Rock Dove Fact Sheet

Common Name:

Rock Dove, Pigeon

Scientific Name:

Columba livia

Wild Status:

Least Concern


Trees, bushes


Various countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America



Life Span:

3-6 years


2ft long

Cool Facts:

  • Rock doves are often simply called pigeons
  • All domestic pigeons are descendants of common rock doves found in the wild
  • Wild rock doves have been a source of food for thousands of years
  • While pigeons can make good pets, they are often kept for their usefulness rather than companionship
  • Their greatest contribution to humans is sending messages from hundreds of miles away before telephones or the internet were available
  • Scientists aren't quite sure how pigeons are able to return home so reliably. There have been many hypothesis
  • Pigeons are one of the most studied and researched animals
  • Pigeons have been found to be more intelligent that previously thought and can even discern different types of art


Any American that has spent time outdoors is likely very familiar with the common pigeon. It is difficult to tell whether these birds that live on our streets, parks, trees, power lines, roofs, bushes, and nature trails are wild rock doves, domesticated pigeons, feral pigeons, or some combination of all three. Pigeons are so widespread and common in the United States, it's hard to believe they're not native or natural. These man made species of bird originates from the old world, specifically the Asian continent. Its long history with humans includes not only domestication for food, but as important members of various armies. Their keen instincts for navigation help them find their way home from hundreds of miles away, a feat that scientists still don't fully understand. In addition to being useful, pigeons are considered by some to be beautiful animals and selective breeding has led to many species of fancy pigeons, including the Jacobin Pigeons found at Critter Squad.

Taxonomic Breakdown:

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Aves Order: Columbiformes Family: Columbidae Genus: Columba Species: C. livia

Conservation & Helping:

Pigeons inhabit an extremely wide range on the planet and have numbers higher than most other bird species. They are not considered to be in any danger at the moment.

For Teachers and Educators


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