The Lifespan Of Pigeons

Comparing The Life Expectancies Of Different Types Of Pigeon

If you live in or visit the city, you’ll no doubt catch a glimpse of some pretty gnarly-looking pigeons.

They seem as if they’ve either had an incredibly rough year, or they’re about to celebrate their 200th birthday.

The encounter leaves you wondering how long these friendly little birds can live. They often don’t seem like they’re bursting with vitality, but the animal kingdom is nothing if not surprising.

Being that there are so many variables to consider, such as habitat, care, and climate, it’s difficult to narrow a pigeon’s life span down to a precise region; however, we can give estimates based on whether they’re a feral, pet, or racing bird.

How Long Do Feral Pigeons Live?

With a suitable habitat, good genes, and a spot of luck, a wild pigeon can easily live for up to 10 years, but sadly, average lifespans end up being something more to the tune of 3–6 years.

The reason feral pigeons rarely reach the autumn of their lives is that they live in constant danger. Most city birds nest on building ledges and rooftops exposed to the elements and often fall prey to cats.

If the cats don’t get them, the cars, fumes, people, pigeon spikes, or city-dwelling birds of prey likely will.

They’re also not exactly fussy eaters, with little understanding of what’s good or bad for them, so their diet can be dangerous, too.

How Long Do Pet Pigeons Live?

These pampered pigeons may not have the luxury of an open sky, but they are protected from all the dangers their feral cousins face in the wild.

As such, it’s fairly common for pet pigeons to live as long as 9–15 years.

Living in a house, coop, loft, or cage, the domestic pigeon no longer has any natural predators, nor are they in danger of being hit by a car, or challenged by extreme weather.

They live a comfortable, albeit stifled, life.

What’s more, the constant struggle a wild bird engages in to find food doesn’t apply to pet pigeons, as they’re fed a balanced diet, and doted on by their owners. 

Of course, if a pet pigeon escapes, their chances of survival plummet, as they don’t have the sharpened instincts required for surviving in the wild, but domestic pigeons enjoy the familiar, so they may not stray far from home.

Side Note — If you’re thinking about adopting a pet pigeon, and you’re wondering what you should feed them, this Hagen Pigeon & Dove Seed offers them all they’ll need to live a happy, healthy life.

How Long Do Racing Pigeons Live?

Racing pigeons will often live to the ripe old age of 20, but why is this the case? They’re essentially just pet pigeons, right? Well, yes and no.

Racing pigeons enjoy most of the same protections as their non-athletic counterparts, including access to top-quality food, shelter from extreme weather, and safety from predators, but they also enjoy a few extra perks.

Chiefly, racing pigeons can cost a heck of a lot of money, meaning it’s unlikely anyone other than pigeon aficionados will own them.

These experienced specialists know more about pigeon care than the average enthusiast, thus their birds tend to live longer.

Genetics play a significant role here too, as racing pigeons are bred from the strongest, healthiest specimens. Their powerful lineage makes them naturally resilient animals.

Pigeons are smart creatures, and having a purpose in life can be extremely enriching, which means the very fact that racing pigeons are given a specific challenge can improve and extend their lives. 

What’s more, the exercise they get when they compete keeps them fighting fit, giving them yet another edge over run-of-the-mill pet pigeons.