Baby Pigeons: Everything You Need to Know

Baby pigeon looking sideways

Baby pigeons are a rare sight in urban environments, leading many bird enthusiasts to wonder why they are seldom seen.

Pigeons have adapted remarkably well and have become familiar in cities. But despite their ubiquitous presence, the absence of baby pigeons remains a curiosity for many.

Are you curious about baby pigeons? Then, keep reading this article to learn more about them!

Why Do We Hardly Ever See Baby Pigeons?

Two newborn pigeons side by side

The primary reason why we rarely see baby pigeons is that they spend a significant portion of their early lives in the nest.

Pigeons are cavity nesters, meaning they build their nests in concealed locations such as ledges, rooftops, or other sheltered areas.

These nests provide a safe haven for pigeons to lay their eggs and rear the young away from potential predators.

During the first few weeks of their lives, baby pigeons remain in the nest, growing rapidly and developing feathers.

Their parents feed them a nutritious diet of crop milk, also called “pigeon milk.” This is a special secretion produced by their crop, which is a pouch-like structure in their esophagus.

As baby pigeons grow and gain strength, they gradually become more mobile and begin to explore the area around the nest.

However, they cannot fly yet and rely on short flights within their immediate surroundings. During this phase, the parents continue to care for and feed them until they become independent enough to fledge.

Fledgling is the process by which young birds develop their flight feathers and leave the nest. At this stage, the young pigeons have developed most of their adult plumage and are capable of sustained flight.

What Does a Baby Pigeon Look Like?

Two baby piegons on the palm of a hand

A baby pigeon has either dark or pink skin. It is nearly hairless, except for small areas of yellow fuzz that will later transform into feathers.

I was able to observe the appearance of these small pigeons on my uncle’s farm, where he breeds them.

I can describe these babies as having long, flat pink beaks, fleshy nose wattles, wing areas devoid of feathers, and relatively large gray feet compared to their bodies.

It was also noticeable that their eyes remained closed and only began to open around the age of five days. Further, baby pigeons, unlike most garden birds, do not leave the nest until approximately six weeks after hatching.

This time frame is about twice as long as that of typical garden birds. By this stage, they have developed feathers and have nearly reached the size of adult birds.

This similarity in size makes it challenging to distinguish baby pigeons from a bustling group of squabbling birds.

But there are a few distinct indicators to spot them. For example, their heads are comparatively smaller.

In addition, the fleshy covering at the base of their upper beak, called the cere, appears dull pinky-gray instead of white.

Baby Pigeon Pictures and Videos

To provide a clearer visual representation, here are some images showcasing baby pigeons:

Two baby pigeons sleeping
Baby pigeon being held
Baby pigeon sitting under the sun

Meanwhile, check out this video to see a baby pigeon growing:

Baby Pigeons Growing | Four Weeks Day by Day

What Is a Baby Pigeon Called?

Baby pigeons are referred to as “squabs” until they reach the age of four weeks. During this period, they undergo significant growth and development before transitioning into the next stage of their life.

At around four weeks old, squabs are prepared to embark on their flight. This marks a significant milestone in their development.

By this stage, they have undergone substantial growth and will have reached a size comparable to that of a fully-grown pigeon.

Their wings are strong enough to support them in flight, enabling them to explore their surroundings and become more independent.

How Big Is a Baby Pigeon?

Two baby pigeons held by hands

Pigeon babies typically measure approximately five centimeters (2 inches) in length right after they emerge from their eggs. They are tiny and delicate during this early stage of their lives.

However, the size of baby pigeons may vary slightly depending on the specific pigeon species. But five centimeters is a commonly observed length across different varieties.

During the first few weeks of their lives, pigeon babies experience rapid growth and development. They quickly start to gain weight and increase in size as their bodies mature.

From their initial tiny size of around five centimeters to becoming independent birds, young pigeons undergo a remarkable transformation, reflecting the wonders of nature’s life cycle.

How Much Do Baby Pigeons Weigh?

When it comes to the weight of baby pigeons, the average is around 15 grams. However, this figure can vary significantly depending on factors such as the species and subspecies of the Pigeon.

Some pigeon babies may weigh slightly less than 15 grams, while others may exceed this average weight.

This variation is not only due to their species but is also influenced by other factors. The parents’ genetics play a role, as different lineages may have varying sizes and weights.

Additionally, environmental conditions and the availability of food sources during the nesting period can impact the weight of the hatchlings.

How Quickly Do Baby Pigeons Grow?

Two baby pigeons sitting side by side

The growth rate of baby pigeons is truly remarkable, as they undergo rapid development in a relatively short period.

The process typically takes less than four weeks, from when they hatch from their eggs to when they take flight and leave the nest.

As the days pass, pigeon babies grow in size and strength. They undergo significant changes in their bodies, including the growth of flight feathers and the strengthening of their wings.

Their coordination and balance improve as they exercise and practice flapping their wings, preparing for the momentous event of taking flight.

Once these young pigeons venture into the world, they do not return to the nest again. Leaving the nest allows them to learn crucial survival skills, such as foraging for food and navigating their environment.

What Do Baby Pigeons Eat?

Baby pigeons receive special care and nourishment through regurgitation from male and female adult pigeons. The parents produce crop milk, which is regurgitated and fed to the hatchlings.

This nutrient-rich crop milk is provided to them within two hours of their hatching. This feeding routine also continues for the initial four days of their lives.

The crop milk serves as the baby pigeons’ primary nutrition source during these crucial first four days. It contains essential proteins, fats, and vital nutrients supporting early growth and development.

After the initial four days, the feeding regimen of the baby pigeons undergoes a transition. While they still receive crop milk, they also consume seeds alongside it.

This marks the beginning of their gradual transition to a solid diet. The combination of crop milk and seeds provides a balanced nutritional intake, allowing the baby pigeons to continue their growth.

How Do Pigeons Feed Their Babies?

Mother pigeon feeding its baby

The pigeon, along with flamingos and male emperor penguins, is among the three bird species that produce “milk” to nourish their offspring.

In pigeons, milk production begins in the parent birds’ crop approximately two days before the eggs hatch.

During lactation, the pigeons’ crop forms a curd-like substance by utilizing fat-filled cells, which are subsequently regurgitated to nourish the squab.

Where Do Pigeons Build Their Nests?

Male pigeons typically select the location of their nest. Once settled, they remain in that spot, emitting gentle cooing sounds to attract a mate.

These nest sites are typically found in small crevices, gaps, or ledges on natural cliffs or human-built structures, often situated beneath eaves or an overhang.

Pigeons can also choose to nest in stairwells, rooms of abandoned buildings, or even rain gutters.

While constructing the nest, the female pigeon sits on it, gradually forming a delicate platform using straw, stems, and sticks. The male pigeon diligently brings these materials one by one, delivering them to the female.

Pigeons exhibit nest reuse behavior. Thus, they utilize their nests multiple times without removing the nestling’s feces, as many other bird species do.

What Do Pigeon Eggs Look Like?

Two pigeon eggs

Pigeon eggs are generally small to medium-sized and have an oval shape. They are usually white or cream-colored, with a smooth and slightly glossy surface.

The exact appearance of pigeon eggs may vary depending on the species of pigeon, but they typically measure around 2 to 3 centimeters in length.

When freshly laid, pigeon eggs have a clean and pristine appearance. Over time, the eggs may develop small stains or marks due to the nesting materials or the parent pigeons’ feet.

The eggs are fragile and delicate, with a thin shell that allows the exchange of gasses necessary for the developing embryo.

How Many Eggs Do Pigeons Lay?

Pigeons, like many other birds, are known for their ability to lay eggs. However, the number of eggs a pigeon lays can vary depending on various factors, including the pigeon’s breed, age, and environmental conditions.

On average, pigeons typically lay one to two eggs per clutch. Clutch refers to the group of eggs laid by a bird during a single nesting period. Note that not all eggs laid by pigeons are fertile and capable of hatching.

Pigeons tend to lay eggs in the spring and summer months when the weather is warmer and food sources are more abundant.

Once the eggs are laid, the male and female pigeons take turns incubating them, sharing the responsibility of sitting on them in a roosting position. This keeps the eggs warm until they hatch. 

How Long Does It Take Pigeon Eggs to Hatch?

Newly hatched baby pigeons

On average, pigeon eggs take approximately 18 days to hatch. The incubation period begins once the female pigeon lays her eggs.

The female pigeon takes on the primary responsibility of incubating the eggs, while the male Pigeon assists by sharing incubation duties during the day.

During incubation, the female pigeon will sit on the eggs to provide warmth and regulate the temperature. The ideal temperature for pigeon eggs to develop properly is around 99 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

The female pigeon will also rotate the eggs periodically to ensure even heat distribution and prevent the embryos from sticking to the shell.

Throughout the incubation process, the female pigeon may take brief breaks to feed, drink, and stretch her wings. During these intervals, the male pigeon takes over incubation duties. 

When Do Pigeons Lay Eggs?

In most regions, pigeons breed during the spring and summer months. This period provides favorable conditions for egg incubation and the subsequent rearing of chicks.

The exact timing may vary slightly depending on local climate and environmental factors, but it is common for pigeons to begin laying eggs in the spring.

The breeding season for pigeons usually starts in March or July. During this time, male pigeons engage in courtship displays to attract a mate. Once a pair has formed, they will build a nest together.

Can Baby Pigeons Fly?

Baby pigeon side profile

Baby pigeons can fly, like many other bird species, as they go through fledging. During this stage, young pigeons grow feathers and develop the ability to fly.

But before they can fly, baby pigeons spend their time in the nest, where they are cared for by their parents.

Once fully fledged and capable of sustained flight, baby pigeons leave the nest and begin exploring their surroundings.

When Do Baby Pigeons Start to Fly?

Baby pigeons display their flying abilities at approximately six weeks old. However, their preparation for flight begins as early as four weeks.

During this crucial stage of their development, young pigeons engage in wing-flapping exercises to strengthen their wing muscles and gain control over their flight movements.

It always interests me whenever I see how the baby pigeons on my uncle’s farm repetitively flap their wings to familiarize themselves with wing movement mechanics and understand the aerodynamic principles that enable flight.

Carefully through trial and error, it is encouraging to observe these fledglings refine their wing-beating techniques, gradually increasing their proficiency until they are ready to take to the skies.

When Do Baby Pigeons Leave Their Nests?

Pigeon chick being taken care of

When baby pigeons reach the age of six weeks, they embark on their maiden flight as fully grown adults. They bid farewell to the nest and are responsible for finding sustenance to survive.

So, once the baby pigeons have reached the age of six weeks, they experience a significant milestone. With their newly developed wings, they bravely leave the comforts of the nest, venturing into the world.

This flight symbolizes their physical maturity and marks the beginning of their journey toward independence.

How Long Do Pigeons Take Care of Their Babies?

On average, pigeons tend to provide parental care to their young for about 25 to 32 days.

Both male and female pigeons contribute to the care of their offspring. They take turns incubating the eggs, keeping them warm and protected until they hatch.

After hatching, the parents continue to provide care by feeding the chicks with crop milk. As baby pigeons grow, the parents gradually reduce the amount of crop milk and introduce them to seeds and other adult food.

Note that the time frames are averages and can vary based on the specific circumstances and species of pigeons. Some species may have shorter or longer periods of parental care.

Do Both Parents Care for a Baby Pigeon?

Mother pigeon looking after the baby pigeons

Both parents play a role in caring for their offspring. Pigeons exhibit biparental care, meaning both male and female parents are involved in raising their baby pigeons.

Both parents protect the squabs, keeping them warm and safe from predators. They create a nesting area where the babies are sheltered and cared for until they are ready to fledge.

Generally, pigeons exhibit cooperative parenting, with both males and females actively caring for their offspring, including incubation, feeding, and protection.

This shared responsibility helps ensure the survival and well-being of the baby pigeons until they are old enough to become independent.

Do Pigeons Mate for Life?

Pigeons tend to form strong pair bonds, and in many cases, they mate for life. Once pigeons find a suitable partner, they stay together and raise multiple broods of offspring throughout their lives.

However, not all pigeons mate for life. Some may form new pair bonds if their mate is lost or they cannot successfully breed with their current partner.

So, while lifelong monogamy is common among pigeons, it is not a universal rule for all individuals.

We hope that the facts stated about baby pigeons cleared up much of your confusion about them. If you have any more experiences to share or questions to ask about these young pigeons, comment down below!

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