How Long Do Pigeons Live?

Well, on average, the lifespan of pigeons is up to 6 years. But, that’s the case if they live outside without any personal care. Pigeons as pets can live up to 9-15 years. This number drops down to 2-4 years in the case of pigeons living in the wild where there hardly feed and protect themselves from predators. So, one can say the more care pigeons get, the longer they live.

How Long Do Pigeons Live

How Long Do Pigeons Live In The Wild

Pigeons in the wild typically have a shorter lifespan compared to pigeons in cities or towns. They can live up to 2-4 years in the wild due to various factors. One reason is the higher risk of predator attacks in the wild. Pigeons have to protect their young ones, who take time to develop the ability to defend themselves.

Additionally, pigeons constantly need to search for food and water to sustain themselves and their offspring. They prefer to stay in areas where these resources are easily accessible. These challenges in the wild limit their lifespan compared to pigeons in urban areas.

How Long Do Pigeons Live As A Pet Or In Captivity

Pigeons can live much longer in captivity compared to the wild. With proper care, they can live for 10-15 years, and sometimes even up to 20 years. In urban populations, pigeons typically live for only 2-5 years. The longer lifespan in captivity is attributed to factors like balanced nutrition, lack of predators, medical care, and a safe living environment that can be provided in a captive setting.

How Long Do Pigeons Live In The City

In the city, pigeons can live for about 2-5 years. They prefer areas with easy access to food, such as near feed mills, parks, bridges, farms, and yards. Pigeons rely on humans for food and cannot survive for more than a few days without it. The main causes of mortality for pigeons in urban areas are stress due to lack of food, lack of water, and concerns for the safety of their young. Other factors include predation by mammals and other birds, attacks by other animals, injuries, and diseases.

Wild vs. Pet Pigeon Lifespan Differences

Wild pigeons typically live only two to three years in the wild, largely due to factors such as stress, difficulty finding food, and susceptibility to illness. In contrast, captive pigeons often have a much longer lifespan of ten to fifteen years with proper care.

This is mainly because pet pigeons live in a stress-free environment with easy access to food, medical care, and protection from predators. While captive birds may still face illnesses, they are usually easier to treat, and with ample access to food, they have a higher chance of recovery compared to their wild counterparts.

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The Pigeon Life Cycle Explained

Similar to many other birds, the pigeon life cycle starts with a few familiar stages. Let’s explore the natural progression of a pigeon’s life from the very start.

1. Egg

Pigeons, like most birds, begin their lives in an egg. The mother pigeon incubates the eggs for around 18 days, usually laying only two at a time due to the size of the chicks.

2. Hatchlings

Once the eggs have been incubated, they hatch into newborn baby pigeons called squabs. These squabs are born with few or no feathers and their eyes closed. After a few days, their eyes open and they begin to grow fluffy feathers, although they cannot fly yet.

3. Pigeon Squabs

Squabs are fed on ‘crop milk’ by both parents and are cared for until they are around four weeks old. At this stage, they are utterly defenseless and unable to do much for themselves. Once they have developed their flight wings, they leave the nest.

4. Adult Pigeon

Adulthood begins when the pigeon has learned to properly fly. They spend some time returning to their original nest before eventually moving on, finding a partner, mating, and building their own nests to lay new eggs.

The pigeon life cycle progresses from eggs to hatchlings, then to squabs being cared for by their parents, and finally into adulthood.

How to Extend the Life of a Pet Pigeon

Pet pigeons are popular due to their intelligence, calm nature, and ability to socialize with other pets. To ensure a long and healthy life for your pet pigeon, it’s important to provide proper care and attention. Here are some tips to help you extend the life of your pet pigeon.

1. Cage Care

Regular cleaning and maintenance of the pigeon’s cage is crucial. It should be cleaned daily and placed in a draft-free area away from direct sunlight. The recommended cage size is at least 2 feet high, 2 feet wide, and 2 feet long, although a larger cage is better.

2. Feeding

Providing the right diet is vital for a pigeon’s health. A combination of commercial bird feed and chopped fresh fruits and vegetables is the best way to ensure they get all the necessary vitamins and minerals.

3. Exercise

Regular exercise is important for a pet pigeon’s wellbeing. Allowing them to fly outside of the cage on a regular basis is essential, especially if they are kept indoors.

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4. Medication

Vaccinating pigeons for common illnesses like paramyxovirus (PMV) and Paratyphoid (Salmonella) can help prevent potential health issues. If your bird shows signs of illness, consulting a veterinarian is crucial for their well-being.

By following these tips for proper cage care, feeding, medication, and exercise, you can help extend the life of your pet pigeon and ensure its overall health and happiness.

Factors Influencing Pigeon Longevity

The lifespan of a pigeon is influenced by various factors, including natural predators, human interaction, diseases and health issues, and diet.

1. Natural Predators

Pigeons face a range of predators such as carnivorous mammals, birds of prey, reptiles, and even fish. Predators feed on pigeons at all stages of their lifecycle, putting them at risk of being caught, especially if they are old, injured, or sick.

2. Human Interaction

While some pigeon species have benefited from urban development, competition between birds, pollution, and other dangers in urban areas can limit their lifespan. Additionally, diseases and parasites can also affect pigeons.

3. Diseases and Health Issues

Pigeons are susceptible to various diseases and parasites like mite infestation, paramyxovirus, paratyphoid, and canker, which can significantly reduce their lifespan.

4. Diet

A poor diet can impact a pigeon’s lifespan, leading to obesity, starvation, or vulnerability to infections. Meeting dietary requirements for carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, vitamins, and minerals is crucial for ensuring their longevity.

A pigeon’s longevity is influenced by natural predators, human interaction, diseases and health issues, and diet. By understanding and addressing these factors, efforts can be made to improve the lifespan of pigeons.

Comparing Lifespans: Pigeons vs Other Birds

Pigeons have a similar lifespan to most small and medium-sized birds, with a maximum recorded lifespan of around 15 years. This puts them in the same category as small songbirds, which have a maximum recorded lifespan of three years. However, pigeons tend to outlive similar-sized gamebirds like Quails and Bobwhites.

On the other hand, they fall well short of the average Gull lifespan, which can reach up to 40 years. Therefore, while pigeons may not have the extraordinary longevity of large seabirds like Albatrosses and large psittacines, they do have a competitive lifespan compared to other birds of similar size.

Where Do Pigeon Go After Death?

When pigeons die, their bodies are often eaten by cats. Cats love to feed on injured or dead pigeons, so they quickly disappear the dead body before humans can see them. This is true in cities where there is a network of cats that reside among public places. In the wild, pigeons become the meal of falcons, sparrow hawks, and other predators. Their bodies do not mysteriously vanish or haunt anyone.

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Why Pigeons Tend To Live Longer In Captivity?

Pigeons tend to live longer in captivity due to several factors. One reason is that they receive balanced nutrition and regular veterinary care, which helps to keep them healthy. Additionally, they are provided with a safe living environment, free from predators and other dangers they may encounter in the wild. Pigeons are also known for their resilience and adaptability, which allows them to thrive in different environments. This resilience likely contributes to their longevity in captivity.

How Can I Tell The Age Of A Pigeon?

It is difficult to determine the age of an adult pigeon just by looking at it or examining it. The best way to keep track of the ages of captive birds is to band them and maintain clear records of all your birds.

Can A Pigeon Live For Twenty Years?

Yes, some pigeons can live for up to twenty years in captivity. However, this requires proper care in terms of health, housing, diet, and sanitation. In the wild, pigeons rarely reach such long lifespans.

Are City Pigeons And Countryside Pigeons Different In Terms Of Lifespan?

No, city pigeons and countryside pigeons have similar lifespans. They face similar risks such as disease, food shortages, extreme weather, and predators in both environments, which can shorten their lives.

What Can I Do To Create A Safe And Stimulating Environment For My Captive Pigeon?

Providing a spacious and enriching environment with opportunities for natural behaviors like flying, nesting, and foraging can contribute to a longer and healthier life for pet pigeons. Regular mental and physical stimulation can also help prevent boredom and related behavioral issues.

Final Thoughts!

Despite all these facts, some consider them as pets, and for some people; it is a sign of purity. Egyptians used them as messengers and for others, they are the headache. No matters what, we have to accept they have made space in our lives and in our cities. They have also gained entry into our houses and they only demand love and care. And if you will not love and care for them, they will soon die and their ghosts will terrify you in your dreams!

Kathy Gonzales

I'm an author of I have kept pigeons as pets for over 20 years and have written several articles. Here in this blog, I cover topics such as how to care for pigeons, what to feed them, and how to keep them healthy.