Feral Pigeon (Rock Dove) - Columba livia (feral)


The Feral Pigeon or Rock Dove is the wild ancestor of domestic pigeons the world over, domesticated originally to provide food. Feral Pigeons come in all shades, some bluer, others blacker - some are pale grey with darker chequered markings, others an unusual shade of dull brick-red or cinnamon-brown, and others can look exactly like wild rock doves.

Identification difficulty

The wild Rock Dove is now found only along the north and west coasts of Scotland, on offshore islands, and on Northern Ireland coasts. Feral, or domestic, pigeons breed almost everywhere apart from upland areas, with the highest density in the most populated urban and suburban areas.

When to see it

All year round

Life History

Feral pigeons can be seen eating grass seeds and berries in urban parks and gardens in the Spring, but there are plentiful sources throughout the year from scavenging (e.g. dropped fast-food cartons) and they will also take insects and spiders. In urban areas where the numbers are allowed to increase they can become pests.

UK Status

Quite common in Britain

VC55 Status

Feral Pigeons are common as breeding birds in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map

Species profile

Common names
Rock Pigeon, Feral Pigeon, Rock Dove, Feral Pigeon/Rock Dove
Species group:
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
01/01/2000 (John Thickitt)
Last record:
30/05/2024 (axon, kaye)

Total records by month

% of records within its species group

10km squares with records

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