and Great Britain. The Goolee is somewhat like a Gola in size and station, has a relatively short beak, wings carried below the tail, and clean legs. It shows a well-arched neck and high-carried head, and it is principally a white bird with colored markings.
16. Giribuz or Tumblers or Highfliers Pigeons
Giribug is one of the oldest of the known varieties of pigeons in the Indo-Bangladesh subcontinent. Giribug is slightly larger than the dove, short beak, a small head without the comb, and usually clean legged. They are small and of diverse colors. They have strange motions, turning themselves backward over their heads, and show like footballs in the air. Tumblers are in black, blues, etc., with a white head, white flights, and a whitetail.
17. Pigeon Breeds: Helmets
Helmet pigeons have been found since the early 15th century and appear to have developed in Germany from the later 19th to early 20th century. As we know it today, the Helmet was refined in the USA in the latter half of the 20th century. It is a medium to small, jaunty, tumbler-like pigeon with a peppy, active personality.
18. Homers Pigeon
Several varieties of Homer pigeons and some important varieties are Exhibition Homers, Genuine Homers, giant Homer, Racing Homers. Racing Homers are Belgian Racing Homers, English Homing birds, show homers, German Beauty Homers, Squabbing Homers. The birds are very hardy, rapid production, good feeders.
19. Pigeon Breeds: Hungarians
The Hungarian is a product of the Germanic countries, and German authors describe it quite comprehensively. Today, they are a bird of striking appearance, and it is erect in the station, hard and close to the feather, and stands relatively high on its legs. It is always plain-headed and clean-legged; the tarsi and eye ceres are a deep red.
20. Ice Pigeons
The breed is named and famous for its ice blue color. It has first developed in the region from eastern Germany to western Poland, with early breeding in Saxony and Silesia. The Ice pigeon has several varieties, differing in the type and color of their wing pattern. All are otherwise un-patterned, except for a wide black tail-end band; the ends of the rectrices are white.
21. Pigeon Breeds: Jacobins
The Jacobin is a variety of fancy pigeon developed over many years of selective breeding. The species is known for its feathered hood over its head. It is one of the old breeds, and it is a domestic pigeon. Schachtzabel (1910) gives its homeland as India, and Aldrovandi (1603) speaks of Jacobins as Cyprus pigeon. Jacobins are bred in blacks, blues with black bars, reds, yellows, whites, silvers.
22. Jalali Pigeon
It appears from history that Hazrat Shajalal (R:) came to this country with pigeons, and according to his name, this pigeon is called Jalali pigeon. The pigeons are medium-sized, mostly gray with black-striped wings. Their heads are comb-less and clean-legged. They like to live independently and widely distributed throughout the world.
23. Kings Pigeon Breeds
The Kings is a dual-purpose breed (squab and exhibition) that originated in the United States. There are different varieties of King pigeons like White King, Silver King, Red King, Blue King, Yellow King, Black King, Dun King, etc. This variety has no crest on the head and no plumage on the legs.
24. Lebanon Pigeon
The Lebanon pigeon is a scarce Asiatic breed that is thought to be native of Syria. It is bred in red, yellow, blue, and black, often with white bars or spangles. Lebanon appears to be a colored pigeon having white wing bars and alternative colored and white flights and tail feathers.
25. Pigeon Breeds: Magpies
The original Magpie was one of the ancient tumbler varieties of pigeon coming via Germany from Denmark about 1900. It is a breed of sporting pigeon developed over many years of selective breeding. In England, the Magpie was often called the ‘Queen of the pigeons.’ The head, neck, breast, back, saddle, and tail is black with an iridescent metallic sheen. The most sought-after Magpies are often the Blacks, but they appear in other colors, including yellow, blue, dun, and silver.
26. Maltese Pigeons
The Maltese Pigeon is a member of the hen or four pigeon groups, first developed in Australia and Southern Germany. The bird should be considered along with a short hard, compact body and not so heavy as to mar the elegance of its figure nor its grace. It should carry its head high and when driving through its head backward almost to its tail.
27. Pigeon Breeds: Martham’s
The Martham is a substantial or self-colored variety of Magpie. They have been produced in Black, reds, yellows, creams, duns, and whites, all self-colored. The Gazzi pied or ‘Magpies’ variety has a white body with the head, a portion of the wings, throat, and the tail colored after the Florentine fashion.
28. Modenas Pigeon
The Modena is of Italian origin, deriving its name from Modena’s city in which it was first bred and has been bred for centuries. This race was raised in Modena’s town not for show or squab-raising purposes but for a flying sport called Triganieri. A good Modena is a ‘well-rounded’ or ‘boat-shaped’ bird.
29. Pigeon Breeds: Mondain
Mondain is Italian and French in origin. The French Mondain is a variety of fancy pigeon developed over many years of selective breeding. It was initially developed in France as a utility pigeon. French Mondain can be divided into two varieties- clean-legged and feathered-legged.
30. Monks Pigeons
The Monk, a German Toy, occurs both muffled and cleaned-legged. Saxon monk and South German Monk is a breed of fancy pigeon. Monk pigeons are found in five colors, including Blue, Black, Red, Yellow, and Silver with White bars or Spangles. The Monk takes its name from its white head, and it has short-legged and low and squatty in station, plain-headed, though some with crests do occur.
31. Nicobar Pigeon
The Nicobar pigeon is a pigeon found on Nicobar Island, the only living member of the genus Caloenas. It is a large, grey head, greed, and copper hackles towards the breast. The breast and reminders are dark greys. The tail is short and white, but most plumage is metallic green.
32. Pigeon Breeds: Nuns
The Nun is a breed of showing pigeon developed over many decades of selective breeding, was also named as the Dutch Shell Pigeon in continental Europe. It is one of the oldest breeds and was originally a flying tumbler before being developed for the exhibition. They have mostly white bodies, and the beak should be straight but stout and the eyes a pearly white.
33. Oriental Frills Pigeons
It is originally a Turkish pigeon breed specially bred for the Ottoman Sultans in the Manisa Palac, Turkey. The variety is divided into several colors and marking variations, with Blondinettes and Satinettes being the most common. Some are clean-legged, but the majority of the types are grouse-muffed both as to tarsi and feet.
34. Pigeon Breeds: Polish Lynx
The Polish Lynx was initially being produced in Poland, which is recognized as utility pigeons. The original Lynx in Poland was said to have been an enormous field pigeon, dark blue with white being and bars, both bareheaded and shell and peak-crested. They are well developed plain headed, wide between eyes, and the beak is dark in color, medium length.
35. Portuguese Pigeons
Portugal’s native breeds have four distinctive breeds: Mariola, Mariolinha, Cambalhota, and Criador. All birds with colored plumage have a definite pied arrangement of markings. It is characterized by the tallest pigeon, correctness of station, and by its slanders of girth and smallness of wait.
36. Victoria Crown Pigeon
The Victoria crown pigeon is a large, bluish-grey with elegant blue lace-like crests, maroon breast, and red iris. The name commemorates the British monarch, Queen Victoria, UK, important for plumages and meat.
37. Pigeon Breeds: Toys (German Toys)
Breeds of pigeons known both in the UK and USA as “German Toys” are German in their genesis. Among the German Toys are Archangels (Starlings), Ice pigeons, Latz or Breast pigeons, Manks, Moulters, priests, and Shields.
38. Starlings Pigeons
The Starlings pigeon have been in existence for many years and originated in Thuringia and South Germany. The breed has taken its name from the similarity of its breast markings to that of the Staling. Some of the varieties are plain-headed, some shell-crested, and it has divided into 12 color varieties.
39. Pigeon Breeds: Strasser
The Strasser is a plain-headed, clean-legged race, and the head, the neck, the wings, and the tail are colored as in the Gazzi. Apart from exhibitions at pigeon shows, the breed is also used for utility purposes for producing squabs as food. Strasser is bred in many color varieties; blue, black, white-barred, blue-checkered, and blue barless.
40. Smerle Pigeon
The Smerle is a Belgian creation of the early 1800s which originated in the province of Liege. It is believed to have been produced from the cross of the owl, the Turbit, and the Cumulet. The bird has an arched head, a capacious skull, very firm flight feathers of great breadth, and a deep and well-muscled breast bone.
41. Biggest Pigeon Breeds: Giant Runt
The most prominent or largest breed of the pigeon is the giant runt. It is one of the pigeon’s oldest species, and the American Runt of today is a splendid large bird, much more demanding and tighter of a feather than the continental and English Runts, with a magnificent large head and full neck. It is always plain-headed and clean-legged.
42. Pink Pigeon: Rarest Pigeon Breeds
The rarest pigeon is the Pink Pigeon. They nearly became extinct in the 1990s and are still now scarce birds. The bird (Nesoenas mayeri) is a species of pigeon in the family Columbidae endemic to Mauritius. An adult bird is about 36-38 centimeters from beak to tail and 350 grams in weight.
43. Smallest Pigeon Breeds: Valencian Figura
The Valencian Figurita originated in Valencia, Spain hundred years ago, and it is the smallest breed (4-6 ounces), and it is a fancy pigeon breed. They are famous for their small size, frilled chest feathers, angular-shaped head, and perky disposition.
44. Pigeon Breeds: Coral Eyes
The breed, Coral eyes is common in Bengal, India, but it is practically unknown elsewhere. There are two separate breeds of the coral look, one a short barb-like bird, usually with black bars, the other the Indian Coral eye, and a more upright carriage.
45. Siamese pigeons
Siamese white pigeons are quite popular as a pet because of their dazzling looks. They almost look similar to white doves of peace because of the same white colored body. They are also admired because of their beautiful voice, and they are found throughout the world. The birds live up to 10 years if provided with proper care and attention.
Concluding Remarks on Pigeon Breeds
Many people love to own pigeons as a pet. Pigeons can survive for more than 30 years if they are provided proper care and attention. Pigeons maintain the ecological balance by destroying insects, and their droppings are used as fertilizer for vegetable gardening, and feathers are used as raw materials in the industries.